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Quick Facts About Gold Francs
Gold Franc Coins
Gold Franc coins are highly sought after by bullion investors that buy fractional gold coins. Gold Francs are carry lower
premiums over gold spot price than many other fractional gold coins or bullion.
The most commonly collected Gold Franc is the 20 Francs Gold Coin. The 20 Franc Gold Coin was introduced by Napolean
Bonaparte in 1803 and became the model for all coins of the Latin Monetary Union. The coins were commonly circulated
and used in trade between European Countries up until around World War I.
Gold coins meeting the specifications of the 20 Franc were produced by countries throughout Europe and other parts
of the world. Variation of the French Gold 20 Franc included the Swiss 20 Franc, Belgian 20 Franc, Spanish 20 Peseta,
Greek 20 drachma and the Italian 20 lira.
All 20 Franc Gold Coins are minted with 90% gold, have a nominal weight of 6.45 grams with a diameter of 21mm.
Other denominations of the Gold Franc were produced, including the 5 Franc, 10 Franc Gold Coin, 40 Franc Gold Coin and 100 Franc Gold Coin.
History of Gold Francs
The Euro currency was not the first attempt in Europe to create a unified currency and trade structure.
In the mid-19th century there was an attempt to unify several different European currencies under a structure called the Latin Monetary Union (LMU). During this time most European countries were still using coinage and currency made from gold and silver. The LMU was established in 1865 and officially disbanded in 1927.
Latin Monetary Union (LMU)
A treaty in 1865 between France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy formed the Latin Monetary Union (LMU). The purpose of the treaty was the provide a way to facilitate trade between the countries in a standard way. They agreed to a combined gold and silver bimetalism standard with a fixed gold-to-silver ratio of 15.5 to 1. A single LMU France represented 4.5 grams of fine silver or .290322 grams of fine gold.
The LMU standards were based on the gold French Franc. The Gold Franc had been introduced by Napoleon I in 1803. It was struck in .900 fine gold with denominations of 5, 10, 20, 40, 50 and 100 Francs.
Smaller denominations where struck in silver with denominations of 20 centimes, 50 centimes, 1 franc, 2 francs and 5 francs. The largest of the silver coins, the 5 franc was struck in .900 fine silver. Overall, the coin was minted to weigh 25 grams and contained 0.723391258218528 troy ounces of pure silver.
The 20 Franc gold coin was struck on a 21mm planchet made of an alloy containing 90% gold and 10% copper.
Each 20 Franc gold coin weighted a total of 6.45 grams, containing 5.806 grams of pure gold. The remaining .644 grams being copper to provide additional strength and durability for the coins in circulation.
In 1873, the LMU moved entirely to a gold standard of 1 franc = 0.290322581 grams of gold.