France 1789-L ecu

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Heritage sale 3010, lot 22532
France 1789L ecu rev Heritage 3010-22532.jpg
from the Mountain Groan Collection
France 1789L ecu rev DSLR.jpg

This specimen is an écu au buste habillé struck at the Bayonne mint, one of a type struck for France 1775-91. Its divisions were the ½, 1/5, 1/10 and 1/20 écu, struck in modest quantities. The écu was worth $1.10 in the USA before the Civil War. The écu au buste habillé is the most popular coin of Louis XVI among collectors. The 1789-L is listed[1] as fairly common. The first specimen was part of lot 22532 in Heritage sale 3010 (Boston, August 2010), which sold for $747.50. The catalog description[2] 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."

Specifications for the Écu au bandeau:

  • Obverse: LUD.XVI.D.G.FR ET NAV. REX. (for Pau, NA.RE. BD), king’s uniformed bust 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. Engraved by Benjamin Duvivier.

Recorded mintage: est. 1,700,000[1], 1,211,000[3].

Catalog reference: Dr/4 no. 883, Dr/2 no. 616, Dav-1333, KM 564.9, Dupl-1708; Ci-2187; Gad-356.


  • [1]Droulers, Frédéric, Répertoire General des Monnaies de Louis XIII à Louis XVI (1610-1792), 2nd édition. Paris: AFPN, 1998.
  • Duplessy, Jean, Les Monnaies Françaises Royales de Hugues Capet à Louis XVI (987-1793), Tome II, 2e édition, Paris: Maison Platt, 1999.
  • Gadoury, Victor, Monnaies Royales Françaises, 1610-1792, 4me éd., Monaco: Éditions Victor Gadoury, 2012.
  • [2]Tucker, Warren, Scott Cordry and John Kraljevich, Heritage Sale 3010: World Coins, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2010.
  • [3]Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.

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