Centenary commemorations for Prince Rainier III: A tribute in gold at the Monaco Museum of Philately and Coinage
On Thursday 2 November 2023, H.S.H. Prince Albert II opened the numismatic exhibition The Duchy of Valentinois, ancient fiefdom of the Grimaldi family: numismatic prehistory at the Monaco Museum of Philately and Coinage. The Prince was presented with the €50 gold coin created to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Prince Rainier III, alongside H.S.H. Princess Stéphanie, Chair of the Prince Rainier III Commemoration Committee, Louis Ducruet, and by numerous representatives from Monegasque institutions.
An heir to his ancestors’ passion for stamps, Prince Rainier III considered the stamp to be ‘a country’s first ambassador’. He founded the museum that housed his collection in the Prince’s Palace in 1950 — which became today’s Museum of Philately and Coinage in 1996 — with the aim of archiving, conserving and exhibiting the collections of Princes Albert I and Louis II. In 2001 with the arrival of the euro, Prince Rainier III decided to broaden the scope of the Stamp Collection Advisory Committee, which also became dedicated to coins.
The gold coin, engraved with a double effigy of Prince Rainier III in commemoration of the longevity and importance of his reign, is particularly noteworthy, as it is the first €50 coin ever minted in Monaco. Only 499 coins were produced; they are available for purchase at the Museum of Philately and Coinage for €2,500 apiece.
The exhibition of prestigious coins and historical documents about the Duchy of Valentinois, the fiefdom of the Grimaldi family from 1642, includes the former collection of coin specialist Régis Chareyron (acquired by H.S.H. the Prince), the Sovereign’s own collection and those of the Palace Archives and Aix Academy. Valentinois coins on display date from the end of the 12th to the beginning of the 15th century. Also part of the exhibition are Monegasque coins bearing the title of Duke of Valentinois, from Prince Honoré II to Antoine I and Jacques I. The exhibition is open from 2–5 November 2023. Guided tours are offered by its curator, Professor Jean-Louis Charlet, on 3, 4 and 5 November at 10 am, 11 am, 3 pm and 4 pm.