Guy Savoy and an egg are celebrated on the Monnaie de Paris’ latest high-end coin range

Now it goes without saying that we’re great admirers of the Monnaie de Paris. Their From Clovis to Republic and follow-up Women of France series are some of our all-time favourites, but we’re still not quite sure what to make of this one. Launched in 2014, French Excellence is meant to showcase the combined talents of the craftworkers of France, one of whom will be the Monnaie de Paris itself. The debut partner was purveyor of high-end glassware, Baccarat. This was followed in 2015 by porcelain maker Manufacture de Sevres and in 2016, jewellery maker Van Cleef and Arpels.

What they do, they do well. The coins certainly showcase the talents of these companies, but the whole thing has always seemed a little ‘in your face’ to us, and we’re very open to new things here. Nothing sums it up better than the flagship coin in the range. Struck in a kilo of gold, exquisitely produced and presented in probably the best packaging in the numismatic world today, these are limited in mintage to just 11 pieces and sell for a quite staggering $130,000. We’re always digging at the Royal Mint for some of its prices, but this is on a whole other level.

This year sees acclaimed chef Guy Savoy chosen for honours and the design is again, produced with much care and attention. Without question, the Monnaie de Paris is good at its job. It’s the concept we’re struggling with here. We’ve seen coins made as a bar of chocolate or a pizza – this one is a fried egg in a pot. I know I’m simplifying here and there’s more to it than that, and with what it represents, but..

The range is extensive. The round coin is available in five-ounce silver and quarter-ounce gold at the ‘low’ end, although both exceed the €500 mark, and higher up in 5oz gold and the aforementioned kilo. The oval coin is available in 1oz gold and 22.2 grams of silver, along with a 380g (approx 12 oz) silver medallion variant. Of seven coins in the range, just a single piece is under the €500 mark.

I’m perhaps being unduly critical here, but this whole range is one of the very few that completely evades me in appeal. Coming from one of my favourite mints, that’s a disappointment. If you like them, we’re absolutely sure the quality will impress, but for us, it just seems like a big slap on the back to those that cater to vanity in a vain and selfie-filled world, even if they do so with consumate skill. Savoy at least is more worthy than most, the coin is inventive and it’s a showcase for the talents of this outstanding coin producer. Available now, the range runs from €78.00. The 2018 range will showcase another jewellery maker.

2017 WOMEN OF FRANCE MARQUISE DE POMPADOUR GOLD COIN

SPEC AND MINTS DESCRIPTION

NAME 2017 5oz SILVER 2017 ¼oz GOLD 2017 5oz GOLD 2017 KILO GOLD
DENOMINATION €50 Euro n/a €500 Euro €5,000 Euro
COMPOSITION 0.950 silver 0.999 gold 0.999 gold 0.999 gold
WEIGHT 163.8 grams 7.78 grams 155.5 grams 1000.0 grams
DIAMETER 50.00 mm 22.00 mm 50.00 mm 85.00 mm
FINISH Proof Proof Proof Proof
MODIFICATIONS Colour Colour Colour 3 golds
MINTAGE 500 1,000 99 11
BOX / COA Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes

Monnaie de Paris collaborates with a French house and creates every year a unique series inspired by two traditions of fine French craftsmanship. In 2017, Monnaie de Paris celebrates Michelin starred Chef Guy Savoy whose restaurant was appointed Best Restaurant in the world.

The series makes references to the gastronomic register of the starred Chef : the egg, the truffle, the asparagus…

This 10€ Silver coin has an egg shape, reference to this ingredient that is used in so many culinary creations. On the obverse, we can see a hen that is composed of elements from Guy Savoy’s culinary universe : the neck takes the shape of a skate wing, the body is drawn with artichoke leaves, with the texture of a truffle and with the scales of a fish. The tail is made of a cabbage leaf. The reverse presents the four elements used when cooking, and in its center the egg yolk.

The 50€ Gold and Silver coins, and 500€ Gold coin has the shape of a fondue pot with in its center a cooked egg. The reverse is also adorned with the four essential elements to the cook’s alchemical work. The obverse presents Guy Savoy’s right had print and is covered with drawings of ingredients used by the cook : the asparagus, a John Dory, an artichoke, an oyster…

The series is also composed of an exceptional kilo gold coin combining rose gold, yellow gold and white gold. The poetry of this coin is glorified by its case in carbon fibre, an ever-present material in Guy Savoy’s table arts and more precisely on his knife handles, and a white porcelain cloche, pierced with a chimney, gently protects it from the eyes.

OVAL COIN SPECIFICATIONS

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NAME 2017 OVAL COLOUR 2017 OVAL MEDAL 2017 OVAL GOLD
DENOMINATION €10 Euro n/a €200 Euro
COMPOSITION 0.900 silver 0.950 silver 0.999 gold
WEIGHT 22.2 grams 380.0 grams 31.104 grams
DIAMETER 37.00 mm 67.00 mm 37.00 mm
FINISH Proof TBC Proof
MODIFICATIONS Colour None None
MINTAGE 5,000 100 500
BOX / COA Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
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OVAL-SHAPED RANGE