The innovative Woman of France series from the French Mint(Monnaie de Paris) continues with the second installment in the relatively new series, this time with Matilde of Flanders.
The series which started earlier this year with Queen Clotilde coin continues here with the second issue in the series. The new coin which is available as of the 16th of May 2016 is dedicated to Queen Mathilde(1031 – 1083) also known as Mathilde of Flanders.
She was married to William the Bastard, the Duke of Normandy, who would eventually become known as William The Conqueror, although officially as William I, after the Norman Conquest of England when he became the first Norman King of England. In the year 1066 William Killed King Harold II of England at the battle of Hastings, thereafter declaring himself as King of England.
Thus Matilda became Queen of England, though she was only coroneted in 1068 in a ceremony held in Westminster. During her husband's absence she ruled over the Duchy of Normandy, only joining him in England after more than a year had passed since his victory at Hastings. She would thereafter again return to Normandy, where she spent most of her life.
The obverse of the coin features the three quarter, right facing, portrait of a crowned Queen Matilda with loose flowing hair, the legend reads“REINE MATHILDE” and “1031 – 1083”. Indicating her royal status, her name in French and dates of birth and death. All of this is set against a patterned backdrop typical of the tapestries of the period in which she lived.
The reverse of the coin depicts a scene from the Bayeux Tapestry which documents the Norman conquest of England. It depicts events from around 1064 to 1066, culminating in the Battle of Hastings. The reverse legend reads : “HASTINGS 1066”, “50 EURO” and “2016” as well as the relevant mintmarks appearing with the date. The background also displays a more complete depiction of the Bayeux Tapestry.
The Bayeux Tapestry was long believed to have been created by Queen Matilda and her ladies-in-waiting, but in more recent times historians have come to believe that the tapestry was in fact more likely commissioned by William's half-brother Odon de Bayeux.
Uncommonly, and perhaps more befitting it's subject, the coins are broad struck giving them an irregular shape. This is very evocative of medieval or hammered coinage.
The design is available in both silver and gold coins. The silver €10 coin is stuck from .900 Fineness silver and weighs 22.2gram. The crown size, +-37mm, coin will have a limited mintage of 5000 coins in proof quality. The coin is listed on the Monnaie de Paris(French Mint) website for €55.00 each.
The second coin bears the same design but is a 1/4oz gold 50 Euro coin struck from .920 Fineness gold. The 22mm coin weighs 8.45gram and will have a limited mintage of only 1000 coins. As of the time of writing the 1/4oz gold €50 coin is listed for €505.00 at the Monnaie de Paris.
The next coin in this series celebrating the influence of prominent French women in history is set to be released during July of 2016 and will celebrate Joan of Arc.