Thursday, November 26, 2009

French 20 Franc Gold Angel

In 1871, the French 20 Franc Gold Angel design was resurrected from the 1793 “Guardian Angel” design was originally created during the French Revolution by Augustine Dupré. On the obverse, a winged angel inscribes the inspired French Constitution, set on a pedestal above Dupré’s signature. To its left is a fasces, the ancient Roman symbol of authority later used on the U.S. Mercury dime. To its right a proud rooster symbolizes the fighting spirit of the Republic. The reverse displays a laurel wreath of peace and achievement.

The Legend of the “Lucky Angel”

Gold Angels were nearly always regarded as lucky. During the Reign of Terror in the mid-1790s, the coin’s designer, Augustus Dupré, claimed to have been saved from the guillotine by the lucky Angel gold coin in his pocket. Dupré is said to make a quick prayer as he knelt beneath the deadly blade. A bolt of lightning then struck nearby, igniting a panic and halting his execution. Within six months Dupré was released, after which he always remained thankful for protective the coin’s protection.
The Angel’s reputation for good luck stuck. Mid-19th century Captains seldom went to sea without one. French pilots in World War I rarely took flight without a gold Angel coin in their pocket. During World War II, the chief of Hitler’s Luftwaffe, Hermann Goering, presented them to ace German fighter pilots as rewards for every fifth Allied plane shot down.
These lovely coins are an excellent choice for coin collectors and gold bullion investors alike. Minted from 1871 to 1898, “Angels” remain a high value for the price.

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