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1:14 PM Mon. Mar 20, 2023 (USMT)
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French Angel 20 Franc
Grade: Extra Fine+
Minted 1848/49, 1871 - 1906
Actual Gold Content: .1867 troy ounce



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French Angel 20 Franc gold coins annual mintage figures - year by year records for number of coins produced

Owning the famous French Angel 20 Franc Gold Coin has always been considered good luck. Legend has it that an earlier version accompanied Napoleon in his quest to conquer Europe. He carried it in the long march to Russia and back until he finally misplaced it -- the day before the Battle of Waterloo. When the coin's designer, Augustine Dupre, was sentenced to death, he held a gold Angel as he prayed for his life; it caught the eye of his guard, allowing him to 'negotiate' his escape from the guillotine.

The French Angel 20 Francs were minted in vast numbers over a great many years (see mintage study to right), beginning with a brief mintage prior to the Second French Republic (1849/50), followed by a reintroduction in 1871, that precipitated a more or less continous production over the ensuing 35 years.  Though one of the more common European coins by total mintage, they remain some of the most highly sought after and widely held historic world gold coins in existence.  As such, they are difficult to locate in quantity and even harder to find in a high state of preservation, making the Brilliant Uncirculated coins offered here truly exceptional.

The French Angel characterizes the ideals of the French Revolution. Symbolically, the angel depicted on the obverse represents the Spirit of France and he is shown on the coin writing the French Constitution. A rooster symbolizing vigilance appears next to the angel. Behind the angel stands the fasces or bundle of rods - a symbol of power previously carried by Roman magistrates. On top of the fasces is the Cap of Liberty, which also appears on U.S. coinage with the same meaning. The slogan; Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite appears on the reverse along with the date. The French Angel gold coins were minted to the Latin Monetary Union standard of .1867 ounces per coin, to facilitate cross border trade with the 20 Franc issues of other countries at that time (Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, etc.). 

There are literally thousands of stories about the powers of the 'French Angel.' There are stories of people who claim their lives were saved during some tragic event to those who extol its healing powers from terminal cancer and other diseases. I have even found websites where many have told their stories. Never have I seen so much mysticism surrounding a numismatic coin. This is a coin that any collector can enjoy for its beauty, but the stories behind this coin really make it a collectors' must have piece.

-- Raymond Hanisco, Coin Collecting Editor, Bella Online.