NYINC Recap – Outstanding Results for Lot 40355, a Terrific Uniface Pattern Essai 5 Franc in Gold

We continue our recap of the January New York International Auction hosted by Stack’s Bowers Galleries by featuring another stellar performance, in this case a French gold uniface pattern essai 5 Franc depicting Napoleon III. This piece brought an astounding $24,675.00, well beyond the estimate range of $5,000 to $7,000.

This pattern, produced by Bescher in 1853, features the left facing laureate head of Napoleon III a motif that would not appear on circulating coinage until 1861. Having launched unsuccessful coups d’état in both 1836 and 1840, Napoleon III finally succeeded in seizing power as emperor in late 1851, after being prohibited from running for president a second time by the constitution of the day. Napoleon III commissioned the great renovation of Paris, overseen by Georges-Eugene Haussmann, the prefect of the Seine. Crowded and unsanitary medieval neighborhoods were demolished and disparate communities within the city were connected by broad boulevards. Overall the conditions within the city improved, outbreaks of disease nearly ceased, traffic circulation improved and the newly designed buildings were quite functional.

Coinage bearing the likeness of Napoleon III in bare head was not issued until 1852, with subsequent designs with laurels under consideration as early as 1853. Conceivably Napoleon III himself reviewed the designs prior to their adoption for production coinage and may well have handled the piece seen here. The coin offered features very nice high relief portraiture and no breaks to the luster. A die flaw from the back of the head is as made, with the reverse showing some signs of cabinet friction resulting in the assigned grade. We could locate no other recent transaction activity for the piece (it is certainly the first piece we have handled).

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. 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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