France 1856-A 50 centimes

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Sincona sale 11, lot 1453
This dime-sized coin was struck at Paris under the régime of Napoleon III (1852-70). It is a slightly better date of a type struck 1853-63. This type is distinguished from the later type (F.188) of 1864-69 by the absence of a laurel wreath on the emperor's head. It was demonetized in 1869. The catalog[3] notes 16 dates for the type, some very rare. This date is priced about 33% more than the commonest date (1858A). This specimen was lot 1453 in Sincona sale 11 (Zurich, May 2013), where it sold for 120 CHF (about US$149 including buyer's fees). The catalog description[1] noted,
"FRANKREICH II. Kaiserreich. Napoleon III. 1852-1870. 50 Centimes 1856, Paris. Seltene Variante. Hübsche Tönung. Vorzüglich-FDC. (empire of France, Napoleon III (1852-70), fifty centimes of 1856, Paris mint, rare variety. Handsome toning, extremely fine to uncirculated.)"
The rare variety mentioned in the description refers to the hand privy mark on the obverse, which is smaller than normal. Judging from the price realized, it seems the variety did not yield a premium.

Recorded mintage: 1,435,755[3].

Specification: 2.5 g, .900 fine silver, 18 mm diameter, reeded edge. It was designed by Jean-Jacques Barre, 1793-1855, this specimen 2.48 g.

Catalog reference: F.187/4 (normal hand), F.187/5 (small hand), KM 794.1, Gadoury 414.


  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • Gadoury, Victor, Monnaies Françaises, 1789-2011, 20me éd., Monaco: Éditions Victor Gadoury, 2011.
  • [3]Prieur, Michel, and Laurent Schmitt, Le Franc 10: Les Monnaies, Paris: Éditions les Chevau-légers, 2014.
  • [1]Numismatic Coins, Medals & Banknotes, Auction 11, Zurich: Sincona AG, 2013.

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