France 1791-I 30 sols

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Jean Elsen sale 94, lot 1460
France 1791I 30 sols rev JElsen 94-1460.jpg

The specimen shown is a 30 sols (equals 1/4 écu) of the Constitutional period (1791-93) during the French Revolution. It was struck at the Limoges mint (mintmark "I") and is a common date of its type. This specimen was lot 1460 in Jean Elsen sale 94 (Brussels, December 2007), where it did not sell. It is remarkable for its high quality.

Altho the French Revolution famously began with the fall of the Bastille in June 1789, the upheaval was not immediately reflected in the coinage, which continued to be issued using the designs of the ancien régime. In 1791, the first "constitutional" coins appeared, including 3 deniers (= 1 liard), 6 deniers (= 2 liards), 12 deniers (= 1 sol), 2 sols, 15 sols (= 1/8 écu) and 30 sols. "Constitutional" 1/2 écus and écus appeared in 1792. Only then were the old royal designs discontinued. In 1793, the king was guillotined and a republic instituted. The republicans issued some brass sols and 2 sols and a silver écu de 6 livres before abandoning the system altogether in favor of the franc in 1795.

Recorded mintage: 1,711,000.

Specification: 10 g, .666 fine silver, .214 troy oz ASW.

Catalog reference: Gad-39, KM 606.7.


  • Gadoury, Victor, Monnaies Françaises, 1789-2011, 20me éd., Monaco: Éditions Victor Gadoury, 2011.
  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.

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