France 1740-A ecu

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Heritage sale 3004, lot 20892
photo courtesy Heritage Auctions
Goldberg sale 46, lot 547
photo courtesy Ira & Larry Goldberg
from the Mountain Groan Collection
France 1740A ecu rev DSLR.jpg
The first specimen is the first date of a series struck at the Paris mint 1740-70 during the reign of Louis XV of France (r. 1715-74). It was lot 20892 in Heritage sale 3004 (New York, January 2009), where it sold for $2300. The catalog description[1] noted, "Louis XV Ecu 1740A, AU58 NGC, exceptionally sharp details with no adjustment marks, nicely toned with somewhat reflective fields. Listed as a scarcer date in the SCWC." The second specimen was lot 547 in Goldberg sale 46 (Beverly Hills, May 2008), where it sold for $12,250. The catalog description[4] noted,
"France. Proof Ecu d'Argent au Bandeau, 1740-A (Paris). 29.51 grams. Louis XV, 1710-1774. Struck on a specially polished flan. Head of a mature Louis left, his long hair tied with a bandeau. Reverse: Crowned oval arms, within olive wreath. Superb strike, as indicative of a specimen issue. The reflective fields almost glassy in appearance, beneath fine old gray toning, redolent of blue and pale green and russet hues. Carefully preserved as a special issue or Essai, the fields exceptionally clean, the strike truly crisp, high points showing only trivial cabinet friction (consider that a coin such as this has come down to us only because it was preserved in aristocratic cabinets). An exceptional piece, very rare as an Essai, and particularly so in this stunning state of preservation. NGC graded Proof 63. No official proof issues exist from this time. Only an Essai could have been produced with this polished surface. An amazing coin, one of the finest of all French portraits (and a classic reverse as well)."
The type was supplanted in 1770 by the "old head" style.

The sources are not in agreement as to whether this date is common. Alhéritière and Deswelle[2] list the date as common (more than 20 known) while Droulers[3] lists it as quite rare. It is the only date for which proofs are known.

Catalog reference: KM 512.1, Dav-1331, Ciani-2122; Gadoury-322; Duplessy-1680; Droulers-584.


  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
  • Davenport, John S., European Crowns, 1700-1800, 2nd Ed., London: Spink & Son, 1964.
  • Gadoury, Victor, Monnaies Royales Françaises, 1610-1792, 4me éd., Monaco: Éditions Victor Gadoury, 2012.
  • [1]Tucker, Warren and Scott Cordry, Heritage Signature Auction 3004: World Coins, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2009.
  • [2]Alhéritière, Edouard, and Ludovic Deswelle, "Les écus de Louis XV de bandeau: point de situation," Numismatique et Change, No. 349 [Mai 2004], pp. 61-63.
  • Clairand, Armand, Monnaies de Louis XV, Le temps de la Stabilité Monetaire, 1726-1774, Paris: Maison Platt, 1996.
  • [3]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.
  • [4]Goldberg, Ira, and Larry Goldberg, Goldberg Sale 46: the Millenia Collection, Beverly Hills, CA: Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers, 2008.

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