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French Coins – The Sower 2016 – the Teston – Monnaie de Paris



france_sower_stampThe Sower has been a pattern of French numismatic history for over a century. Originally, the Sower was designed by Oscar Roty for a Department of Agriculture’s medal in 1887 that wasn’t edited.

In 1896, when the French Minister for Finance Paul Doumer ordered new coins, Roty was part of the selected artists and proposed a new version of the Sower. It appeared for the first time on circulating coins.

Since 2002, it has been revisited by Monnaie de Paris on a series of collector coins.

The Sower is also used since 1903 on postal stamps.


The Sower : a series of collector coins relaunched with the Euro

Since 2002, Monnaie de Paris has brought back to light the figure of the Sower, in using the original drawing by Roty in a more contemporary setting. This series celebrates important historical events, such as the end of the Franc, the abolition of the death penalty, the vote of the law defining secularism in France, the anniversary of the Fifth Republic, the anniversary of the European Court for Human Rights, and the anniversary of the New Franc.


In 2014, for the celebration of its 1,150th anniversary, Monnaie de Paris introduces a new theme within the series, depicting over seven years the most historically significant coins of France’s history. The design is inspired from the ancient coins’, without carbon-copying it. It’s a tribute to those currencies which have strongly contributed to France’s political and economic evolution.

After the Charles the Bald denier, and the Franc à Cheval Monnaie de Paris presents the Teston, France’s first heavy silver coin.france_sower_coin-group

High Middle Ages
The 864 Denier

Late Middle Ages
The Franc à cheval

The Teston

17th Century
The Louis d’or

French Revolution
The 6 livres Ecu

First Empire
The Franc germinal

Fifth Republic
The New Franc


During the Italian wars (1494), Louis XII King of France discovered the teston, a heavy silver coin stuck for decades by the Italian Renaissance Kings. france_sower_port Characterized by the innovative presence of a portrait, the coin took the name of teston (from the Italian testa, or head). Having become the Duke of Milan, the King of France proceeded to create identical strikes, having a portrait on the royal coinage. The first testons struck in France were under Francis I (1515 – 1547) in Paris and in various workshops in the Kingdom. The portraits did evoluate following the King’s age.

This teston dates from the years 1540-47 ans marks the end of the reign of the sovereign. The king is wearing a crown and a breastplate following an aesthetic inspired by Antiquity, typical of the French Renaissance that was in vogue then.

Here are the description and translations of the latin:

A/+FRANCISCVS.D(ei).GRA(cia).FRANCO(rum).REX Francis King of France through the grace of God: his bust breastplated and turned to the right.

R/ +NO(n).NOBIS D(omi)NE SED NO(min)I TVO DA GLORIA(m) Not to us, but to your name the Glory: ecu of France crowned in a polylobe
Silver, 9,23g, 32mm,

france_sower_100fThe F a the end of the two legend refers to the inital of François Guilhem, MintMaster of the Lyon Mint where the coins were struck.  (Heritage collection of Monnaie de Paris)


The reverse of the Sower coin is surrounded by a festooned pattern. It presents on the right hand side the reverse and the obverse of the teston.

In the background, we can see a set of engravings that compose a pattern. We can see Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man », Francis I’s blazon and Chambord castle, significant elements of the French Renaissance. At the bottom of the reverse, we can find the face value of the coin.

france_sower_100f_revOBVERSE DESCRIPTION

The obverse depicts Roty’s Sower in a more contemporary setting ; encircled by the 12 stars of the European flag, the feminine figure is framed with a heraldic French flag (horizontal stripes for the color blue, plain for the color white, vertical stripes for the color red), as well as by the yeardate on each side of her legs.

Both mintmarks from Monnaie de Paris and the engraving workshop are located under the Sower’s feet, the legal mention RF under her right arm.

100€ ½ oz GOLD PROOF
Mintage: 500 Diameter: 31mm
Weight: 17 g Fineness: Au 920
Recommended Public Price: 960 € – no VAT

50€ ¼ oz GOLD PROOF
Mintage: 1 000 Diameter: 22 mm
Weight: 8,45 g Fineness: Au 920
Recommended Public Price: 480 € – no VAT

10€ 1/10 oz GOLD PROOF
Mintage: 5 000 Diameter: 15mm
Weight: 3.11 g Fineness: Au 999
Recommended Public Price: 252 € (with VAT)

Mintage : 5 000 Diameter: 37mm
Weight: 22,2 g Fineness: Ag 900
Recommended Public Price: 55 € (with VAT)

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