By the late 1960’s the price of silver was soaring making it not profitable to coin circulating silver coinage. Mints all over the world began withdrawing silver coinage and replacing it with copper-nickel versions.
Through all of this France bucked the trend. They issued not just a new circulating coin with silver but a crown sized 10 Francs coin with 0.7234 ounces of silver! Minted by the Paris Mint from 1965 to 1973 and with a diameter of 37 mm the 10 Franc represents one of the world’s last known circulating large silver coins.
The overall design was based on an original design from Augustin Dupres used on 5 Franc coinage from 1795 with only minor changes.
The obverse design features Hercules (a popular artistic figure in France) protecting two women who symbolically represent “Liberty” and “Equality”. Liberty is shown holding a pole with a phrygian cap on top of the pole. Equality is shown holding a scale of justice. Hercules stands in the center protecting the two women and wearing the skin of the Nemean Lion which, in the legend of the twelve tasks, granted him the gift of invulnerability. On the outer periphery in French is the motto “LIBERTE-EGALITE-FRATERNITE” or in English "Liberty – Equality – Brotherhood”.
The reverse design features a wreath with the denomination “10 FRANCS” and year of issue enclosed within while on the outer periphery are the words "REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE".
The coin edge is not reeded nor smooth but decorated in ornate designs.
General Market Notes
Issued for circulation, very few saw actual use and many survivors exist in high grades.