Long term readers of the site will know how much we love the Monnaie de Paris series of coins called From Clovis to Republic. Struck in a style the mint calls ‘History’, this is a simulated take on the old hand-struck style of coins that were prevalent before modern methods of coin production came into widespread use. With artwork by world famous designer, Christian Lacroix, that series was beautiful in every way, a real highlight of the last decade. Sadly, the Clovis series finished its five-year, fifteen coin run last year and we thought that was it.

Fast forward to 2016 and the great news that the mint is embarking on a new series in the same style called Women of France. As before, there will be three coins released this year, one now, one in May and one in July. First out of the starting gate is Queen Clotilde, followed by William the Conquerer’s wife, Mathilde and then of course, Joan of Arc, scourge of the English and part-time kebab impressionist.

Clotilde, born in 475AD, was the second wife of the Frankish King Clovis, subject of the first coin in the previous series. A princess of the Kingdom of Burgundy, she was venerated as a saint shortly after her death in 545 at the ripe old age of 70. Deeply religious, Clotilde was raised in the Catholic faith, Clovis being a follower of Arianism, another version of Christianity, and in 496 she successfully persuaded Clovis to convert to Catholicism. According to tradition, on the eve of the Battle of Tolbiac against the Alamanni, Clovis prayed to God, swearing to be baptised if he emerged victorious on the battlefield. When he did indeed triumph, Clovis readily took the faith. With him Clotilde built at Paris the Church of the Holy Apostles, afterwards known as the Abbey of St Genevieve. After Clovis’ death in 511, she retired to the Abbey of St. Martin at Tours.

Clotilde’s cult made her the patron of queens, widows, brides and even those in exile. In Normandy especially, she was venerated as guarding the lame and those who suffered violent death and ill-tempered husbands. In art she is often depicted presiding over the baptism of Clovis, or as a suppliant at the shrine of Saint Martin. Several fine images of her remain, particularly in the 16th century stained glass window at Andelys. Her relics survived the French Revolution, and are housed in the Église Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles in Paris.

The coins follow the Clovis format, a 22g 0.900 silver coin, and a ¼oz  0.920 gold  coin. The design on both is identical, an early style portrait of the Queen on the reverse face with a tapestry pattern lightly struck on the coins proof background, and a depiction of Clovis’ baptism on the obverse, also in a period style with the patterned background. Text inscriptions on both faces are well-placed and in an attractive font. The irregular edge and rimless design really do look superb. Packaged in the usual small Monnaie de Paris box inside a coloured shipper with an enclosed, serialised Certificate of Authenticity, we’ve yet to discover if a collectors box for the series like the one produced for Clovis will be offered. We hope so. Available to order now for €55.00 in silver, and €480.00 in gold. Beautiful stuff.

MINTS DESCRIPTION

Clotilde (c. 474 – 545), princess of Burgundy and fervent Catholic, was brought up in her mother’s Christian faith. She married Clovisin 493 and their first two children were baptised at Clotilde’s particular request. It was at the battle of Tolbiac in 496 that Clovis himself promised to convert, on condition that he was victorious. He was subsequently baptised on 25 December 498 in Reims. Highly instrumental in her husband’s conversion to Christianity, Clotilde died around 545 and was canonised around 550.

The Women of France series pays tribute to the history of France and women who have contributed. Through their portraits and memorable scenes of their lives, engravers of the Monnaie de Paris have transcribed the personalities of our famous women. All denominations are struck in a particular quality called “History”. It gives an antique look to the currencies and makes them perfectly imperfect, making each copy a unique specimen! The series begins with three famous women from the medieval period: the Queen Clotilde, Queen Mathilde and Jeanne d’Arc Through their portrait and the significant event of their live, Monnaie de Paris’ engravers have transcribed those famous women’s personality. Some textures treated as all-over textiles patterns appear in the background of the coins.

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SPECIFICATION

DENOMINATION COMPOSITION WEIGHT DIAMETER FINISH MINTAGE BOX / COA
€10 EURO 0.900 SILVER 22.2 g 37.0 mm PROOF 5,000 YES / YES
€50 EURO 0.920 GOLD 8.45 g 22.0 mm PROOF 1,000 YES / YES

16 MAY: MATHILDE

11 JUNE: JOAN OF ARC

MONNAIE DE PARIS