Jessica R. writes: My uncle has a 1873 French coin about the size of a silver dollar. On side of the coin has the words “5 Francs 1873” in the middle, surrounded by what looks like leaves. On the outer portion of that same side, there are the words “Republique Francaise”. The other side of the coin has the words “Liberte Egalite Franternite” arching over a man with long hair facing foward, and two women who are holding hands, facing each other towards the center in front of the man. Under them there is a very small scripture that seems like someones’ signature. It starts with the letter “D” and seems to look like Dune. If possible, can you give me an estimate of what this coin may be worth? Thank you. Jessica
You have a 1873 France (3rd Republic) 5 Franc (10 centimes=1 decime, 10 decime= 1 Franc). Obverse: Wreath surrounding 5 FRANCS 1873, REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE around. The reverse shows 3 allegorical figures (Hercules with Muses on either side) representing LIBERTE, EGALITE, FRATERNITE (Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood) around. In exergue (under the dividing line) is the signature of DuprÃ©, the designer. The coin has a lettered security edge with the motto DIEU PROTEGE LA FRANCE (G-d Protect France). It was struck on a .900 fine silver planchet, weighs 25 grams and contains .7234 troy ounce silver.
The coin was struck from 1870-1878 at the Paris (“A” mint mark) and Bordeaux (“K” mint mark). Two proof only issues exist for 1878A and 1889. The date 1873A has the highest mintage of this run of dates with more than 27 million pieces struck. The 1873K is much scarcer with only 3.8 million coins struck.The mint mark appears under the wreath on the obverse.
Market value depends on the condition (grade) and mint mark. Approximate value range for “A” (Paris Mint): $15 -$30. (mintage 27,077,000). Approximate value range for “K” (Bordeaux Mint): $16 – $50. (mintage 3,853,000)