France 1740-BB sol

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CNG Lissner sale, lot 277
Stack's Bowers November 2015 sale, lot 39148
France SB1115-39148r.jpg
from the Mountain Groan Collection
France 1740BB sol rev DSLR.jpg

This coin, called a sol aux 2 L couronnés, was an attempt by the government of France to displace all the low grade silver pieces circulating since the time of Louis XIII. It was theoretically equal to 12 deniers but was actually worth much less. Most survivors today are in poor condition. The type was struck 1739-48 with nearly all the production occurring on 1740. Droulers[1] estimates the total production of this type to be around 2.3 million, compared to 81 million for the double sol. This specimen was lot 277 in Classical Numismatic Group's sale of the Lissner Collection (Chicago, August 2014), where it sold for $2,057. The catalog description[2] noted, "FRANCE, Royal. Louis XV le Bien-Aimé (the Well-Beloved). 1715–1774. BI Sol. Strasbourg mint; différents: heart/rowel. Pierre l’Écrivain, engraver. Jean Louis Béyerlé, director. Dated 1740 BB. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 65. Choice uncirculated with the color of pewter. This type circulated both in France and abroad." The second specimen was lot 39148 in Stack's Bowers Winter sale (Baltimore, November 2015), where it sold for $616.88. The catalog description[3] noted, "FRENCH COLONIES. Sol, 1740-BB. Strasbourg Mint. Louis XV (1715-74). NGC MS-63. Wrong denomination on the NGC label. Struck primarily for circulation in what is today the Dominican Republic, but which circulated both at home and abroad. Nearly full mint brilliance on the obverse and a lightly toned reverse. Given the billon flan it was struck on, the state of preservation is simply astonishing. No corrosion, deposits, or other problems one would expect, completely original with well struck detail throughout."

Recorded mintage: 83,904[1].

Specification: 1.09 g, .250 fine silver, 17-19 mm diameter, plain edge, designed by J.-C. Roéttiers. The first specimen 17 mm diameter, 0.93 g, 6h axis.

Catalog reference: Duplessy 1691; Ciani 2140; KM 500.4, Dr/2 no. 597, Dr/4 no. 861.


  • [1]Droulers, Frédéric, Répertoire General des Monnaies de Louis XIII à Louis XVI (1610-1792), 4e édition. Paris: AFPN, 2009.
  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
  • Gadoury, Victor, Monnaies Royales Françaises, 1610-1792, 4me éd., Monaco: Éditions Victor Gadoury, 2012.
  • [2]Teller, M. Louis, and Victor England, Jr., The Richard Lissner Collection, Lancaster, PA: Classical Numismatic Group, 2014.
  • [3]Ponterio, Richard, and Todd McKenna, The November 2015 Baltimore Auction, World Coins and Paper Money, featuring the Ray Czabor Collection and selections from the Strong Museum, Santa Ana, CA: Stack's Bowers LLC, 2015.

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