The François Mitterrand France 2 Euro Centennial coin honors the Socialist Party icon who became the longest-serving president of France. Mitterrand led France from 1981 through 1995 and was the first president elected under the French Fifth Republic, a semi-presidential political system that was established in 1958 and is based on the republican constitution of France.
Mitterrand was born in Jarnac, a small community in southwestern France, on October 26, 1916. He was raised in a conservative Catholic family and studied political science and law at the University of Paris during the mid-1930s. In his early 20s he was associated with a conservative organization known as Volontaires nationaux, or National Volunteers.
Mitterrand migrated away from his nationalist principles in the late 1930s after serving in the French military from 1937 through 1939 as part of the French Resistance that stood against the Nazi occupation. He was captured and became a prisoner of war, only to escape one year later. Following World War II, Mitterrand rose through the political ranks, becoming post minister for military veterans and serving in other assembly positions under the parliamentary-based Fourth Republic. Mitterrand was among the few politicians to oppose the nomination of Charles de Gaulle as the French prime minister and his plans for the formation of the French Fifth Republic, which eventually allowed the direct election of presidents by the vote of citizens instead of through an electoral college. Mitterrand focused on building unity among the French Left and became secretary of the Socialist Party in 1971.
A decade later, on May 10, 1981, Mitterrand won the presidency by vowing to move away from the rancorous politics that then beset the nation’s right wing and promising social reforms under the 110 Propositions for France. On January 8, 1996, Mitterrand died of prostate cancer – a disease he battled during the last years of his presidency.
Mitterrand is honored on France’s bimetallic commemorative 2 Euro coin, which was issued in 2016 by the Monnaie De Paris. The French Mint issued both uncirculated and proof specimens.
The obverse of the Mitterrand 2 Euro coin depicts a pensive image of the president that was taken during the filming of the documentary François Mitterrand: Conversations With A President, which was produced 1993-94. In the background, to the right of Mitterrand’s bust, is the Mitterrand family’s crest, which resembles an abstract image of a tree. At the bottom of Mitterrand’s portrait are the letters RF – the initials of Republique Francaise. To the right of the RF inscription is the mintmark of the French Mint, represented by a cornucopia, and above that is seen a small pentagon, which is the trademark of French Mint Director Yves Sampo.
The centennial 1916-2016 dual dating is seen in two lines of vertical text behind Mitterrand’s head. The legend FRANCOIS MITTERRAND appears in an arcing band along the outer, upper edge of the coin’s nickel-brass inner core, and the 12 stars of the European Union surround the core design on the coin’s copper-nickel outer ring.
The reverse of the two-euro Mitterrand coin is the common reverse of European Union coinage. The main design element is a geographical map of Western Europe spanning across both the outer ring and inner core of the right side of the coin. The denomination 2 EURO is inscribed over the map of Europe, with the numeral “2” located in an open field symbolizing the Atlantic Ocean on the left side of the coin.
The 12 stars of the European Union are located on the outer ring of the coin. The stars are expressed in two groups of six stars on top of and below the map of Europe. Six vertical lines unify the upper and lower star elements.
Luc Luycx, a designer at the Royal Mint of Belgium, designed the Euro’s common reverse; his initials, LL, are seen on the right side of the design, just under the “O” in “EURO.”
Lettered on the edge of the coin is a series of twos and stars (2** 2** 2** 2** 2** 2**).
Designer(s): Luc Luycx is a computer engineer and medalist from Belgium (View Designer’s Profile).
|Year Of Issue:||2016|
|Mintage:||Circulation: 9,980,000; Brilliant Uncirculated: 10,000; Proof: 10,000|
|Alloy:||Cupronickel Outer Ring: 75% Copper, 25% Nickel Clad; Nickel Brass Inner Core: 70% Copper, 24.5% Zinc, 5.5% Nickel|
|Edge:||Lettering (2** 2** 2** 2** 2** 2**)|
|REV Designer||Luc Luycx|
|Quality:||Circulation, Brilliant Uncirculated, Proof|
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