France 1809-T 10 centimes

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Jean Elsen sale 121, lot 1190
France 1809T 10 centimes rev JElsen 121-1190.jpg
This specimen was lot 1190 in Jean Elsen sale 121 (Brussels, June 2014), where it sold for €80 (about US$128 including buyers' fees). The catalog description[1] noted,
"FRANCE, Napoléon Ier (1804-1814), billon 10 centimes, 1810 T, Nantes. Rare. Très Beau. (empire of France, Napoleon I (1804-14), billon ten centimes of 1810 (sic), Nantes mint, rare, very fine.)"
The specimen shown is one of a type struck 1807-10 during the regime of the Emperor Napoleon. This Nantes mint issue is a scarce date. Eight other mints struck this type.

This type is the only billon issue of the decimal series. It failed for the same reason as the billon issues of Louis XV failed: rampant counterfeiting and rejection by the populace. The authors of Le Franc IX[2] note, "Ce type est sans contestation possible le plus falsifié de l'histoire monétaire moderne de la France (This type is without doubt the most counterfeited in the modern history of France)." They comment that one out of three examples seen are fakes but that they are collectible nonetheless.

Only high grade specimens show the silver look of the images displayed here. Circulated examples show the dark greenish gray typical of base silver coins.

Recorded mintage: 183,588[2].

Specification: billon (20% silver, 80% copper), 2 g, 18 mm diameter.

Catalog reference: Gad-190, F.130/18, KM 676._.


  • [2]Prieur, Michel, and Laurent Schmitt, Le Franc 10: Les Monnaies, Paris: Éditions les Chevau-légers, 2014.
  • Michael, Thomas, and Tracy L. Schmidt, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 9th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2019.
  • Gadoury, Victor, Monnaies Françaises, 1789-2011, 20me éd., Monaco: Éditions Victor Gadoury, 2011.
  • [1]Elsen, Philippe, et al., Vente Publique 121, Brussels: Jean Elsen et ses Fils S.A., 2014.

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