Like the Rooster and Marianne, the Sower is an icon of French numismatics. Dating back to 1887, it was designed by one of the most celebrated medallists of the Art Nouveau, Oscar Roty. Initially a controversial work in many quarters, because of its use on a whole range of coins in the pre-Euro period it has become the most widely distributed work of art in France. Depicting an embodiment of the country in the act of sowing symbolic seeds, while wearing the Phrygian cap of Liberty so associated with Marianne, it’s as iconic in France as Liberty and Britannia are in their respective countries.
As with the aforementioned Rooster and Marianne coins, the 1150 year old Monnaie de Paris is revisiting the sower icon with new annual coins. Starting in 2014, the Sower series started a seven-year celebration of old French coins going back to 864 AD. Each carries the traditional sower figure on one side, with the obverse depicting an image, or part therof, of a coin from France’s past, all set within a scene of the period. Previous coins have showcased Charles the Bald’s 864 Denier (2014), the Franc à Cheval from 1360 (2015), the Teston from the French Renaissance (2016), and the 18th century Louis d’Or (2017).
This year it’s the turn of the Ecu de 6 Livres, a coin struck after the French Revolution of 1789. The obverse face this time out is a superb scene of the revolution with the Bastille in the background. To the left of the artwork is a small depiction of both faces of a 1793 Ecu de 6 Livres coin. We think it’s a great looking piece in a style the Monnaie de Paris does very well time and again.
Multiple variants are available. The core version will be the usual 22.2g 90% silver format. Despite this, the mintage of 3,000 seems pretty tight for a coin like this. Gold variants are more numerous, with the traditional ¼oz and ½oz formats joined by the increasingly popular minigold 0.5g coin. These are priced at €485.00 (500 mintage) , €1060.00 (250) and €64.00 (5,000) respectively. Available to order now from the Monnaie de Paris website, or from various dealers worldwide. The series will continue next year and finish in 2020.