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Coins & bullion since 1973


Buy gold 20 Franc French Napoleon III

French Napoleon gold coins

French Napoleon III 20 franc gold coin
Minted 1852 - 1870
Fineness: .900
Actual Gold Content: .1867 troy ounce


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Napoleon IIINapoleon III was the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte and emperor of France from 1852 to 1870. He strove to restore the glory of France and the lofty stature attained under his famous uncle, but his rule was undermined by a succession of political blunders including rifts with the Vatican over papal land and French industry over his free trade policy with England. In the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, he met defeat at the hands of the Prussians near Sedan in part due to the disunity at home. Within days, the weakened Napoleon III was unseated by a new revolution and he left France for England where he died in 1873, failing to restore the glory of Napoleonic France.

For much of the tumultuous 19th and 20th centuries, the "Napoleon" -- as this coin is commonly called -- was saved by well-heeled French investors hedging currency deterioration and war. Whenever you hear the stories of Frenchmen with 'gold under the mattress,' this is most likely the gold you would find there.

Napoleon III 20 francs are available readily in circulated condition, but more difficult to obtain in the uncirculated grade. When the uncirculated specimens appear in the market, they do so at much higher prices than the commonly available item, and they go quickly.

Coins & bullion since 1973

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