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

Coins of France

France, Charles V the Wise, 1364 - 1380

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As a young prince, Charles V the Wise received the province of Dauphiné to rule; thereafter, all heirs apparent of France bore the title of Dauphin until coronation. Charles became regent of France when his father John II was captured by the English at the Battle of Poitiers. The nobility rebelled after he raised taxes to pay the ransom. Charles overcame the rebellions, but to liberate his father, he had to conclude the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360, in which he abandoned large portions of south-western France to England and promised a huge ransom. After Charles became king, his skillful management allowed him to replenish the treasury and restore the prestige of the House of Valois. He established the first permanent army paid with regular wages, which liberated the French populace from the companies of routiers who plundered the country when not employed. The French Army turned the tide of the Hundred Years' War, reconquering almost all the territories ceded to the English in 1360. He was succeeded by his son Charles VI the Mad, whose disastrous reign allowed the English to regain control of large parts of France.

On April 20, 1365, it was decreed in the name of the king Charles V the manufacture of the new gold francs known as francs à pied (franc on foot) with the value of twenty sols tournois (one livre tournois). This coin, lighter than the franc à cheval (franc on horseback), weighed 3.824 grams and was struck to the standard of 64 pieces to the gold mark.
SH84617. Gold franc à pied, Duplessy 360, Ciani 457, Lafaurie 371, Friedberg 284, aEF, excellent centering, die wear, bumps and scratches, weight 3.823 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 270o, no date, after 20 April 1365; obverse + KAROLVS x DI x GR - FRAnCORV x REX (Charles, by the grace of God, king of the Franks), crowned king standing facing under Gothic dais, wearing a coat of arms fleur-de-lis over coat of mail, sword in right hand, hand of justice scepter in left hand, pattern of small fleurs-de-lis in fields; reverse + XPC * VInCIT * XPC * REGnAT * XPC * IMPERAT (Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands), cross fleurée quatrilobe at center, fleur-de-lis in 1st and 4th quarters, crown in 2nd and 3rd quarters, all within quadrilobe, fleurs-de-lis in spandrels; $1400.00 (€1246.00)
 


France, Louis XVI, 10 May 1774 - 4 September 1791 A.D.

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Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France and Navarre before the French Revolution; during which he was also known as Louis Capet. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, Dauphin of France, son and heir apparent of Louis XV of France, Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he became King of France and Navarre, which he remained until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of King of the French until his suspension on 10 August 1792. Louis XVI was guillotined on 21 January 1793.

The Louis d'or (20 francs) under Louis XVI was minted between 1785 and 1792 and had a dimension of 23 mm, and a weight of 7.6490 g, a fineness of 0.917, and gold content of 0.2255 troy oz.
SH84615. Gold louis d'or, Duplessy 1707, Ciani 2183, Gadoury 361, Krause KM 591.5, Friedberg 475, Choice EF, mint luster, light marks, weight 7.663 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 180o, Lyon mint, 1786, 1st issue; obverse LUD. XVI. D. G. FR. - ET NAV. REX (LVDOVICVS XIII DEI GRATIA FRANCIAE ET NAVARRAE REX "Louis XIII by the grace of God king of France and of Navarre"), head of Louis XVI left, DUVIV (engraver B. Duvivier) on truncation, bee (sign of the mintmaster Jean-Claude Gabet) below; reverse CHRS. REGN. VINC. IMPER 1786 (CHRISTVS REGNAT VINCIT IMPERAT "Christ reigns, conquers and commands"), crowned arms of France and Navarre, D (Lyon mintmark) below, eagle head left (symbol of engraver Jean Humbert Bernavon) before date; $1000.00 (€890.00)
 


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; $750.00 (€667.50)
 


Anglo-Gallic, Edward the Black Prince, Prince of Aquitaine, 1362 - 1372

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Edward of Woodstock (15 June 1330 - 8 June 1376), called the Black Prince, was the eldest son of King Edward III and Philippa of Hainault, and the father of King Richard II of England. He was the first Duke of Cornwall (from 1337), the Prince of Wales (from 1343) and the Prince of Aquitaine (1362-72). He was an exceptional military leader, and his victories over the French at the Battles of Crécy and Poitiers made him very popular in England during his lifetime. Edward died one year before his father, becoming the first English Prince of Wales not to become King of England. The throne passed instead to his son Richard II, a minor, upon the death of Edward III.
SH84611. Silver esterlin (sterling), Elias 194c, SCBC 8133, Duplessy Féodales 1125A, Boudeau 511, Poey d'Avant –, VF, toned, usual tight flan, clashed obverse die, slightly off center, weight 0.996 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, Poitiers mint, second issue; obverse + : ED' PO·GIT·REG·AnGL P (Edwardus Primo Genetis Regis Anglie Princeps, double annulet before legend, rosette stops), half-length figure of Edward right, wearing floral wreath. sword in right hand over right shoulder, raising left hand in benediction; reverse : PRI-CPS - AQV-TAE (Prince of Aquitaine, double annulet before legend), long cross pattée, trefoil of three pellets in each quarter; scarce; $330.00 (€293.70)
 


