World Coins

Monnaie de Paris reinterprets classic Sower design

A classic French coin design continues to honor other classic French coin designs. 

The Monnaie de Paris on Jan. 31 will issue the 2017 version of its Sower coins.

The Sower has been a pattern in French numismatic history for over a century. Originally, the Sower was designed by Oscar Roty for a Department of Agriculture medal in 1887. In 1896, when the French Minister for Finance Paul Doumer ordered new coins, Roty was one of the selected artists and proposed a new version of the Sower. 

Connect with Coin World:  

Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

It appeared for the first time on circulating coins, but since 2002, the Sower has been revisited by Monnaie de Paris on a series of collector coins, with several subsets.

A current subset in the series honors classic French coins, and has done so with annual issues since 2014, to coincide with the French Mint’s 1,150th anniversary.

The 2017 coin, honoring the gold louis d’or, marks the halfway point in the seven-year series honoring France’s most historically significant coins. 

The designs draw inspiration from the classic coins without being a carbon-copy. 

Inspiration for 2017 coin

The louis d’or was created in 1640 under the reign of Louis XIII, which was from 1610 to 1643. Louis XIII and his minister Claude de Bullion were willing to stabilize the currency and bring prestige to France in order to compete with Spanish and English coins.

The louis d’or was struck from 1640 to 1792. Under Louis XIII, the louis d’or weighed 6.75 grams and had a diameter of 25 millimeters.

On the obverse of the louis d’or struck under Louis XIII, the face of the king is turned slightly to the right with the Latin inscription LVD XIII DG - FR ET NAV REX, meaning “Louis XIII, King of France and of Navarre thanks to the grace of God.” The old coin’s reverse presents a monogram: a cross created by four double Ls surmounted by a crown and separated by a fleur-de-lys.”

The 2017 coin’s reverse design refers to three major French kings named Louis, with symbols of the successful old regimes, including a modern interpretation of the classic louis d’or design. 

The 2017 coin’s obverse depicts Roty’s Sower in a more contemporary setting, encircled by the 12 stars of the European flag. The feminine figure is framed with a heraldic French flag (horizontal stripes for the color blue, plain for the color white, vertical stripes for the color red). The year date splits to flank the figure. 

The 2017 Sower design coins in the series have been released in three versions, one silver and two gold coins.

The Proof .900 fine silver €10 piece weighs 22.2 grams and measures 37 millimeters in diameter. 

Two Proof gold versions are available, and beginning in 2017 these coins are now struck in pure (.999 fine) gold. The quarter-ounce €50 coin measures 22 millimeters in diameter, and the half-ounce gold €100 coin measures 31 millimeters in diameter. 

The silver coin has a mintage limit of 5,000 pieces and retails for €55.

The gold €50 coin is limited to a mintage of 1,000 pieces and retails for €495.

The €100 coin has a mintage limit of 500 pieces and retails for €1,060.

To order or for more details about these coins, visit the Monnaie de Paris webshop

Community Comments