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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Geography ▸ FranceView Options:  |  |  |   

France (Mints and Types)

This theme includes Celtic, Greek, Roman and later coins struck at mints in France and coins related to historical events which took place in France. Coins struck at mints in France during the Constantinian Era and Late Roman Period are very popular with collectors because they are often the most interesting and attractive coins of the period.


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.
WO86329. 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)
 


Severus II, 25 July 306 - Summer 307 A.D.

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"This reverse is modeled after the famous statue of the Spirit of the Roman People in the Roman Forum. It is unclear when this statue was last seen as it is now lost. Although the coins celebrate a wide range of spirits (e.g., Rome, Augustus, the Army, etc.), the basic design comes from the same statue...The act of pouring the libation to the emperor illustrates what the Christians were required to do in order not to be persecuted." -- Roman Bronze Coins From Paganism to Christianity 294-364 A.D. by Victor Failmezger
RT85634. Billon follis, RIC VI Lugdunum 199a, Bastien XI 377, SRCV IV 14632, Cohen VII 43, Choice gVF, well centered and struck, some silvering, encrustations, flan crack, weight 10.066 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, as caesar, 1 May 305 - 25 Jul 306 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS NOB C, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, kalathos on head, naked but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, pouring libations from patera in right hand over altar at feet on left, cornucopia in left hand, star right, PLC in exergue; scarce; $400.00 (€340.00)
 


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; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D.

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In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc. The legend GENIO POPVLI ROMANI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Roman People. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other.
RT85635. Billon follis, RIC VI Lugdunum 85 (S), Bastien XI 148, SRCV IV -, VF, well centered, spots of corrosion, porous, tiny edge cracks, weight 8.364 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 300 - 302 A.D.; obverse IMP C MAXIMIANVS AVG, laureate bust left, lion skin over shoulders, club in right hand over right shoulder; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius of the Roman people standing half left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand on to flaming altar before him, cornucopia in left hand, A right, PLG in exergue; rare; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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Lyon was originally founded as the Roman city Colonia Copia Felix Munatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum by the end of the 1st century A.D. The etymology of Lugdunum is a Latinization of the Gaulish place name Lugodunon. While dunon means hill fort, the source of Lug is uncertain. The most commonly offered meaning is the Celtic god named Lug. During the Middle Ages, Lugdunum was transformed to Lyon by natural sound change.
RL86374. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Lyons 225 (S), LRBC I 169, Bastien 184, SRCV IV 16242, Cohen VII 454, Hunter V -, Choice EF, excellent centering and strike, traces of silvering, attractive surfaces, small closed edge crack, weight 3.283 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 324 - 325 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE AVGG (to the foresight of the two emperors), camp gate with two turrets, six stone layers, star above, PLC in exergue; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Crispus, Caesar, 1 March 317 - 326 A.D.

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On 7 March 321, Constantine issued an edict proclaiming Dies Solis Invicti (Sunday) as the day of rest; trade was forbidden but agriculture was allowed.
RL77188. Billon centenionalis, RIC VII Lyons 133, Hunter V 25, SRCV IV 16734, Bastien XIII 102, Cohen VII 6, Choice EF, dark toning on silvering, weight 3.120 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 321 A.D.; obverse CRISPVS NOB CAES, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse BEATA TRANQVILLITAS (blessed tranquility), altar inscribed VO/TIS / XX in three lines, surmounted by globe, three stars above, C left, R right, PLG crescent in exergue; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Gallic Empire, Postumus, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

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Ptolemy Soter wanted to integrate the Hellenistic and Egyptian religions by finding a deity that could win the reverence of both groups. The Greeks would not accept an animal-headed figure, so a Greek-style anthropomorphic statue was chosen as the idol, and proclaimed as the equivalent of the highly popular Apis. It was named Aser-hapi (i.e. Osiris-Apis), which became Serapis, and was said to be Osiris in full, rather than just his Ka (life force).
RS86380. Billon antoninianus, RSC IV 360a; Schulzki AGK 90; Hunter IV 92; RIC V-2 329; Cunetio 2437 (56 spec.); Elmer 383; SRCV III 10992, gVF, well centered and struck, luster in recesses, light toning, light marks, areas of slightest porosity, edge cracks, weight 2.714 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 267 A.D.; obverse IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SERAPI COMITI AVG (to Serapis companion of the Emperor), Serapis standing left, raising right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Gallic Empire, Postumus, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

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So successful was he in the task of restoring peace and security to the provinces under his direct control that the coins issued by Postumus were of better workmanship and higher precious metal content than coins issued by Gallienus; his control of the Spanish and British mining regions was presumably crucial in this regard, as was his employment of master minters who would have come into Gaul with Gallienus.
xx85803. Billon antoninianus, RSC IV 199a, Cunetio 2413 (968 spec.), RIC V-2 75, Schulzki AGK 45, Mairat 65, Elmer 336, Hunter IV 60, EF, excellent portrait, well centered, some legend weak, porous, edge cracks, weight 3.037 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 263 - 265 A.D.; obverse IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse MONETA AVG, Moneta standing left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $130.00 (€110.50)
 


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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Catalog current as of Friday, January 19, 2018.
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