Actual Gold Content: .3734 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.