France (1512)-Lyon demi-gros

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Jean Elsen sale 124, lot 902
France J124-902r.jpg
This specimen was lot 902 in Jean Elsen sale 124 (Brussels, March 2015), where it sold for €120 (about US$150 including buyer's fees). The catalog description[1] noted,
"FRANCE, Royaume, Louis XII (1498-1515), AR demi-gros de roi, février 1512, point 12e, Lyon. Droit: Ecu de France couronné, entre deux lis couronnés. Revers: Croix échancrée cantonnée de deux L onciales et deux lis, chacun sur un annelet. Rare. Petit éclat sur la tranche. Presque Très Beau. (kingdom of France, Louis XII (1498-1515), silver demi-gros de Roi, of February 1512, Lyon mint. Obverse: crowned arms of France between two crowned lilies; reverse: cross with two script "L's" and two lilies in the quadrants, each with an annulet. Rare, small clip on the edge, almost very fine.)
This coin represents the transition from medieval coinage to that of the Renaissance, with adopted royal portraits and large modules. Prior to the reform of 1540, mints were indicated by the location the pellet on the obverse beaded circle. This one, in twelfth position, denotes Lyon, which would use the "D" mintmark after 1540. We have classed it as a silver minor even tho it is only .358 fine, which is billon. It had a face value of 15 deniers tournois. Louis XII spent most of his reign and his treasure on his Italian adventures, wherein he tried and failed to conquer Milan and Naples.

Reported Mintage: unknown.

Specification: 3.55 g, .358 fine silver, this specimen 3,04 g.

Catalog reference: Duplessy-663; Ciani-927; Laf., 604.


  • Duplessy, Jean, Les Monnaies Françaises Royales de Hugues Capet à Louis XVI (987-1793), Tome I, 2e édition, Paris: Maison Platt, 1999.
  • [1]Elsen, Philippe, et al., Vente Publique 124, Brussels: Jean Elsen et ses Fils S.A., 2015.

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