France, Louis XIV the Sun King, 1643 - 1715

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This coin is overstruck on an older coin, part of a "reformation" process involving financial manipulations and impacting all French silver and gold coinage from 1690 to 1709. The undertype is a Louis XIV, demi-écu aux huit L, Paris, workshop A, 1690 - 1693, Duplessy 1515; obverse: LVD•XIIII•D•G (sun) FR•ET•NAV•REX, draped and cuirassed bust of Louis XIV right, wearing large wig, obscure date below; reverse: (Mg) CHRS - REGN - VINC - IMP (star), cross formed of four groups of two L's, each arm under a crown cutting the legend, A (Paris mint workshop letter) in a circle at the center, lis in each quarter.
SH84613. Silver demi-écu aux palmes, Duplessy 1521A, Ciani 1895, Gadoury 185, Krause KM 295.1, VF, extraordinarily strong undertype remnants, reverse of undertype on obverse, obverse of undertype on reverse, weight 13.297 g, maximum diameter 34.5 mm, die axis 180o, Paris mint, 1694 (A, reformation); obverse LVD•XIIII•D•G (sun) FR•ET•NAV•REX (Louis XIV, by the grace of God, King of France and Navarre), cuirassed bust right, wearing large wig, cuirass ornamented with facing head of Medusa on chest; reverse BENEDICTVM (arrow point) 1964 (crescent horns up - indicates reformation) SIT•NOMEN•DOMINI (Blessed be the name of the Lord), crown above three lis in a circle (round arms of France), between two palms tied at the bottom, •A• (Paris mint workshop letter) below; edge inscribed: (lis) (sun) (lis) (flower) DOMINE (flower) (lis) (flower) SALVVM (lis) (flower) FAC (flower) (lis) (flower) REGEM; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


Anglo-Gallic, Henry VI de Lancastre, King of France and England, 1422 - 1453

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In 1422, the year old king of England inherited the French throne through his mad grandfather Charles VI of France; the iconography of this type represents the unification of the two nations. Ten years later Joan of Arc would make an appearance which would eventually loosen the English grip on France until by 1436 only Normandy and part of Maine remained in Henry's control.
SH84618. Silver grand blanc aux écus, Elias 288, Ciani 602, Duplessy 445, Lafaurie 449, gVF, edge split or chip, light marks, weight 3.088 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 270o, St Lô (lis mintmark) mint, 23 Nov 1422 - 1449; obverse (lis) FRANCORVm: ET: ANGLIE: REX (King of France and England), shields of England and France, hERICVS above; reverse (lis) SIT: nOmEN: DnI: BENEDICV (Blessed be the name of the Lord), cross dividing, fleur-de-lis to left, leopard left on right, hERICVS below; rare; $250.00 (€222.50)
 


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; $220.00 (€195.80)
 


France, Louis XIV the Sun King, 1643 - 1715

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Under Louis XIV, the Sun King, France reached the apogee of its power. His reign began at age four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days; one of the longest of any European monarch. He fought three major wars: the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish Succession. Louis converted a hunting lodge into the spectacular Palace of Versailles, and by compelling the noble elite to inhabit his lavish palace, he pacified the aristocracy and eliminated the remnants of feudalism. He consolidated a system of absolute monarchical rule in France that endured until the French Revolution.
SH84612. Silver 4 sols 2 deniers (1/5 écu), Krause KM 281.4, Ciani 1959, Duplessy 1519, Gadoury 106, VF, well centered, toned, small areas of weak strike, scratches, light corrosion, weight 1.523 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Lyon mint, 1691; obverse LVL XIIII D G * 1691 FRA ET NAV REX (Louis XIV, by the grace of God, King of France and Navarre), bust of Louis XIV right, draped, wearing large wig; reverse DOMINE SALVVM FAC REGEM (May God protect our king), two L's confronted and intertwined, three lis across field, crown above ornamented with lis, D (Lyon mintmark) below; ex Gordon Andreas Singer; $80.00 (€71.20) ON RESERVE







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REFERENCES

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Ciani, L. Les Monnaies Royales Francaises, Hugues Capet A Louis XVI. (Paris, 1926).
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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).
Duplessy, J. Les monnaies françaises royales de Hugues Capet à Louis XVI (987-1793). (Paris, 1988).
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Friedberg, A. & I. Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present. (Clifton, NJ, 2009).
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Krause, C. & C. Mishler. Standard Catalog of World Coins. (Iola, WI, 2010 - ).
Lafaurie, J. Les Monnaies de Rois de France, Francois I - Henry IV. (Paris, 1956).
Legros, D. Monnaies Féodales Françaises. (1984).
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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.
Woodhead, P. The Herbert Schneider Collection, Volume Three, Anglo-Gallic, Flemish and Brabantine Gold Coins, 1330 - 1794. (London, 2011).

Catalog current as of Sunday, April 30, 2017.
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