The effects of World War II on European countries left many currency systems in a state of flux. Luxembourg was one such example when in 1941, the Luxembourg franc was replaced by the German reichsmark at a rate of 10 francs = 1 reichsmark. As the allied forces moved east and freeing Luxembourg from German influence, the Luxembourg franc was reestablished in 1944, once more tied to the Belgian franc at par.
As inflation rose due to war costs, Luxembourg coinage was introduced to new circulating denominations of the franc in the form of 20, 50, and 100 franc coins. The first issue in these new denominations was a circulating commemorative to celebrate the 600th anniversary of John the Blind, King of Bohemia and Count of Luxembourg from 1310-1346.
As a ruler John was not always blind but lost his eyesight during his reign around the age of 39 in 1336 due to ophthalmia. John was famous for being one of Europe's most chivalrous knights in that period and did not let the onset of blindness prevent him from fulfilling his duties as a military leader. In 1346 during a battle with the English, John charged the enemy with his knights and died late into the battle.
Both the obverse & reverse were designed by Armand Bonnetain and were issued with a composition of 83.5% silver. Due to the popularity of the coinage, a re-strike of an additional 2,000 100 Francs was authorized. These re-strikes do not carry the designer's name as the first strikes.
The obverse design features the bust of Prince Jean of Luxemburg, who would later become Grand Duke in 1964. Flanking both sides of the bust are crowned shields and just below the bust are the designer's initials “AB”.
The reverse design is an image of John the Blind in full armor and riding a horse. Below the design are the numerals “26 – VIII” which represents August 26 (the month and day of John's death). At the bottom of the coin is the dual date “1346 – 1946” and to the right is the designer's name “BONNETAIN”. Note that later re-strikes do not have the designer's name on the reverse.
General Market Notes
Though it carries a small mintage, 1946 100 francs were saved in large enough quantities that most examples are affordable (even in high grades).