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Incredible Proof 1876 Hercules 5 Franc

​Today’s preview for the upcoming Stack’s Bowers August ANA World’s Fair of Money auction bucks the trend of only gold coins and introduces a silver French 5 Franc. But rest assured, this coin is a stunner. The piece hails from the era of the Third Republic, which lasted from the collapse of the Second French Empire under Napoleon III in 1870 to the Nazi invasion of 1940 and the establishment of the Vichy regime and the Free France government in exile. The Third Republic is the longest standing French government (70 years) since the Ancien Régime. The offered coin features a revival of a design first created in 1795 by Augustin Dupré. The obverse is dominated by the impressive figure of Hercules who stands at center clad in the pelt of the Nemean Lion. Liberty stands at the left side of Hercules and is holding a staff surmounted by a Phrygian cap, a traditional symbol of liberty. Equality stands to the right, and is shown holding the scale of justice. The national motto appears above, which translates to: "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (brotherhood)."

The reverse design displays the denomination and date: "5 FRANCS. 1876" within a wreath of laurel (glory) and oak (longevity) leaves. The mintmark of Paris ("A") appears below the central inscription flanked by two engraver’s marks (honeybee and anchor). The outer inscription states: "REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE." This piece is the finer of only two examples certified by NGC and PCGS. This is an unlisted date in Proof, but this coin exhibits unmistakable Proof qualities. An arc of deep azure graces the rims on both sides, with light amber and smoky toning seen elsewhere. The effigies are razor sharp as are the denticles and other devices, clearly delineating the coin as a Proof striking. This coin is a highly desirable rarity that will interest crown collectors and specialists in French numismatics, so be sure to place your bid well in advance.

We are now accepting consignments of world and ancient coins for our August 2016 ANA Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins and currency for our August 2016 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running short, so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors.

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