Coin, Belgium, Baudouin I
50 Francs - 50 Frank - 1993 - Brussels - Belgium
Face left on divided coin.
Denomination, date at bottom, legend in French
- Country: Belgium
- Denomination: 50 Francs, 50 Frank
- Year: 1993
- Mint name: Brussels
- Composition: Nickel
- Diameter: 22.75
- Mintage: 15060000
- EdgeDesc: Reeded
- Ruler Name: Baudouin I
- KM: 168
If nickel had its place in antiquity, then it was in the form of an alloy, due to a lack of means to separate it from its ore companions. It was not isolated for the first time until Axel Fredrick Cronsted succeeded in 1751.
Its name has an amusing origin. The ore from which it was extracted came from Germany and resembled copper. The miners named it Kupfernickel, meaning “sprite copper”, a reference to a mischievous sprite in Germanic mythology which played dirty tricks in the mines.
Nickel is a hard metal, which is silver in color, shiny, and resistant to wear.
The first nickel coins were issued by Switzerland in 1881. France did not follow suit until 1903 with the 25 centime coins engraved by Henri-Auguste-Jules Patey.
This metal never really became popular until after WWI due to the rarefaction of silver. Unfortunately, there are two negative aspects which have lowered its value in its pure form recently: its rising cost (nickel is now twice as expensive as copper) and its hardness, which puts coins at risk.
For this reason, other alloys like cupronickel are often preferred.
An “AU(55-58)” quality
As in numismatics, it is important that the state of conservation of an item be carefully evaluated before it is offered to a discerning collector with a keen eye.
This initially obscure acronym comprising two words describing the state of conservation is explained clearly here:
This means – more prosaically – that the coin has been in circulation but sufficiently little that its original beauty is preserved almost in its entirety. The wear is barely visible and any other defect can only be identified with a magnifying glass or a particularly keen eye. The number (55-58) indicates that between three quarters and almost all of the original luster remains.