5 cents Napoleon of 1856, minted in Brass !
Another curiosity that my friend Sylvain.D presented to me. A five-cent Napoleon III for the year 1856, minted in Lyon and in brass.
The color is yellow and there is no doubt, it is brass. After analysis, I think this coin is official. Everything fits, including the reverse die which shows us a right star a little crushed down, common to all the coins of 1856. There is, for me, no element who permit to doubt about the l authenticity of this coin. The diameter is the same as an official coin and the weight is 4.95 grs, therefore quite good, since the coin is worn and the theoretical weight is 5 grams for a bronze coin. The difference in mass between brass and bronze is tiny. Of course, everything also depends on the dosage in the mixture of metals. Finally, I note that the edge is smooth, as for current coins.
The Gadoury, 1989 edition, page 90, tells us that a essai of 5 cents in brass for the same year 1856 is already listed. But it is a coin marked ESSAI instead of CINQ CENTIMES and ZINC CUIVRE NICKEL instead EMPIRE FRANÇAIS. On the reverse, no difference except that the two mint marks are anchors. The indicated weight, is 4.70 grs. But, we have here a coin having exactly the type adopted on current coins. And as I pointed out, with the same obverse die as the current bronze coins! It seems to me, therefore, at this point in the investigation, that this coin is not a essai because nothing indicates it, except the change of metal and it does not appear to my knowledge, any essai to the adopted type of brass in the registers. A brass blank was probably introduced when minting coins for circulation. In any case, we know that this blank was present in the Lyon mint. This might perhaps teach us more about the origin and location of these brass essai.