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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Medieval & Modern Coins ▸ FranceView Options:  |  |  | 

Coins of France

France, Charles X, 1824 - 1830

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For most of his life Charles X was known as the Count of Artois (in French, comte d'Artois). An uncle of the uncrowned Louis XVII, and younger brother to reigning kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile and eventually succeeded him. His rule of almost six years ended in the July Revolution of 1830, with his abdication and the election of Louis Philippe I as King. Exiled once again, Charles died in 1836 in Gorizia, then part of the Austrian Empire. He was the last of the French rulers from the senior branch of the House of Bourbon.
SH86157. Gold 40 Francs, Gadoury 1105, Friedberg 547, Krause KM 721.1, Schlumberger Gold 170, EF, light bumps and marks; incuse on edge: DOMINE SALVUM FAC REGEM (Lord save the King), weight 12.867 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 180o, Paris (A) mint, 1830; obverse CHARLES X ROI DE FRANCE., bare head right, MICHAUT. (engraver Auguste-Francois Michaut) over italic T below; reverse crowned shield of France, flanked by 40 - F, all surrounded by a laurel wreath formed of two branches tied at the bottom, 1830 below flanked by an anchor on left and A (Paris mintmark) on right; $750.00 (€637.50)
 


France, Henry III, 1574 - 1589

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Three months after Henri was made the elected king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, his brother, Charles IX of France, died and Henri returned to France to assume the French throne. Henri brought several Polish inventions back to France, including septic facilities which deposited excrement outside the castle walls, a bath with regulated hot and cold water, and the fork. Henri gave protestant Huguenots the right of public worship, except in Paris and at Court. In response, Henry I, Duke of Guise, formed the Catholic League. Henri III was eventually forced to flee Paris. After he had the duke assassinated, Henri III prepared to return to Paris but was murdered before he could return. During the French Revolution, Henri III was disinterred from his tomb, his body was desecrated and thrown into a common grave.

On May 31, 1575, Henry III created a new 14.188 grams, .833 fine silver coin with the value of 20 sols tournois. The gold écu was set at 60 sols. The gold franc equaled 1/3 écu or 20 sols. This coin, corresponding to the value of the medieval gold franc, naturally took the name franc d'argent (silver franc). Our coin is a franc avec fraise, distinguished from the contemporary franc au col plat by the addition of a lace ruff to the king's collar. It was unique to the Toulouse mint. Due to constant clipping, the coinage of francs was suspended for good on October 13, 1586. After the death of the king, however, mints held by the Catholic League struck francs in his name.
SH84614. Silver franc, Duplessy 1130A, Ciani 1434, Roberts 3612, Lafaurie 970, aVF, iridescent toning, weight 13.995 g, maximum diameter 35.2 mm, die axis 180o, Toulouse (M) mint, 1586; obverse •HENRICVS•III D•G FRANC ET•POL•REX• (Henry III, by the grace of god, King of France and Poland), laureate and cuirassed bust of Henry III, ruffled collar, M (Toulouse workshop letter) below bust, 1586 at bottom between end and beginning of legend; reverse * SIT•NOMEN•DOMINI•BENEDICTVM S (Blessed be the name of the Lord), foliate cross fleurée, H surrounded by dots in the center; $600.00 (€510.00)
 


France, Charles IX, 1560 - 1574

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Charles IX ascended the throne of France upon the death of his brother Francis II. After decades of tension, war broke out between Protestants and Catholics after the massacre of Vassy in 1562. In 1572, after several unsuccessful peace attempts, Charles ordered the marriage of his sister Margaret of Valois to Henry of Navarre, a major Protestant nobleman and the future King Henry IV of France, in a last desperate bid to reconcile his people. Facing popular hostility against this policy of appeasement, Charles allowed the massacre of all Huguenot leaders who gathered in Paris for the royal wedding at the instigation of his mother Catherine de' Medici. This event, known as the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, was a significant blow to the Huguenot movement. Religious civil warfare soon began anew. Charles ordered the Siege of La Rochelle, but was unable to take the Protestant stronghold. Charles died of tuberculosis without legitimate male issue in 1574 and was succeeded by his brother Henry III.
UK86329. Silver teston, cf. Roberts 3551, Duplessy 1063, Ciani 1356, Lafaurie 895, VF, toned, scratches and marks, areas of weak strike, weight 8.927 g, maximum diameter 28.7 mm, die axis 255o, Saint-Lô mint, 1561; obverse CAROLVS•VIIII•D•G•FRANCO•REX• (Charles IX, by the Grace of God, King of France), laureate and cuirassed boy's bust left, C (mint-mark) below; reverse SIT•NOMEN•DNI•BENEDICIM•M•D•LXI (Blessed be the name of the Lord, 1561), crowned coat of arms (three fleur de lis), crowned C's flanking; very rare; $450.00 (€382.50)
 


