The Statue of Liberty (officially called “Liberty Enlightening the World”) is the probably most well-known national monument in the U.S. It is an enduring symbol of American liberty and our historic commitment to accepting people from other countries. This huge, neoclassical copper statue is located on Liberty Island in New York harbor was designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. It was built by the famed Gustave Eiffel, who also built the Eiffel Tower of Paris.
Because it dominated the horizon of anyone who arrived in the U.S. on a ship during the waves of immigrants to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Statue of Liberty became a symbol of hope for a better life for millions of people. The statue’s torch, is made of copper, and its flame (the Flame of Liberty) is covered in 24-karat gold, conveyed the idea that it lights the way to freedom and shows the path to liberty.
People all over the world know about the Statue of Liberty, but did you know there is a smaller version of it in the City of Paris? In the city’s 16th arrondissement, or district, on an artificial island called Ile aux Cygnes built on the Seine river, stands a 1:4 scale replica of the original statue that was given to the city three years after the one in New York was opened in 1886. It was a gift from the American community in Paris, given in 1889 to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution of 1789.
Like the statue in New York, the replica in Paris is a symbol of the close and enduring bonds between France and the U.S. and of the republican ideal of liberty upon which both nations are founded.
The Monnaie de Paris, or Paris Mint, the national Mint of France and the oldest Mint institution in the world, is releasing the third coin in its Treasure of Paris series, which ModernCoinMart (MCM) carries. The new issues are the 2017 Silver Statue of Liberty coins, which will be available in two sizes – 10 Euro, 22.2 g and 50 Euro, 5 oz. (163.8 g) - both with selective gold plating. The smaller 22.2g coin has a mintage of 3,000, while the larger 5 oz. coin is limited to just 1,000.
The focus of this series is to highlight some of the finest buildings in Paris, which have gilded sections in their facades. Two coins are released each year in this ongoing series, and so far we have seen the Opera Garnier and the Institute of France commemorated. MCM has both of these issues available in original government packaging and certified by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) as Proof 69 for the 10 Euro versions, and Proof 69 and 70 examples of the 50 Euro Opera Garnier coin.
This 2017 Statue of Liberty coin features a stunning obverse that depicts the Eiffel Tower on the left side, the upper part of the Statue of Liberty in Paris holding the torch of light on the right, and the flame of liberty which is plated in gold. There are inscriptions in French for “THE STATUE OF LIBERTY OF PARIS” and a French translation of a famous quote in Latin, which translates in English as “NEITHER THE ARMY, NOR THE TREASURY, BUT FRIENDS ARE THE TRUE SUPPORTS OF THE STATE.”
The reverse of the coin features a modern representation of Paris and its district and inscriptions for “TREASURES OF PARIS,” “2017” and the face values of “10 EURO” or “50 EURO.”
The gilded flame of liberty from the torch that is depicted on the coin is also commemorated on an exact, life-size (3.5 meter tall) replica of the iconic flame in Paris at the Place de l’Alma. A gift from the U.S., the work of art was given to the French and recognizes restoration work done to the New York Statue of Liberty. The flame was built with funds raised by the International Herald Tribune newspaper from its readers around the world, while the paper was marking its 100th anniversary. The paper, which eventually merged with the New York Times, was founded in Paris.
The tunnel underneath the flame is where Princess Diana was tragically killed in a car accident on August 31, 1997. The site immediately became a place for people to mourn and leave pictures, flowers, and other tokens of appreciation for the princess, who was beloved by millions. In fact, many people mistakenly think the flame was built as a memorial to her rather than as a symbol of French-American cooperation, but it continues to serve as a memorial to her to this day.
The Statue of Liberty silver issue is a fitting and artistically impressive tribute to the historically important and deeply inspiring statues in both the U.S. and France. Together, they represent the two country's shared ideals and America's strong bond of friendship with its oldest ally.
This coin will have great appeal not just with collectors of French coins, but also with those who admire and appreciate the original Statue of Liberty and the enduring principles it represents.
MCM has the U.S. exclusive rights to the first coins struck in the Statue of Liberty issue, which were certified by NGC as “One of First Struck” and are available only through our Scarce and Unique Division. Give us a call at 1-888-870-6342 to check availability, or take a look at our website when they are available to see our other options!
Don’t forget, we also have our exclusive silver medals struck by the Paris Mint, which honor the 130th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty and Franco-American cooperation!
||Louis is an award-winning numismatic journalist and writer specializing on modern coins. He has been writing a weekly column for CoinWeek since May 2011 called “The Coin Analyst,” which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints. In August 2015 he received the Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Website Column for “The Coin Analyst.” He is also a contributor to several magazines, including Coin World, where he writes a bimonthly feature;The Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association’s monthly publication, where he writes a monthly column on modern world coins; and American Hard Assets. He began writing about coins in 2009. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum hosted by ModernCoinMart and has written articles for MCM since 2014. He has collected classic and modern U.S. and world coins since he was about 10 and first joined the ANA in the 1970’s. He was previously a congressional relations specialist and policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international politics and national security for a wide variety of publications. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980s.|