France 1642-A ecu

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Goldberg sale 32, lot 3280
France 1642A ecu rev Goldberg 32-3280.jpg
Jean Elsen sale 117, lot 1766
France 1642A ecu rev JElsen 117-1766.jpg

This type is the first silver écu, part of the coinage reform which attempted to replace hammered coinage with milled coinage. Its face value was 60 sols tournois. The écu of Louis XIII were struck 1641-43 in fairly large quantities in an attempt to displace the miscellaneous écus d'or of earlier in the reign and that of Henri IV. The écu would be struck until the end of the ancien régime in 1792. The rose found next to the date on the reverse indicated that it was struck at "Matignon," a workshop in Paris outside the main mint in the Louvre, then still a palace and not a museum.

The first specimen was lot 3280 in Goldberg sale 32 (Beverly Hills, September 2005), where it sold for $10,350. The catalog description[1] noted, "France. 60 Sols, 1642-A (Paris). Louis XIII. Bust with bare neck right. Reverse: Crowned arms. Well struck, toned and very rare in grade. NGC graded MS-62." The second specimen was lot 1766 in Jean Elsen sale 117 (Brussels, June 2013), where it sold for €3,200 (about US$5,046 including buyer's fees). The catalog description[2] noted,
"FRANCE, Royaume, Louis XIII (1610-1643), AR écu de 60 sols, 1642 A, Paris. Deuxième poinçon. Point initial (Monnaie du Louvre). Droit: B. l., drapé et cuirassé à droite. Revers: Ecu de France couronné. Rare. Fines traces d'ajustage au revers. Belle patine colorée. presque Superbe. (kingdom of France, Louis XIII (1610-43), silver ecu of sixty sols, Paris mint, second punch. Obverse: laureate, draped and armored bust to right; reverse: crowned arms of France. Rare, slight traces of adjustment marks on reverse. Nice patina, about extremely fine.)"
Note that the first specimen sports a rose privy mark next to the date whereas the second only has a dot; this doubles the price.

Recorded mintage: 163,820.

Specification: 27.45 g, .917 fine silver, plain edge, designed by Jean Warin, the second specimen is 27.38 g.

Catalog reference: Dr/4 no. 119A, Dr/2 no. 100A, Dav-3796; KM 120.1. Dupl-1349; Ci-1664; Gad-52.

Source:

  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
  • Droulers, Frédéric, Répertoire General des Monnaies de Louis XIII à Louis XVI (1610-1792), 4e édition. Paris: AFPN, 2009.
  • [1]Goldberg, Ira, and Larry Goldberg, Goldberg Sale 32: the pre-Long Beach sale, Beverly Hills, CA: Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers, 2005.
  • [2]Elsen, Philippe, Vente Publique 117: Collection Jean-Jacques Symoens, Brussels: Jean Elsen et ses fils, S.A., 2013.

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