September 10, 2015 – The Monnaie de Paris continues its popular series “Great French Ships”. The latest addition depicts the cruiser Le Colbert.
France / 50 Euros / Gold .920 / 8.45 g / 22 mm / Mintage: 500.
The coin’s obverse shows the cruiser Le Colbert, named after Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Secretary of State of the Navy under Louis XIV. Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s bust features on the right-hand side. In the background, the Pont d’Aquitaine in Bordeaux is shown as a reference to the ships’ anchorage for more than ten years.
The reverse shows a composition common to all five coins dedicated to military vessels in this collection: a sailor’s blue collar, displaying the face value, sitting above the silhouettes of the five ships, while an arch of chain links frames the year of issue.
The latest addition to the French Ships Series comes in three versions: a 50 euro coin in gold, as well as a 10 euro and a 50 euro coin in silver.
The French cruiser Colbert, the sixth ship to carry this name, was built in Brest between 1953 and 1957. It was launched on 24 March 1959 and armed in May that year. After WWII, France undertook the reconstruction of its fleet. The threat of an air attack increasing, it was decided to build two anti-aircraft cruisers: to that end, the De Grasse cruiser (a pre-war ship) was renovated, and the Colbert was transformed. Between 1970 and 1972, the Colbert became a guided-missile cruiser.
In 1961, the Colbert carried Marshal Lyautey’s remains from Casablanca to Toulon. General de Gaulle used the Colbert for two official travels, first in South America in 1964, then in Canada in 1967. The ship’s only war mission was during the Gulf conflict in 1991.
The Colbert was in active service until 1991. From 1993 to 2007, the decommissioned and disarmed ship was moored in Bordeaux and served as a public museum. After having been transported to Brest, the ship was berthed in the ship cemetery in Landévennec. The destruction of the Colbert is planned.
For more information on this and other issues, please visit the website of the Monnaie de Paris.
Watch YouTube videos of the Colbert here…