The French 20-Franc Gold Rooster is one of very few gold investments that enjoy the benefits of both bullion and collectible coins.
The Rooster is technically a rare coin, and thus its trade is non-reportable to the IRS. Rare coin investments are also protected from possible future confiscation by strong federal precedent. On the other hand, the quantity and quality of gold roosters available today offer the same liquidity as bullion investments and carry similarly low premiums. Above all else, however, the French Gold Rooster is a stunning and intriguing coin, rich with historical symbolism.
The obverse bears a profile of Marianne and the words “RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE.” Born of the French Revolution, Marianne is a cherished French allegory of liberty and reason and the personification of the Goddess of Liberty. A small inscription on the lower right, “J. C. Chaplain,” refers to the coin’s designer, Jules-Clément Chaplain, a renowned sculptor and one of France’s foremost medalists.
The reverse of the French Gold Rooster portrays the coin’s namesake. To the French revolutionaries the rooster signified hope, faith, and determination to prevail. The allegorical rooster was so important to the French that it briefly replaced the fleur de lis (lily) as the national emblem in the 1830s.
Nearly 117.5 million Roosters were struck from 1899 to 1914, and only those minted before 1901 are truly scarce. More important, vast numbers of these coins were held in reserve when France’s monetary system was under the gold standard. Thus French Gold Roosters can readily be found today in new or like-new condition and trade for very low premiums.
The 21.6-karat (0.900-fine) Gold Rooster weighs just over 1/5 oz. and contains 0.1867 ounces of pure gold. The diameter is 21 mm, about 80% of the size of an American quarter. The Roosters’ convenient size and fractional gold content also make them ideal for emergency currency in the event of any catastrophe.
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