Napoleon III - Unlike his more famous uncle, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (later Napoleon III), came to power by election when the Revolution of 1848 brought down Louis Philippe of Orleans. Napoleon III was elected president of the newly formed Second Republic that year. Four years later, he was proclaimed emperor. His regime was noted for its prosperity and stability, albeit under an autocracy. France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 led to Napoleon III's exile and the establishment of the Third Republic.
The French 20 Franc Napoleon III gold coins had three different designs during their production from 1852-1870, which are described below.
Designs of the French 20 Franc Napoleon III Gold Coin
Version I - The obverse (front) of the gold coin features a bust portrait of Napoleon. The reverse (back) shows the value of the coin (20 Franc) and the date (1852) surrounded by wreaths.
Version II - This second Napoleon III French 20 Franc is very similar to the first, with two main differences. The name of the ruler written on this obverse says 'NAPOLEON III' along with the title 'EMPEREUR.' On the previous issue, his full name is written as 'LOUIS-NAPOLEON BONAPARTE' with no title. The main difference on the reverse is that the nation is referred to as 'EMPIRE FRANCAIS' instead of 'REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE'. This version is depicted above.
Version III - The third Napoleon III design emerged in 1861. Featuring a coat of arms and a wreath-wearing Napoleon III, this production ran until his ousting in 1870.
French 20 Franc Napoleon III Gold Coin Minting Information - France has produced 20 Franc gold coins since Napoleon I's reign as First Consul. The earliest such coins were dated ANXI, AN12, AN13, and AN14. When the design was changed in 1806, the gold coin began showing the date in Arabic Numerals. Napoleon III French 20 Franc were minted between 1852 and 1870.