Republic of France, 100 Francs 1900, Paris
|Mint Authority:||3rd Republic of France|
|Year of Issue:||1900 A.D.|
In 1900, the year this coin was issued, France was a republic once again. It was the third attempt to rule the "Grand Nation" on democratic terms (Third Republic 1871-1940). The previous republics had both fallen victim to the power-hunger of the respective strong man – the First Republic (1792-1804) to Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Second (1848-1852) to his nephew Louis Napoleon.
The coins of the French Empire had differed from those of the French Republic, naturally. The imperial coins bore the portrait of the emperor on their obverse – just as the coins of the French kings had done for centuries. The republic coins on the other hand were of allegoric content, like for instance this winged genius writing the constitution. On his right a fasces with a hand is depicted, symbolizing the confirmation of the oath on the republican constitution. The Gallic cock on its left is a representation of the French people.
The genius itself is of utmost symbolism as well. It express implies inspired brilliance, and in this sense is shown here as the genius of the French Revolution and as mastermind of the republican constitution. This coin motif appeared for the first time in 1795, at the time of the First Republic thus. It was designed by Augustin Dupré, who then was Chief Engraver at the Paris Mint. Dupré's signature is placed proudly on the obverse of the coin.