Actual Gold Content: .1867 troy ounce
|Napoleon Bonaparte, it could be said as it was of Julius Caesar, 'bestrides European history like a colossus.' He is arguably the most famous individual in Europe's long history. A gifted military tactician, statesman and politician, Napoleon conquered most of Europe and, in one of the most famous and vainglorious gestures in history, crowned himself Emperor in 1804 thus fulfilling his ambition to follow in the footsteps of the first French emperor, Charlemagne.|
Few know that Napoleon, among his many accomplishments, was founder of the Bank of France and a staunch advocate of gold as opposed to government issued, unbacked paper money. Andrew Dickson White renders this famous account of Napoleon's views on state finances and paper money: "[The assignat inflation] ended in the complete financial, moral and political prostration of France -- a prostration from which only a Napoleon could raise it. . .at [his] first cabinet council Bonaparte was asked what he intended to do. He replied, 'I will pay cash or pay nothing.' . . .[Later] when the first great European coalition was hard pressed financially, and it was proposed to resort to paper money; he wrote to his minister, 'I will never resort to irredeemable paper money.' He never did, and France, under this determination, commanded all the gold she needed."
The Napoleon I gold coin represents this legacy and is one of the most sought after of the pre-1933 European gold coins. On the obverse Napoleon is depicted crowned in laurel. The mintages are relatively low when compared to later issues and the coin is most often found in circulated condition.
|Historical commentary (from Wikipedia): Napoleon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 - 5 May 1821) later known as Emperor Napoleon I, was a military and political leader of France whose actions shaped European politics in the early 19th century.|
Born in Corsica and trained as an artillery officer in mainland France, Bonaparte rose to prominence under the First French Republic and led successful campaigns against the First and Second Coalitions arrayed against France. In 1799, he staged a coup d'état and installed himself as First Consul; five years later he crowned himself Emperor of the French. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, he turned the armies of the French Empire against every major European power and dominated continental Europe through a series of military victories. He maintained France's sphere of influence by the formation of extensive alliances and the appointment of friends and family members to rule other European countries as French client states.
The French invasion of Russia in 1812 marked a turning point in Napoleon's fortunes. His Grande Armée was badly damaged in the campaign and never fully recovered. In 1813, the Sixth Coalition defeated his forces at Leipzig; the following year the Coalition invaded France, forced Napoleon to abdicate and exiled him to the island of Elba. Less than a year later, he escaped Elba and returned to power, but was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. Napoleon spent the last six years of his life under British supervision on the island of Saint Helena.