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France

The Napoleonic Coins – Part II

Click here for Part I.

As mentioned in the previous post, Napoleon Bonaparte wasn’t shy about putting his bust on coins that would circulate throughout his empire. Of course those weren’t the only coins he found himself on. Like Andrew Jackson later in the decade, Napoleon’s image was used on a variety of unofficial tokens and coins. Some were positive and served to glorify and underscore his dominance. In other cases, they were negative and even celebrated his downfall.

Here are three tokens I recently added to my collection:

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The Napoleonic Coins – Part I

Napoleon Bonaparte sure is on a lot of coins and tokens. 

That might seem like an obvious statement. After all, if you conquer or subjugate most of Europe, then it’s likely that your face will be on all sorts of things – both in favor and opposition to you. For a figure as dominating and polarizing as Napoleon, collecting coins, tokens and currency with his likeness on them can be a full-time hobby.

Recently, I acquired a few Napoleonic coins and tokens. I’ll talk about the coins in this post and then the tokens in a future post. 

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Not So Brotherly Love: A French Coin Minted in Philadelphia.

No, this coin isn’t much to look at. Looking like something that could have passed for a final project in high school metal shop, this coin has less detail than a Chuck E. Cheese token. Indeed, it wasn’t very popular when it came out and it’s safe to say that it’s minimalistic design hasn’t won many fans in the years since.

Perhaps no one hated this coin more than Charles De Gaulle.

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World War II Puppet State Coins: Manchukuo and Vichy France (UPDATED)

Tell me something, if the world is so insane,
Is it making you sane again to,
Let another man tug at the thread,
That pulls up your nodding head?
How did they teach you to be,
Just a happy puppet dancing on a string? — “You Happy Puppet,” 10,000 Maniacs

I recently purchased some coins that had been issued by World War II-era puppet governments. I find these coins to be fascinating in a number of respects. For one thing, it’s always interesting to possess a coin that has outlived the government that issued it. Additionally, these coins illustrate many important themes, and are an indelible part of the overall history of World War II. 

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