France L'AN8-BB 5 centimes

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The numismatics of the bronze coinage of the French First Republic is complex. For the five centimes, the first issue (An 4-5) was 5 g, 23 mm diameter and was immediately rejected by the populace along with the 10 g décime (10 centimes) and the 20 g double décime (20 centimes). During An 5, the government tried again with larger coins, increasing the 5 centimes to 10 g and the décime to 20 g and abandoning the double décime. The revised types met with some success and they were issued in substantial numbers until An 9. Leftover stocks of light weight décimes were overstruck into 5 centimes and double décimes converted into décimes. In all, about 140 million were produced for the type. They circulated until the 1850's and today few are found in Very Fine or better. This specimen was lot 1005 in CGB sale 52 (Paris, February 2012), where it sold for 687 € (about US$993 including buyer's fees). The catalog description[1] noted,
"Frappe légèrement décentrée. Une petite tache au revers sur le Q de CINQ. Monnaie ayant conservé une partie de son rouge d’origine, même si du brun commence à recouvrir les champs, et des traces importantes de son brillant de frappe. Cet exemplaire provient de la Collection André Gauthiez. (Struck slightly off center. A small nick on the reverse on the "Q" of "CINQ". The coin has preserved part of the original red, otherwise a nice brown with some luster. From the André Gauthiez collection.)"

During An 8, this type was struck at Paris ("A"), Metz ("AA"), Strasbourg ("BB", shown here), Lyon ("D"), Geneva ("G"), Limoges ("I"), Bordeaux ("K") and Lille ("W"). Paris, Metz, Strasbourg and Lille are common. The catalog[2] notes a regular date and several overdates, as well as an overmintmark, BB/T, and a "CNIQ" error. The specimen shown is noted as An 8/5 with the BB/T repunched mintmark and with the wheat sheaf privy mark punched over an anchor.

Recorded mintage: 4,285,214[2]. The overdate 8/5 with the overmintmark, BB/T, is priced[2] many multiples of the regular date.

Specification: bronze, 10 g, 28 mm diameter, "chevronned" edge, designed by Augustin Dupré (1748-1833), this specimen 10,13 g, 28,21 mm diameter.

Catalog reference: F.115/59, KM 640.


  • [1]Clairand, Arnaud, Stéphane Desrousseaux, Michel Prieur and Laurent Schmitt, Monnaies 52: Vente Sur Offres, Paris:, 2012.
  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
  • Gadoury, Victor, Monnaies Françaises, 1789-2011, 20me éd., Monaco: Éditions Victor Gadoury, 2011.
  • [2]Prieur, Michel, and Laurent Schmitt, Le Franc 10: Les Monnaies, Paris: Éditions les Chevau-légers, 2014.

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