France 1853-A 20 francs

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Heritage sale 3026, lot 24574
France 1853A 20 francs rev H3026-24574.jpg

This specimen was lot 24574 in Heritage sale 3026 (Long Beach, October 2013), where it sold for $4,112.50. The catalog description[1] noted, "Napoleon III gold 20 Francs 1853-A, MS66 NGC. A nearly pristine example of this popular gold denomination with thick undisturbed luster and a pinpoint strike. An important example for the type enthusiast as few examples from any date can rival the present." This "bare head" type of Napoleon III was struck 1853-60 and 18 dates comprise the set. 146,000,000 were struck for the type, making it the most common gold coin of French history with the possible exception of the "rooster" (struck 1898-1914 and repeatedly restruck since). Typical XF-AU specimens trade for their bullion value but gems like the one shown are rare. This issue has been counterfeited extensively but as most of the fakes contain the correct amount of gold, they trade for the same price as the genuine.

Recorded mintage: 5,787,241.

Specification: 21 mm diameter, 6.45 grams, .900 fine gold, edge lettered DIEU PROTEGE LA FRANCE; this specimen: 6.47 grams, 21.20 mm.

Catalog reference: Fr-573, Gadoury-247, F.531/1, KM 781.1.


  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 9th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2017.
  • [1]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and Scott Cordry, Heritage Signature Auction 3026, World & Ancient Coins, featuring the RLM Collection, Part Two, the Nogales Collection and the Goetz Medals Die Archive, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2013.
  • Gadoury, Victor, Monnaies Françaises, 1789-2011, 20me éd., Monaco: Éditions Victor Gadoury, 2011.
  • Prieur, Michel, and Laurent Schmitt, Le Franc 10: Les Monnaies, Paris: Éditions les Chevau-légers, 2014.

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