France 1789-R ecu

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Heritage sale 3024, lot 26628
France 1789R ecu rev Heritage 3024-26628.jpg

This specimen is an écu au buste habillé struck at the Orléans mint, one of a type struck there 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-R is listed[1] about 60% higher than the most common date (1789-A) but it is not rare. This specimen was lot 26628 in Heritage sale 3024 (Chicago, April 2013), where it sold for $411.25. The catalog description[2] noted, "Louis XVI Ecu 1789-R, AU, quite appealing with mixed gray and purple coloration, while not uncommon, some peripherial striking mushiness is evident which resulted is numerous planchet striations (as-made) being left on the reverse."

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: 596,361[1].

Catalog reference: Dr/4 no. 883, Dr/2 no. 616, Dav-1333, KM 564.14, 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.
  • [2]Bierrenbach, Cristiano, Warren Tucker and David Michaels, Heritage World and Ancient Coins Auction 3024, featuring the Kairos and Elizabeth McPhall Charters Collections, Dallas: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2013.

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