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France Wins the Battle, 200 Years after Losing the War


By Charles Morgan for CoinWeek….


The interconnected euro monetary system has led to a number of squabbles, both petty and of great import for the participating Eurozone countries.

While most of the focus rightly has been placed on matters of finance (the intractable Greek debt crisis, for instance), other numismatically-related disagreements between nations pop up from time to time.

One such event recently grabbed headlines in Europe when Belgium scrapped plans to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. The decision was made at the behest of the French government, which felt the commemoration imparted a negative opinion about their country. The event has already been commemorated by the Royal Mint in the United Kingdom, which produced a £5 silver coin for collectors.

Critics of the move criticize both French and Belgian governments for being weak and overly sensitive.

Haymaking aside, the row over whether to commemorate the historic military battle highlights the often-uncomfortable relationship between the European nations, especially given their long and contemptuous history.

napoleonfranceSo in a whitewashing of history for the sake of national feelings, bye-bye goes the Belgian 2 euro Waterloo commemorative.

It’s too bad that the French weren’t as sympathetic to the victims of Napoleon’s two-decades of continental war as the Belgian government is towards French national pride. For its part, France has issued its own commemorative coin honoring the defeated French Emperor.


Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan
Charles Morgan is an award-winning numismatic author and the editor and publisher of CoinWeek.com. Along with co-author Hubert Walker, he has written for CoinWeek since 2012, as well as the "Market Whimsy" column for The Numismatist and the book 100 Greatest Modern World Coins (2020) for Whitman Publishing. From 2021-2023, Charles served as Governor of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), where he was bestowed the Glenn Smedley Award. Charles is a member of numerous numismatic organizations, including the American Numismatic Society (ANS) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG).

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  1. Should also remember the Belgians rejected the French 2 euro coin commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Marignano.


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