Roland-Garros Matches Will Start With the Toss of a Lacoste Coin

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CROCODILE TAILS, AND HEADS: The coin tosses ahead of each of the 900 matches at Roland-Garros will mean a lot to Lacoste, a sponsor of the famous French tennis tournament since 1971.

As part of its 90th anniversary festivities in 2023, Lacoste teamed up with La Monnaie de Paris to mint collector coins, one shaped like a tennis racket and another like the famous crocodile logo on the chest of all its famous polos.

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On Monday morning, small groups were ushered into La Monnaie’s production rooms to see a workman stamp one of the silver coins, which depict Lacoste founder René Lacoste mid-swing one one side.

A silver coin by La Monnaie de Paris for Lacoste.
A silver coin by La Monnaie de Paris for Lacoste.

La Monnaie chief executive Marc Schwartz unveiled the coins, noting that each year the mint collaborates with a brand to celebrate French excellence. He extolled the precision with which Lacoste manufactures its signature cotton piqué polo shirts at its factory in Troyes.

The coins incorporate several textures: crocodile skin, cotton piqué, tennis-racket strings and also the dimpled surface of a golf ball, a tribute to Lacoste’s wife, the golf champion Simone Thion de La Chaume.

In an interview, Catherine Spindler, deputy CEO of Lacoste, said that know-how is “definitely part of the strategy of what I want to communicate. We have a very specific savoir faire and it’s something I wish to claim a little bit more, and let people discover.”

A racket-shaped coin by La Monnaie de Paris for Lacoste.
A racket-shaped coin by La Monnaie de Paris for Lacoste.

The special Lacoste coins have a face value that makes them legal tender in France; however, they are designed to appeal to collectors.

Values for the limited-edition pieces start at 92 euros for a 10-euro racket-shaped coin to 3,090 euros for a 200-euro gold one. The pièce de résistance is a one-kilogram gold crocodile-shaped coin with a face value of 5,000 euros, depicting the reptile with a tennis ball caught in its teeth. Only 12 will be produced, the price disclosed upon request.

To be sure, Lacoste has specialized fan communities all over the world, including in Korea, Brazil, France, Japan and America, where the brand is planning some activities around the U.S. Open this fall, Spindler noted.

Roland-Garros kicks off on May 22 in Paris and runs through June 11. The coin toss is used to decide who serves and who receives, or the side of the court on which the victor of the toss wishes to play.

In recent years, La Monnaie de Paris has minted special coins with the likes of Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Baccarat and Cartier.

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