FRANCE: The Price of Napoleons

The Price of Napoleon

As they have for generations, Frenchmen hedge their bets on the future by buying up and hoarding "napoleons"*—golden 20-franc pieces. Napoleons are thus the truest reflection of a small Frenchman's faith, or lack of faith, in his government's financial stability. Last week, after a climb of 30% in the past ten months, the price of the gold napoleon stood at 3,310 francs (about $9.45), the highest since the nervous last days of the war in Indo-China. In bullion terms, this made the napoleons worth $50 per oz., v. the U.S. price of $35...

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