France 1768-L ecu

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Jean Elsen sale 112, lot 1245
France 1768L ecu rev JElsen 112-1245.jpg
Heritage sale 3010, part of lot 22532
France 1768L ecu rev Heritage 3010-22532.jpg
The first specimen was lot 1245 in Jean Elsen sale 112 (Brussels, March 2012) where it did not sell. The catalog description[1] noted,
"FRANCE ROYALE, Louis XV (1715-1774), AR écu au bandeau, 1768 L, Bayonne. Droit : Tête à gauche, ceinte d'un bandeau. Revers : Ecu de France couronné, entre deux rameaux d'olivier. Nettoyé. Fines traces d'ajustage. Très Beau à Superbe . (Kingdom of France, Louis XV, silver écu with headband of 1768, Bayonne mint. Obverse: head to left, hair tied in a ribbon; reverse: crowned arms of France between two olive branches. Cleaned, adjustment marks, very Fine to extremely fine.)"
The second specimen was part of lot 22532 in Heritage sale 3010 (Boston, August 2010), which sold for $747.50. The catalog description[3] noted, "A Quartet of Ecus, Four Ecus of three different kings, they are as follows: 1709B, 1768L, 1785 cow mintmark, 1789L. Average grade is XF. A most desirable grouping."

Après nous, le déluge.—Louis XV (1710-1774).

According to legend, Louis is alleged to have quipped, “After us, the flood,” predicting the collapse of the regime after his death. He was more likely expressing despair at his many defeats at the hands of Frederick the Great. The long reign of Louis XV (1715-74) saw many coin types come and go. The first part of the reign, while Louis was a child, was a period of monetary confusion and manipulation. The reforms of Cardinal Fleury (1726) stabilized the fiscal situation until the total collapse at the eve of the Revolution. Numismatically, this period can be divided into three epochs, marked by the écu aux branches d’olivier (1726-40), the écu au bandeau (1740-72) and the écu à la vielle tête (1770-74). This specimen belongs to the middle period.

Recorded mintage: unkinown.


  • Obverse: LUD.XV.D.G.FR ET NAV. REX. (for Pau, NA.RE. BD), king’s head left, hair tied with a ribbon;
  • reverse: SIT NOMEN DOMINI BENEDICTUM (date), oval shield of France, crowned, between two olive branches tied with ribbon, mintmark below; edge lettered DOMINE SALVUM FAC REGEM.
  • composition: silver, 11 deniers (.917 fine), 8.3 pieces to the mark (29.488 g), face value 6 livres, 39 mm diameter, this specimen 29,26 g. Engraved by Joseph-Charles Roéttiers.

Catalog reference: Dav-1331, Dupl-1680; Ci-2122; Gad-322; Dr/4 no. 820, Dr/2 no. 584, KM 523.


  • 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.
  • [2]Clairand, Armand, Monnaies de Louis XV, Le temps de la Stabilité Monetaire, 1726-1774, Paris: Maison Platt, 1996.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • [1]Elsen, Philippe, Vente Publique 112, Brussels: Jean Elsen et ses fils, S.A., 2012.
  • [3]Tucker, Warren, Scott Cordry and John Kraljevich, Heritage Sale 3010: World Coins, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2010.

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