France 1856-BB 2 francs

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Jean Elsen sale 124, lot 1169
This specimen was lot 1169 in Jean Elsen sale 124 (Brussels, March 2015), where it sold for €430 (about US$536 including buyer's fees). The catalog description[2] noted,
"FRANCE, Napoléon III (1852-1870), AR 2 francs, 1856 BB, Strasbourg. Grand BB. Rare. Petits coups. Très Beau à Superbe. (France, Napoleon III (1852-70), silver two francs of 1856, Strasbourg mint, large mintmark, rare, minor nicks, very fine to extremely fine.)"
This specimen is one of a series struck 1853-59 during the reign of Napoleon III (1852-70). The type is known as the two francs Napoléon III, téte nue, and is among the rarest French silver coins of the nineteenth century. Among the two francs, only the 1815A two francs of the "Hundred Days" brings a higher price as a type. Three mints are known for the type: Paris ("A"), Strasbourg ("BB", 1856 only) and Lyon {"D", 1856 only). All two francs issued prior to 1859, including this one, were demonetized in 1869 to make way for the succeeding issue which was only .835 fine.

Specification: 27 mm diameter, 10 grams, .900 fine silver, reeded edge. Designed by Jean-Jacques Barré, 1793-1855.

Recorded mintage: 693,113[1].

Catalog reference: Gad-523, F.262/6, KM 780.2.


  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2012.
  • [1]Prieur, Michel, and Laurent Schmitt, Le Franc 10: Les Monnaies. Paris: Éditions les Chevau-légers, 2014.
  • [2]Elsen, Philippe, et al., Vente Publique 124, Brussels: Jean Elsen et ses Fils S.A., 2015.

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