2021 Napoleon Bee 1kg Silver Proof Kilo Coin



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Napoleon’s Bees; the humble symbol of a mighty Empire

To mark the 200th Anniversary of the Death of Napoleon and celebrate the humble bee that became the icon of his Empire, this 2021 coin design combines key elements of Napoleon’s story. Its outer circle proudly carries the name of Napoleon Bonaparte and the years of his life; to the left-hand side, one of Napoleon’s Bees forms a punctuation point between the date and his name; to the right that role is performed by The East India Company mint mark.

Moving in towards the centre, a swarm of bees are picked out in our frosted Proof finish against the polished table of the coin, circling a classic laurel wreath or garland, symbolic of athletic victory and the Emperors of Ancient Rome. The garland is topped with the crown that Napoleon used at his coronation in Notre Dame, itself his interpretation of the crown of Charlemagne that was lost during the French Revolution.

At the coin’s heart sits the humble but powerful bee. The intricately detailed design captures the natural beauty of this symbol of industry and harmony that connected Napoleon’s new Empire to the kings of ancient French history.


Napoleon’s Bees; harmony, industry, immortality
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the island of Corsica in 1769. He famously built an Empire across Europe until his final defeat at Waterloo in 1815 which saw him exiled to St Helena, where he lived out his final years until his death in 1821 aged 51. To mark the 200th Anniversary of Napoleon’s death, The East India Company is proud to pay tribute to his time on St Helena and the humble but powerful icon that symbolised his reign.When Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of France in 1804, he was keen to replace the remnants of the fallen Bourbon dynasty, including their emblem, the Fleur du Lys. He learned about the discovery of the tomb of Childeric I, king of the Merovingian Franks, and the 300 tiny gold bees that were found buried alongside his remains as a symbol of immortality.The bee is symbolic of harmony, working together for a bigger cause. They are pollinators, bringing fertility, and producers of honey, offering the gift of sweetness. Napoleon recognised these important characteristics and used golden bees across his Empire; they are on his Coat Arms, they appeared on metalwork, furniture and ceramics, the motifs stitched into his coronation robe and the patterns on the wallpaper and carpets of his palaces.

After Napoleon’s final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, he was exiled to St Helena, a peaceful island owned by the East India Company. He lived on the island in Longwood House until his death in 1821, when he was buried under a willow tree in the garden, a simple gravestone marking the spot.

Napoleon’s remains were eventually returned to France in 1840, a triumphant journey that saw his coffin transported by a magnificent horse drawn cortege upon which, according to newspaper reports, “on both sides hung two velvet imperial mantles, sprinkled with bees.”

Inspired by ancient French history; symbols of the industry and harmony of a brave new Empire; decorations upon the cortege of a returning hero. Napoleon’s Bees were, and remain, a powerful icon of a remarkable life and legend.

Coin Name: 2021 Napoleon’s Bees 1Kilo Silver Proof Coin
Alloy: 999Ag (Fine Silver)
Denomination: £50
Weight: 1 KILO
Issuing Authority: St Helena
Diameter: 100mm
Issue Limit: 50
Total Mintage: 50


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