France: 20 Francs Mount St Michael


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1992-2001
Composition: Intermediate Ring - 100% Nickel, Inner Core and Outer Ring - 92% Copper 6% Nickel 2% Aluminum
Diameter: 27 mm
Weight: 9 grams
Total Mintage: 140,245,000 (approximate)
Obverse Design: St. Michael's Mount
Reverse Design: Denomination


This beautiful coin shows one of the most famous French historical and tourist sites : Mont Saint Michel (or Mount St Michael in English) in Normandy. The Mount is a rocky island standing in the middle of a bay. Large works saved it from sandbank recently. The inner village and abbey date back to the Middle Ages.

The coin did not circulate so widely as the 10 Francs Angel / Spirit because in competition with a banknote of the same denomination.


The Obverse represents Mount St Michael reflecting in the waters of the bay. Partly encircling the design are the words "République Française" // "French Republic" in English.

The Reverse is minimalist with the facial value in a network of stripes. On the outer periphery appears the motto "Liberté - Egalité - Fraternité" // in English "Liberty - Equality - Brotherhood".

The Edge is alternatively smooth and reeded.

Note: Krause World Coin Catalogs identifies the artist of the design on the Obverse as "Atelier de la Monnaie Paris", that means the whole team of engravers of the workshop. Some modern French coins have such collective and/or anonymous designers. The privy mark (= signature) of the "Atelier de la Monnaie de Paris" is a tiny flower (here noticeable on the right under the Mount). With a magnifying glass, you can see that the "petals" of the flower are, in fact, made of the initials a g m m (for "Atelier de Gravure des Monnaies et Médailles" // Coin and Medal Engraving Workshop".


There are 5 varieties for the year 1992, due to small differences in the network of stripes on the Reverse, number of reeds on the Edge, and combinations of both.

In 1994 took place a change of managing Director, consequently two different privy marks exist for that year on the Reverse : a dolphin or a bee, together with the cornucopia which is the general mark of the Mint.

Obverse Reverse
Coin Edge

General Market Notes

Unlike Euro coins, French Francs were normally all struck in coin alignment (with head to foot sides). From time to time, special BU issues for collectors were issued in medal alignment (both sides in the same direction), which made them distinct from business circulation coins. Proof coins are also slightly different, with normal sides but a totally smooth edge. Those BU issues are semi-keys. There are no real keys, except the Essays and an extremely rare variety of 1992 (not depicted here), which command higher prices.

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