Marianne depicted on the French 20 franc gold coin
When the 20 franc Marianne coins were introduced in 1898, they continued in the footsteps of the monetary tradition of the French Republic where circulating gold francs, instead of depicting the effigy of a king or emperor, portrayed French symbols of victory, liberty, justice. The most famous and pronounced French emblems that represent these principles are the rooster and Marianne.
The rooster which is shown on the reverse side of the 20 franc gold coin is a French Christian symbol associated with victory. The rooster’s crowing to the sunrise is considered to be the daily victory of light over darkness and evil. The rooster had become an important symbol during the French Renaissance period, in which the Catholic Church played a decisive role in France’s state affairs. Today, the rooster is the unofficial symbol of France and is most often used as a national mascot at sports events.
The effigy of Marianne which is portrayed on the obverse of the 20 franc gold coin is a combination of the allegorical personifications of liberty and justice. Painted for the first time in 1775 by a young French painter, Marianne gained popularity in the aftermath of the French Revolution when the newly elected assembly needed a fresh symbol to represent the First French Republic. The effigy of a young Marianne was chosen, representing a young but determined new Republic. Marianne is today France’s national symbol, portrayed on French euro coins, stamps, and official government logos. She is a staunch Republican emblem associated with the triumph of freedom against absolute rule.