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Coins of France

During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 B.C., holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into East Francia, Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia, which became the Kingdom of France in 987, emerged as a major European power in the Middle Ages under King Philip Augustus. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world. The 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots). France became Europe's dominant cultural, political, and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, establishing one of modern history's earliest republics and drafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire. His subsequent Napoleonic Wars (1803?15) shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, and was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War. The Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s, with most retaining close economic and military connections with France.

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

|France|, |Anglo-Gallic,| |Henry| |VI| |de| |Lancastre,| |King| |of| |France| |and| |England,| |1422| |-| |1453||grand| |blanc| |aux| |écus|
In 1422, the year old king of England inherited the French throne from 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.
ME96059. Silver grand blanc aux écus, Elias 290a (RR), Duplessy 445, Ciani 602, Lafaurie 449, SCBC-SII 8166; rose mint mark (type II), F, dark patina, weight 2.709 g, maximum diameter 28.5 mm, die axis 180o, Troyes mint, 23 Nov 1422 - 1429; obverse (rose mm) FRANCORVm: ET: ANGLIE: REX (King of France and England), shields of France (on left) and England (on right), side by side, hERICVS above; reverse (rose mm) SIT: nOmEN: DnI: BENEDICTV (Blessed be the name of the Lord), Latin cross, fleur-de-lis to left, leopard left on right, hERICVS on a line below; ex Gordon Andreas Singer (17 Aug 1990), ex Peter Woodhead; very rare; $320.00 (€262.40)
 


France, John II the Good, 1350 - 1364 A.D.

|France|, |France,| |John| |II| |the| |Good,| |1350| |-| |1364| |A.D.||Gros| |à| |la| |couronne|
When John II the Good (French: Jean le Bon) came to power, France faced many disasters: the Black Death killed nearly half its population, there were popular revolts, unemployed mercenaries plundered the country, and losses to the English, including the Battle of Poitiers of 1356, in which John was captured. While John was a prisoner in London, his son Charles had to suppress several rebellions. To liberate his father, in 1360 Charles concluded the Treaty of Brétigny, by which France surrendered territory and promised to pay an enormous ransom. In an exchange of hostages, including his son Louis, John was released from captivity to raise funds for his ransom. Upon his return in France, he created the franc to stabilize the currency. John tried to get rid of the mercenaries by sending them on a crusade, but Pope Innocent VI died shortly before their planned meeting in Avignon. After his son Louis escaped from captivity, John shocked and dismayed his people by announcing that for "good faith and honor" he would voluntarily return to captivity in England. John was greeted in London in 1364 with parades and feasts, however, a few months after his arrival he fell ill with an unknown malady and died. His body was returned to France, where he was interred in the royal chambers at Saint Denis Basilica. He was succeeded by his son Charles V.
ME95905. Silver Gros à la couronne, Duplessy 305, Ciani 397, Roberts 2624, Lafaurie I 308, F, toning, weight 3.705 g, maximum diameter 31.3 mm, die axis 300o, 22 Aug - 30 Oct 1358; obverse outer legend: + BNDICTV: SIT: nOmE: DnI: nRI: DEI: IhV: XPI (the name of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed), inner legend: + IOhAnnES DEI : GRA (John by the Grace of God, two flowers legend break); cross fleury, base dividing inner legend; reverse crown, FRANCO / RV : REX in two lines below crown (three pellet within annulet inscription break), border of twelve lis within annulets; ex Gordon Andreas Singer; $270.00 (€221.40)
 


France, Louis XV the Beloved, 1715 - 1774

|France|, |France,| |Louis| |XV| |the| |Beloved,| |1715| |-| |1774||Ecu|
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.
WO93952. Silver Ecu, SCWC KM 512.12, Duplessy 1680, Ciani 2122, Lafaurie 698, VF, nicely toned, weight 28.866 g, maximum diameter 41.5 mm, die axis 180o, Bayonne mint, 1771; obverse LVD•XV•D•G•FR•ET•NAV•REX (Louis XV, by the Grace of God, king of France and Navarre), young portrait left, laureate, two flowers (privy mark) below; reverse •SIT•NOMEN•DOMIN•BENEDICTVM*1771• (May the name of the Lord be blessed), crowned arms of France, crowned oval shield with three lis, surrounded by oak wreath; $360.00 (€295.20)
 










REFERENCES|

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Dumas, F. "Les Monnaies normandes (Xe-XIIe siècles) avec un répertoire des trouvailles" in RN 1979, pp. 84-140, pl. XV - XXI.
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Duplessy, J. Les monnaies françaises royales de Hugues Capet à Louis XVI (987-1793). (Paris, 1988).
Elias, E. The Anglo-Gallic Coins. (Paris/London, 1984).
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Roberts, J. The Silver Coins of Medieval France (476-1610 AD). (South Salem, NY, 1996).
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Sombart, S. Catalogue des monnaies royales françaises de François Ier à Henri IV. (Paris, 1997).
Spink. The Important Collection of Anglo-Gallic and related French and English Coins - Formed by the late Edward Elias, auction, 21 Jun 1990, London.
van Hengel, C. "A Classification for the Gros Tournois" in Mayhew, N., ed. The Gros Tournois. (Oxford, 1997).
Woodhead, P. The Herbert Schneider Collection, Volume Three, Anglo-Gallic, Flemish and Brabantine Gold Coins, 1330 - 1794. (London, 2011).

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