Napoleon – 200th Anniversary
- Saint Helena. 2 Pounds. 2021. Silver .999. 2 oz. 38.61 mm. Proof. Mintage: 821.
- Saint Helena. 1 Pound. 2021. Silver .999. 1 oz. 38.61 mm. Proof. Mintage: 1821.
- Saint Helena. 5 Pounds. 2021. Gold .9999. 1/4 oz. 22.5 mm. Proof. Mintage: 500.
- Saint Helena. 2 Pounds. 2021. Gold .9999. 0.5 g. 11 mm. Proof. Mintage: 2,500.
All minted at B. H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt, Munich. Special technology: smartminting® (Ultra High Relief); Micro-script.
Description of the Coin
One side features a youthful frontal portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte in front of the Paris Arc de Triomphe; in the left field the Logo of the East India Company; legend: NAPOLEON BONAPARTE 200 TH ANNIVERSARY. On the rim of the silver coins, a list of the most important events of Napoleon’s life in micro-script. The small gold coin shows less detail and a shortened legend.
On 5 May 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte died at the age of 51 on the island of Saint Helena. He had been exiled there in 1815 after the Battle of Waterloo. To this day, the island is so remote that there has only been a weekly connection to international air traffic since 2017. Until 1834, Saint Helena had been owned by the East India Company, which put the island under British rule for the period of Napoleon’s exile.
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the passing of Napoleon Bonaparte, CIT issues a commemorative coin series consisting of two gold and two silver issues. All of them were created by means of smartminting® technology in order to achieve an ultra-high relief for the frontal portrait. It is almost more remarkable that the commemorative coins connect to partners involved in Napoleon’s exile: the island of Saint Helena as the issuing nation and the East India Company as the former owner of the island.
The designers deliberately chose a bust of the youthful Napoleon, created by Joseph Chinard in 1801, to be the model for the portrait. It stages Napoleon, who had held the office of “first consul” since 1799, as the reborn Roman emperor Augustus. Augustus was considered a peace bringer, who restored unity among the Romans after a civil war. By means of the word PAIX (= peace), the depiction of Napoleon alludes to this image. The triumphal arch in the background reminds us that Napoleon brought anything but peace. He plunged Europe into a war that claimed about 3.5 million lives and robbed France of its supremacy in Europe.
This commemorative coin draws its special appeal from the fact that it combines several stages of Napoleon’s life: while the portrait symbolizes the hope for a peaceful future, the triumphal arch stands for the wave of victories of the French troops that briefly put Europe under the rule of revolutionary France; the issuing nation of Saint Helena and the British East India Company refer to the consequences: to Napoleon’s lonely death on a distant island in the Atlantic.