What Is the History Behind the French Gold Rooster Coin?

What Is the History Behind the French Gold Rooster Coin?

French Rooster Gold Coins (also known as Rooster 20 Franc Gold Coins) were originally minted in 1899. They were designed by Jules-Clément Chaplain. The French stopped producing them in 1914 with the beginning of World War One.

The obverse of the coin depicts the head of Marianne, who is the national emblem and the most prominent symbol of the Third French Republic. Portrayed on the reverse is “Le Coq Gaulois” (Gallic rooster), informally named “Chanteclair.” The rooster signifies a revolutionary spirit along with a fierce fighting attitude.

The origin of the rooster as a symbol of France can be traced back to the Romans, when the region was referred to as Gaul. At the time, the Romans had a word called "galus" that was used to describe a rooster. Since it sounded similar to the name of the region, everyone thought that Gaul came from galus. When the Germanic people known as the Francs came to conquer the region in the sixth century, they assumed the rooster as the country's symbol.

The inscriptions on both sides of the coin also carry historical significance. On the front, Marianne's head is surrounded by the words "Republique Francaise," or the French Republic. This inscription is not unique to the Gold Rooster; it appears on most French coins. On the back, the initial coin had the inscription, "Dieu Protège la France" (May God protect France). This inscription was replaced in 1907 with the words, "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" (liberty, equality, brotherhood). The reverse also displays the denomination of the coin, with "20" to the rooster's left and "Fcs" to its right.

Coins with dates from 1907 to 1914 were officially re-struck at the Paris Mint in 1921 and again from 1951 to 1960.