French 20 Franc Gold Coins

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French 20 Franc Gold Coins are a staple in the world gold coin collecting stable. They were minted between the years 1898 and 1914. Long beloved by investors in the category of fractional gold ounce products, these smaller gold pieces are among the most popular gold world coins with investors to this day.

French 20 Franc Gold Coins Background and History

French 20 Franc Gold Coins were struck by the famed Paris Mint, officially known in French as the “Monnaie de Paris.” This agency of the government of France was charged with minting and producing coins, medals, and other commemorative pieces. Its origins date back to 864, making it the oldest surviving institution in all of France today.

The most popular of the French 20 Gold Francs various series was the Rooster gold coin. These were struck between 1898 and 1914. The first year coins are extremely rare. Those coins dated 1907 to 1914 were restruck by the Paris Mint, first in 1921 and later from 1951 to 1960. Later, the French Monnaie de Paris minted golden francs for circulation on and off up to the point when France adopted the euro back in 2002.

French 20 Franc Gold Coins Physical Characteristics

Coin Design

The obverse proves to be the technical nomenclature for the front of coins. French 20 Franc Rooster Gold Coins feature the national symbol of the Third Republic, Marianne as designed by J.C. Chaplain. To the sides of her image are the words “REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE” surrounding. This Third Republic arose after the fall of Napoleon III because of the ill-fated Franco-Prussian War in 1870. The Third Republic itself survived through World War II.

The back side of coins is always called the “reverse” by coin experts and aficionados. French 20 Franc Gold Coins' reverses showcase the famed unofficial symbol of France— the erect and proud rooster affectionately known by the French people as “le coq gaulois,” as well as the 20 Fcs denomination, date of mintage, and French national motto, “LIBERTE” “EGALITE” “FRATERNITE.” The phrase translates in English to “Freedom, Equality, Fraternity.” It became nationally popular in the infamous French Revolution which toppled and beheaded French King Louis XVI and his Austrian Queen Marie Antoinette in the 1780s.


The range of French 20 Franc Gold Coins contain nearly a full fifth of an ounce of pure gold at .1867 ounces. Their specifications are as follows:

  • Mass: 6.4516 g
  • Diameter: 21 mm
  • Thickness: 1.3 mm
  • Content: 0.1867 troy oz
  • Purity: 90.0% gold

French 20 Franc Gold Coins Pricing

French 20 Franc Gold Coins were legal tender in the French Republic all the way up to 2002 when the French replaced their long-time currency the franc with the EU's euro. The face value now no longer carries any purchasing power in the country. In practice, the French would not spend these golden gems for a mere 20 francs in any case. The intrinsic value of the gold in these pieces has a resale value of more than $200. The value is derived almost completely from gold's spot price on the international markets. The collectability and popularity of these coins does give them an additional premium over gold market prices.

In the real world, this intrinsic value creates the actual market value of the French 20 Franc Gold Coins. Such a market price matters immensely as it gives the portfolios which hold these coins their values. The premium over spot on these coins is not as high as on some other gold bullion products. The actual market value of these issues goes up and down along with gold prices as they gyrate on the world precious metals markets. You can learn the current live price of gold right here on this website by navigating over to our own homepage.

Can IRA Accounts Contain French 20 Franc Gold Coins?

Any individual considering collecting French 20 Franc Gold Coins within their retirement accounts will want to know what the law allows regarding these pieces. It is entirely at the discretion of the American tax authorities the Internal Revenue Service as to which precious metals bullion are permitted within these retirement vehicles. The IRS judges all contenders based upon the dual standards of extremely high gold purity and low collectable value.

Before you are able to open up this kind of self directed IRA account, you will have to engage in an initial purchase of minimally $5,000 worth of approved gold, silver, platinum, and/or palladium bullion. Later purchases can be obtained in the low minimum amount of only $1,000 more in precious metals per purchase. If you already happen to own a traditional kind of IRA vehicle, you may choose to roll it over into a precious metals IRA account. Your new IRA account administrator can assist you with this process. Once the administrator places the order for your new bullion and receives it, they will dispatch it to the approved third party vault which you choose for maintenance and safeguarding, until such a time as you give the orders to either sell the coins and bars or to take them physically as a distribution from your IRA.

French 20 Franc Gold Coins do not contain the minimum necessary .995 gold purity level that the IRS is looking for with their only .900 gold fineness. This is not the only standard which they fail. They are considered to be overly collectable to be included within such an account. The end result of these two standards failures is that the IRA will not ever allow you to inventory these 20 franc gold coins inside of your precious metals IRA account. This does not change the fact that they are still beautiful, historical, and fascinating pieces of French and modern European history, worthy of your collecting time and investing dollars in other types of investment or retirement portfolios. You are able to purchase these treasures from a good variety of world bullion and coin dealers in Europe and beyond. Not every dealer will have them in stock all the time, so it is good to check with your prospective shop in advance of purchase time.

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FTC Disclosure: We are an independent blog that aims at providing useful information for retirement account owners interested in alternative assets like precious metals. However, our content does NOT constitute financial advice. Please speak to your financial advisor before making any investment decision. Also, the data quoted on this website represents past performance and does not guarantee future results.


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