France 1855-A franc
This issue, from the Paris mint, is a better date of a type struck 1853-63 during the régime of Napoleon III. This "tête nue" design, by J. J. Barre, was replaced in 1864 by the "tête laurée" type, which was of lower fineness. It was demonetized in France in 1869.
A complete set of this type comprises 17 date and mintmark combinations. The entire production run, 1853-63, totaled about 25.9 million pieces. Two privy mark varieties are known for the date: dog's head/hand and hand/anchor. The specimen shown is the dog's head/hand variety and is the scarcer; it is priced about triple the common date (1858-A and 1859-A). It is the semi-key of the set; only 1863-A and 1863-BB are rarer.
Specification: 23 mm diameter, 5 grams, .900 fine silver, reeded edge. Designed by Jean-Jacques Barre, 1793-1855.
Mintage: 778,794, 757,000.
Catalog reference: F.214/3, KM 779.1.
- Prieur, Michel, and Laurent Schmitt, Le Franc 10: Les Monnaies. Paris: Éditions les Chevau-légers, 2014.
- Bruce, Colin R., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 5th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2006.