Three exceptional women to be commemorated on new French coinage

Three pioneering women are to become the new faces of France’s 10, 20 and 50 cent pieces. Their official debut into circulation isn’t until this summer, but we have a sneak preview of what to expect.

According to the Monnaie de Paris, Josephine Baker, Marie Curie and Simone Veil earned their right to be the faces of the soon-to-be-released new coinage by being “sources of daily inspiration for everyone”, by embodying the values of France and by becoming trailblazers in their own realms. 

The new edition coins will be released during the summer of 2024. Image via Monnaie de Paris

It was announced on 6th March that, come summer, three new editions of the nation’s 10, 20 and 50 cent coins designed by the Monnaie de Paris’ chief engraver, Joaquin Jimenez, will be launched with these women’s faces and the Sower, a symbol that has appeared on all French-minted coins for 120 years, on one side and the universal European Union design with the denomination and a relief of the continent on the other.  


The 10 cent coin has been reserved for Simone Veil, the Auschwitz survivor who went on to become the first woman to hold the Presidency of the European Parliament. She also, in a timely twist, was the champion of the 1975 bill that decriminalised abortion in France. The right to abortion was enshrined in the French constitution earlier this month.  

See more: France makes abortion a constitutional right

Singer, anti-racism activist and resistance fighter Josephine Baker will feature on the 20 cent piece. American-born Baker was a resident of Monaco in her later years, having befriended Princess Grace. In 2021, she became the first black women to be entered into the French Pantheon. She is buried in the Principality of Monaco.  

The 50 cent coin will honour scientist Marie Curie. Curie, who was originally from Poland but became a French citizen, is best known for her contributions to uncover treatments for cancer as well as being the person to discover polonium and radium.  


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Image via Monnaie de Paris