Everybody is familiar with the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbour in the United States of America, most likely even know the story of how Lady Liberty, actually called “Liberty Enlightening the World” or “La Liberté éclairant le monde in the original French, was gifted to the USA in the late nineteenth century from the people of France.
Fewer people in comparison are likely aware that a replica of The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World stands within sight of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. This much smaller statue was in turn again a gift to France to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution. It was officially inaugurated three years after her big sister in New York was. According to media reports of the time the ceremony, held on July the 4th 1889, was attended by several dignitaries including the French President Sadi Carnot.
This replica statue is now the subject of a new coin from Monnaie de Paris(Paris Mint) in the outstanding Treasures of Paris series. The reverse of the silver commemorative coin features a cropped portrait of the Statue of Liberty to the right, which is extremely reminiscent of the Presidential $1 coin reverse design. The background, to the left, is occupied with an astoundingly detailed rendition of the Eiffel Tower as seen from below. The coin is anchored however, by the torch of the Statue which fills the centre foreground of the design. This last part has been clad with a gold plating.
The legend on the reverse is inscribed to the top and reads: “CE NE SONT NI LES ARMÉES NI LES TRÉSORS, MAIS LES AMIS QUI SONT, LES SOUTIENS D'UN ETAT” as well as “STATUE DE LA LIBERTÉ DE PARIS”. Which translates (very roughly) to “It is not the armies nor it's riches, but it's friends that support the state” and “Statue of Liberty of Paris”.
The obverse depicts an abstract representation of the map of Paris. The Seine runs through the middle in three lines while the twenty districts of Paris are represented by twenty varyingly shaped polygonal pyramids. The denomination and mintmarks appear to the bottom, with the date inscribed horizontally to the right. The phrase “TRÉSORS DE PARIS” is seen along the upper right rim, it identifies the coin as belonging to the Treasures of Paris series.
This is the third coin in the Treasures of Paris series, which began in 2016. The series is intended to celebrate and re-discover the architectural splendour of Paris. Each coin depicting a different monument or architectural wonder, with selective gold cladding applied to the detail. The first two coin in the series pays tribute to the Palais Garnier Opera House and the Institut de France as seen from the Pont des Arts.
In total there are five variants to choose from for this design. The first is a €10 silver proof coin measuring 37mm(1.4566 inch). The coin is struck from .900 Fineness Silver for a weight of 22 gram(0.776oz). This coin has a total mintage of 3000 coins and is being released at €78.00(US$83.00) each.
Next in line is a 5 oz silver proof €50 coin. This one measures 50mm(1.9685 inch) and is struck from .950 Fineness silver. With a mintage of 1000 coins it has a pricetag upon release of €494.00(US$525) each.
Following on that there is a pure silver 1 kilo proof-like coin. This piece is denominated at 500 Euro and is struck on a 100mm(41.3385 inch) .9999 Fineness silver round. The coin weighs in a just over a kilogramme at 1002 grams(35.344oz), most likely due to the additional gold cladding, and has a limited mintage of 500 coins. The asking price for this piece is €2220.00(US$2360)as of release.
Then the final two coins are both struck from pure .999 Fineness gold, as such the details are no longer clad with gold as that would be simply redundant. Although I feel that Monnaie de Paris could have replaced the gold cladding on the silver coins with a silver cladding on the gold coins, just to keep the overall aesthetic of the series intact.
At any rate, the first gold coin is a 1oz proof €200 coin measuring 37mm(1.4566 inch) with a total stated mintage of 250 coins. The second is a 5oz pure gold 500 Euro coin measuring 50mm(1.968 inch) with a maximum mintage of 99 coin. These two coins are being released for €2100(US$2230) and €10 500.00(US$11 150) each respectively, so not for the feint of heart then.
I just have to say that the Paris Mint have, over the past several years, consistently impressed me with suburb coins and innovative new series'. This series in particular can almost be presented as master class in modern coin design. There is one more release to go for the Treasures of Paris series for 2017. The Genie de la Bastille will be featured on that coin, expected later on in the year. World Numismatic News will be sure to keep you updated as soon as that happens.