France 1864-BB 5 centimes

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from the Mountain Groan Collection
France 1864BB 5 centimes rev DSLR.jpg

The specimen shown is a five centimes "tête laurée" of Napoleon III, of a type struck 1861-65. It was minted in Strasbourg (mintmark "BB"). It is not a key date but is priced somewhat higher than the type coin such as 1861A or 1863A. The SCWC[2] gives it a slight premium over the type coin as does Le Franc[1].

The regime of Napoleon III finally carried out plans developed during the 1840's to melt down and remint all the old copper circulating in France, some of it dating back to before the Revolution of 1789. Several branch mints were reopened for this purpose. The existing mints were Paris ("A"), Strasbourg ("BB") and Bordeaux ("K"); the reopened mints were Lille ("W"), Marseilles ("MA"), Rouen ("B") and Lyon ("D").

The coinage of bronze was suspended in 1857 but resumed in 1861 using this bust, the "tête laurée." Only Paris, Strasbourg and Bordeaux participated in this later issue.

Recorded mintage: 4,993,074[1], 6,110,000[2].

Specification: bronze, 5 g, 25 mm diameter, plain edge, designed by Albert-Desiré Barré (1818-78).

Catalog reference: F.117/12, KM 797.2.


  • [2]Bruce, Colin R., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 5th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2006.
  • [1]Prieur, Michel, and Laurent Schmitt, Le Franc 10: Les Monnaies, Paris: Éditions les Chevau-légers, 2014.

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