Anglo-Gallic, Edward III, 1327 - 1377

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Edward III transformed the Kingdom of England into one of the most efficient military powers in Europe. His reign saw vital developments in the evolution of the English parliament, the ravages of the Black Death and the beginning of the Hundred Years' War. He remained on the throne for 50 years.

The outer obverse legend abbreviates, "BENEDICTUM SIT NOMEN DOMINI NOSTRI DEI IHESU CHRISTI," which means, "Blessed be the name of the Lord our God, Jesus Christ."
ME85375. Silver Gros Tournois a la Porte, SCBC 8063, Elias 63, Duplessy Féodales 1067, Elias Collection 120, Poey d'Avant 2856, Boudeau –, gF, toned, tight flan, weight 2.478 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 270o, 1351 - 1356; obverse ED'· REX : A*nGLIE / + BnDICTV · SIT · nOmE : DnI : nRI : DEI : IhV · XPI (annulet and double annulet stops, secret mark: asterisk between A and n), short cross pattée; reverse + DVX : AQITA*nIE (double annulet stops, secret mark: asterisk between A and n), châtel aquitanique, gateway below; all within tressure of arches containing twelve leaves; rare; $265.00 (€225.25)
 


France, Philip IV, 1285 - 1314 A.D.

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King Philip IV, deeply in debt to the Knights Templar, took advantage of rumors about the Order's secret initiation ceremony. On Friday, October 13, 1307, he had the Order's members in France arrested (the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition). Pope Clement, under threat from Philip, instructed all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest all Templars and seize their assets. Many Templars were tortured into giving false confessions and burned at the stake. Grand Master Jacques de Molay, burned alive in Paris in 1314, called out from the flames, "Dieu sait qui a tort et a pëché. Il va bientot arriver malheur à ceux qui nous ont condamnés à mort" ("God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death"). Pope Clement died only a month later, and King Philip died in a hunting accident before the end of the year.
ME86328. Silver Gros Tournois, Duplessy 217, Ciani 200, Roberts 2465, Lafaurie I 219, gVF, toned, weight 4.032 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 90o, c. 1298(?); obverse outer legend: + BNDICTV: SIT: NOmE: DNI: nRI: DEI: IhV: XPI (the name of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed), triple pellet stops, inner legend: + PHILIPPVS' REX (King Philip), lis stop; cross pattée; reverse TVRONVS' CIVIS (City of Tours), annulet on T, lis stop, Châtel tournois topped with a lis, border of twelve lis within arches; ex Gordon Andreas Singer; $250.00 (€212.50)
 


France, Strasbourg, Louis XIV, 1684

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The Free City of Strasbourg remained neutral during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and retained its status as a Free Imperial City. However, the city was later annexed by Louis XIV of France to extend the borders of his kingdom. Louis' advisors believed that, as long as Strasbourg remained independent, it would endanger the King's newly annexed territories in Alsace, and, that to defend these large rural lands effectively, a garrison had to be placed in towns such as Strasbourg. Indeed, the bridge over the Rhine at Strasbourg had been used repeatedly by Imperial (Holy Roman Empire) forces, and three times during the Franco-Dutch War Strasbourg had served as a gateway for Imperial invasions into Alsace. In September 1681 Louis' forces, though lacking a clear casus belli, surrounded the city with overwhelming force. After some negotiation, Louis marched into the city unopposed on 30 September 1681 and proclaimed its annexation.
SH84610. Silver Sol, Ciani 2054, Gadoury 87, Duplessy 1599, Krause KM 245, VF, toned, light deposits, weight 0.936 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 180o, Strasbourg mint, 1684; obverse MON• NOV• ARGENTINENSIS (new currency of Strasbourg), fleur-de-lis; reverse *GLORIA• IN• EXCELSIS• DEO• (glory to God in heaven), •I• / •SOL• / 1684 in three lines; ex Gordon Andreas Singer; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


