The One Franc coin depicted a man shoveling coal in a foundry in Luxembourg. That man was Mathias Gaasch, the uncle of Alpena Michigan residents: Alice Gaasch, Louise Gaasch Hathaway(mother of Bob and Jean Hathaway), and Frank Gaasch (Father of Bill, Jack, Jim, and Marybeth Gaasch).There were over 18 million of these coins minted from 1924 through 1991. They were withdrawn from circulation on December 31, 1991. The same image was on the 2 franc coin, but only in the year in 1924, which is a very rare coin (see below).
A news clipping from a Luxembourg newspaper
It's translation (translated by Anett Deadman)
An actual photo of Mathias Gaasch
A family tree
An excerpt from the Banque Centrale du Luxembourg website.
Mathias Gaasch, of Dudeling (Luxembourg) poses for Auguste Tremont's sketch.
Auguste Tremont, one of the greatest artists and the most momentous sculptor of Luxembourg was born there on New Years Eve, 1892. At 17, the young man went to Paris, where he signed in at the "Ecole National des arts decoratifs" (an art school next to the Louvre). And later at the "Ecole National des beaux-arts" (another art school). However, the war halted his career as an artist, and so he went back to his homeland. After a short imprisonment, he taught at the "Lycee de garcons" (a school in Luxembourg), before he was to work for the "Huttendirektion", to secure the scenes in the factory in Dudeling. At that same time, Mathias Gaasch worked at the smelting foundry. He had a strong build and powerful physique due to his daily strenuous physical exertion.
The artist chose to have Mathias Gaasch pose for a painting to capture that worker, explains J. Feis, the grandaughter of Mathias Gaasch, in an interview with radio station DNR.
The modeling work of her grandfather was allowed by the people in charge. It was an honor for the man from Dudeling, Luxembourg (Mathias Gaasch), who died in 1939, to be a model for Auguste Tremont.
Later, the painting of Tremont's was to be many multiple thousand times engraved on the one Franc Luxembourg coin. Rene Link from the "Banque Centrale du Luxembourg" reports that in 1924 the first coin came into circulation. On December 31, 1991, they were withdrawn from circulation. A Belgian artist Armand Bonnetain (1888-1973) was responsible for the engraving.
Today, most Luxembourgers only know the definition "Feiersteppler". The identity of the man who adorned the coin remained mostly in the background.
A real average story, but surely not an average tale for coin collectors.
From the Banque Centrale du Luxembourg:
A question which burns on all the lips: who is the character of Feiersteppler A recent research by the journalist Pia Hansel could provide interesting indications on this subject. In or shortly after the First World War, Auguste Tremont made in the factory of Dudelange, on ordering of the direction, the sketch representing of the workmen of Schmelz working. One of these workmen had the preference of Tremont because of its impressive stature and this workman was a certain Mathias Gaasch de Dudelange, deceased in 1939. What it appears, the drawings of Tremont was known of the engraver of the currency of 1924, the Belgian artist Armand Bonnetain who lived of 1888 to 1973. Moreover, a grand-daughter of Mathias Gaasch saw still today. It is seen, with the image of the books, it is not false to also say coins of currency 'Habent sweated fata', they have their history. And now, our good frank old man is not only one monument, but it has also its monument, in the form of the most famous sculpture representing of its expressions: the 'Feiersteppler'.
The following sculpture was installed in the garden of the Banque Centrale du Luxembourg on October 25, 2002. It is the "Feiersteppler", the image of Mathias Gaasch. Photos follow:
The two franc coin is exceptionally rare. I have a collection of these coins. Following is a photo of the front and rear of the coin.
Gaasch Family Picture (circa 1920)
Anna Gaasch, Guillaume Gaasch, Mathias Gaasch, Susanna Gaasch-Mitsch, Marguerite Gaasch, Michel Gaasch
Click on this to see all of the Feiersteppler coins
This website owned, designed, and edited by Jim Gaasch