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.
OVAL COIN SPECIFICATIONS
|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|
|BOX / COA||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes||Yes / Yes|