France 1650-H 1/2 ecu

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Jean Elsen sale 137, lot 996
This specimen was lot 996 in Jean Elsen sale 137 (Brussels, June 2018), where it sold for €160 (about US$223 including buyer's fees). The catalog description[2] noted,
"FRANCE, Royaume, Louis XIV (1643-1715), AR demi-écu à la mèche longue, 1650H, La Rochelle. D/ B. enfantin, l., dr. et cuir. à d. Variante en fin de légende: NA· REX. R/ Ecu de France couronné. Nettoyé. Très Beau à Superbe. (kingdom of France, Louis XIV, 1643-1715, silver half écu of the long lock of 1650, La Rochelle mint. Obverse: laureate, draped and armored infant bust right, "NA· REX" at end of legend; reverse: crowned arms of France. Cleaned, Very fine to extremely fine.)"
Shown is a half écu a la mèche longue from early in the reign of Louis XIV. It was struck at the La Rochelle mint (mintmark "H"). The type was struck in large quantities 1646-60 and varies from the earlier half écu a la mèche courte by the length of the lock of hair over the king's ear. Its face value at the time of issue was 30 sols tournois. The reported mintage would suggest that this is a rare date but for the discovery and dispersal of a hoard in the 1960's[1].

Recorded mintage: 14,445[1].

Specification: 13.72 g, .917 fine silver, 31-32 mm diameter, plain edge, designed by Jean Warin or Nicholas Briot, this specimen 13,38 g. Edge lettering would be introduced to the half écu in 1686.

Catalog reference: Dupl-1470; Gad-169; Dr/4 no. 527, Dr/2 no. 301.


  • [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.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
  • [2]Elsen, Philippe, et al., Vente Publique 137, Brussels: Jean Elsen et ses Fils, S.A., 2018.

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