France:5 Centimes 1795-1797 Dupré


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1795/96 and 1796-97
Diameter: 23 mm
Weight: 5 grams
Total Series Mintage: 13,000,000 approximate
Obverse Design: Head of Republic
Reverse Design: Denomination


This coin is one of the first of the decimal system in Francs. In catalogues this particular type coin is identified as "small diameter" because it was struck simultaneously with a larger coin with the same obverse and facial value - the reverse being different, though, with a wreath. The Engraver is Augustin Dupré, who designed most French coins under the Revolution and 1st Empire periods.

The years appearing on the coin are "L'An 4" and "L'An 5" // in English "The Year 4" and "The Year 5", that refer to the birth of the Republic (1792). At that time a new republican calendar had been invented and was in use in France. The year began with the Equinox of September, with new names for days and months, so "Year 4" corresponds to 1795-96 and "Year 5" to 1796-97. This calendar survived until 1805. Once crowned as Emperor, Napoleon decided to return to the Gregorian (= normal) calendar.


The obverse shows a Head of Marianne wearing a Phrygian cap, one of the French national allegories of Liberty and Republic. Beneath appears the signature of the engraver Dupré. On the outer periphery are the words "République Française" or in English "French Republic".

The reverse is minimalist with "5 Centimes" above the year, marks, and letter of workshop ("A" stands for Paris).

In theory the coin edge is reeded but instead of vertical grain reeding ||||| it is grained right // (diagonal). Unfortunately this reeding pattern tended to wear very quickly and many coins are found with smooth edges.

Obverse Reverse

Mintage by year

L'An 4 - 11,800,000 with 90 % struck in Paris (Letter A)
L'An 5 - 1,200,000 with 90 % struck in Paris (Letter A)

General Market Notes

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