France, Philip V, 20 November 1316 - 3 January 1322

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Philip engineered a hasty coronation after the death of his infant nephew, the young John I. Philip took steps to reform the French currency during the course of his reign, including issue of the silver Tournois coins. He pursued a successful diplomatic and dynastic solution to the long running tensions with Flanders. Pope John XXII, initially a close ally of Philip in the late crusading movement in Christian Europe, joined with him in condemning the violent Shepherds' Crusade in 1320. Philip V died from dysentery in 1322 without a male heir and was succeeded by his younger brother Charles IV.
ME86327. Silver Gros Tournois, Duplessy 238, Ciani 244, Roberts 2471, Lafaurie I 242, gVF, toned, light marks, weight 4.030 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 270o, 1 Mar 1318 - 3 Jan 1322; obverse outer legend: + BNDICTV: SIT: NOmE: DNI: nRI: DEI: IhV: XPI (the name of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed), triple pellet stops, inner legend: + PHILIPPVS' REX (King Philip), wedge stop; cross pattée; reverse + TVRONVS' CIVIS (City of Tours), wedge stop, Châtel Tournois topped with a cross, outer border of twelve lis within arches; ex Gordon Andreas Singer; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


France, Louis XV the Beloved, 1715 – 1774

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France took 20 Sols de Navarre coins minted in 1719 and 1720, re-struck them as Sixth Ecu de France (between the years of 1720 and 1723) essentially creating a coin worth 1 livre. These re-struck coins, however, were eventually assigned the value of 18 Sols.
WO86324. Silver 1/6 Ecu, Duplessy 1668, Ciani 2110, Lafaurie 670, Krause KM 454.21, aVF, toned, overstruck on 20 Sols de Navarre (as typical for the type), weight 3.962 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, Amiens mint, 1720; obverse LVD•XV•D•G•FR•ET•NAV•REX (Louis XV, by the Grace of God, king of France and Navarre), young portrait right, laureate, armored and draped, clover leaf (privy mark) below; reverse ♥SIT•NOMEN•DOMIN•BENEDICTVM•1720• (May the name of the Lord be blessed), crowned arms of France (shield with three lis); ex Gordon Andreas Singer; $125.00 (€106.25)
 







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REFERENCES

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Ciani, L. Les Monnaies Royales Francaises, Hugues Capet A Louis XVI. (Paris, 1926).
Crepin, G. Doubles et deniers Tournois de cuivre royaux et féodaux (1577-1684). (Paris, 2002).
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Depeyrot, G. Le numéraire Mérovingien l'age du denier. Moneta 22. (Wetteren, 2001).
Droulers, F. Répertoire général des monnaies de Louis XIII à Louis XVI (1610 - 1792). (Paris, 2012).
Dumas, F. "Les Monnaies normandes (Xe-XIIe siècles) avec un répertoire des trouvailles" in RN 1979, pp. 84-140, pl. XV - XXI.
Duplessy, J. Les monnaies françaises féodales. (Paris, 2004-2010).
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Grierson, P. & M. Blackburn. Medieval European Coinage, Vol. 1: The Early Middle Ages (5th - 10th Centuries). (Cambridge, 2007).
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Lafaurie, Jean. Les Monnaies de Rois de France. (Paris, 1951-1956).
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Poey-d'Avant, F. Monnaies Féodales de France. (1858).
Roberts, J. The Silver Coins of Medieval France (476-1610 AD). (South Salem, NY, 1996).
Sambon, A. "Les deniers rouennais, monnaie courante du comté d'Aversa près de Naples aux xie et xne siècle" in Gazette numismatique française, 1898.
Spink. The Important Collection of Anglo-Gallic and related French and English Coins - Formed by the late Edward Elias, auction, 21 Jun 1990, London.
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Catalog current as of Tuesday, December 12, 2017.
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