France 1659-A 1/12 ecu

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Jean Elsen sale 121, lot 1156
France 1659A 1-12 ecu rev JElsen 121-1156.jpg
from the Mountain Groan Collection
France 1659A 1-12 ecu rev DSLR.jpg
The first specimen was lot 1156 in Jean Elsen sale 121 (Brussels, June 2014), where it sold for €75 (about US$120 including buyers' fees). The catalog description[1] noted,
"FRANCE, Royaume, Louis XIV (1643-1715), AR douzième d'écu au buste juvénile, 1659 A, Paris. Différent: étoile. Droit: B. l. et drapé à droite. Revers: Ecu de France couronné. Légères traces d'ajustage. Superbe. (kingdom of France, Louis XIV (1643-1715), twelfth écu of the juvenile bust of 1659, Paris mint; star privy mark. Obverse: laureate, draped bust to right; reverse: crowned arms of France. Light adjustment marks, extremely fine.)"
Shown is a twelfth d'écu buste adolescent struck 1659-64 during the minority of Louis XIV of France (r. 1643-1715). This issue is from the Paris mint. By some fluke of fashion, this coin became very popular in the Levantine trade and large numbers were minted and exported. It was imitated in Orange, Monaco, Dombes and Italy (where it was called the "luigino") until the market was saturated and the price dropped back to its face value of five sols.

Recorded mintage: 1,167,828 (common) including the buste adolescent.

Specification: 2.28 g, .917 fine silver, 19-20 mm diameter, designed by Jean Warin, the first specimen 2,29 g.

Catalog reference: Dr/4 no. 729-B, Dr/2 no. 313, Dupl-1486; Ci-1865; Gad-115.


  • [1]Droulers, Frédéric, Répertoire General des Monnaies de Louis XIII à Louis XVI (1610-1792), 4e édition. Paris: AFPN, 2009.
  • Duplessy, Jean, Les Monnaies Françaises Royales de Hugues Capet à Louis XVI (987-1793), Tome II, 2e édition, Paris: Maison Platt, 1999.
  • Gadoury, Victor, Monnaies Royales Françaises, 1610-1792, 4me éd., Monaco: Éditions Victor Gadoury, 2012.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.

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