France L'AN 7-L 5 francs

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from the Mountain Groan Collection
France An 7L 5 francs rev DSLR.jpg

This specimen shown was struck at the Bayonne mint during the Directory (1793-99) and was meant to replace the écu of the ancien régime after the execution of king Louis XVI of France. The Gregorian calendar was replaced by the revolutionary calendar. Year 7, shown here, comprised September 1798 thru September 1799. This "Hercules" type was struck until year 11 (1802-03) from numerous mints, tho only Paris is known for year 4. Le Franc[1] has reanalyzed the type, assigning it catalog numbers 287 thru 300, depending on the position of the obverse legend ("UNION ET FORCE"), the details of the oak wreath on the reverse and so forth. As each die was hand made, the varieties are as numerous as those of United States bust half dollars or early large cents. Overdates and repunched mintmarks and privy marks are common. The type was produced in the millions and is not rare in low grades but the price ascends rapidly with grade.

Recorded mintage: 418,807 (all varieties).

Specification: 25 g, .900 fine silver, edge lettered GARANTIE NATIONALE, designed by Augustin Dupré (1748-1833).

Catalog reference (nine varieties listed):

  • F.288/34 (normal mintmark, "UNION ET FORCE" closed)
  • F.288/35 (mintmark "L/A", "UNION ET FORCE" closed--rare)
  • F.291/11 ("UNION ET FORCE" open)
  • F.291/12 (without dot after date, "UNION ET FORCE" open--rare)
  • F.291/13 (mintmark "L/A", "UNION ET FORCE" open--four known)
  • F.294/23 (mintmark "L/A", "UNION ET FORCE" closed)
  • F.294/24 (without star after "FRANCAISE", "UNION ET FORCE" closed--two known)
  • F.295/5 ("UNION ET FORCE" open)
  • F.296/4 (normal mintmark, "UNION ET FORCE" closed); KM 639.6.

The specimen shown appears to be F.289, which is not listed for this date, otherwise common.

Catalog reference: VG 563; KM 639, Dav-81.


  • 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.

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