France 1793-I 30 sols

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from Heritage sale 3049, lot 30747
France H3049-30747r.jpg

This specimen was lot 30747 in Heritage sale 3049 (Long Beach, September 2016), where it sold for $881.25. The catalog description[1] noted, "Republic 30 Sols 1793-I MS63 NGC, Limoges mint. Struck with base metal and usually encountered in cruder conditions, this splendid example boasts olive-gray patination and a tremendous amount of original bloom that shimmers upon rotation. It appears that this particular date and mintmark combination is quite scarce and in this choice Mint State quality, quite possibly unique. Furthermore, this is currently the finest-certified example of the type with none graded finer, and as such, should elicit much attention from collectors." 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 rare date of its type.

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" demi-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: unknown.

Specification: 10 g, .666 fine silver, .214 troy oz ASW, 28 mm diameter.

Catalog reference: KM 606.3, Gad-39, cf. Maz-10-16.


  • 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.
  • [1]Cristiano Bierrenbach, Warren Tucker and David Michaels, Heritage World Coin Auction 3049, featuring the Ohio Valley Collection, the Redwood Collection and the F.P. Briand Collection, Dallas, TX: Heritage Auction Galleries, 2016.

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