Luxembourg 1795 72 asses Dav-1592

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CNG Lissner collection, lot 621
This specimen was lot 621 in Classical Numismatic Group's sale of the Lissner Collection (Chicago, August 2014), where it sold for $7,865. The catalog description[1] noted,
"LUXEMBOURG. French occupation. 1795-1814. AR 72 Asses – 72 Sols. Struck by Marshal Baron Johann von Bender during the Siege of Luxembourg. Dated 1795. In NGC encapsulation graded MS 63. Light to moderate gray patina overall and extremely strong strike. By far the finest example of this type we have seen. Incredibly rare in this grade and the highest graded by NGC. This rare siege piece is seldom offered for sale; Richard waited 40 years to purchase this coin. Purchased from M. Louis Teller, February 2010. Ex Stack’s (22 April 2009), lot 2053.

The siege of the Austrian-held Fortress of Luxembourg by the armies of the République française – lasting from 22 November 1794 to 7 June 1795 – was part of the War of the First Coalition (1792-1797), in which the monarchic powers tried to contain Revolutionary France. Known as "the Gibraltar of the North' because of its superb defenses, the French were unable to breach its walls; nevertheless, the mounting number of casualties caused by French retaliatory bombing compelled the Austrian commander, Feldmarschall Blasius Columban Freiherr von Bender (who was then an octogenarian), to surrender. As a result of city's capture, Luxembourg was included in the newly established French département of Forêts.

Following their capture of the Château de Rheinfels (German Burg Rheinfels), the French controlled most of the the left bank of the Rhine, which for centuries had provided a natural defensive boundary since ancient times. Only two fortresses – Mainz and Luxembourg – remained outside of French control. Tasked with taking Luxembourg – not only of strategic importance, but which also contained desperately needed supplies – the Armée de la Moselle, under the command of Jean René Moreaux began their siege of the fortress. Because the siege carried on throughout the winter, the French forces suffered privation, due to the lack of supplies; soldiers resorted to pillaging neighboring villages and, on 10 February 1795, Moreaux himself perished of fever. Moreaux's replacement, Jean-Jacques Ambert, however, along with three divisions of the besieging army, was soon called to replace the Armée du Rhin. Now, two divisions of the Armée de Sambre-et-Meuse, under the command of Jacques Maurice Hatry. Observing these movements, the defenders believed mistakenly that the siege was being lifted. After numerous attempts in vain to repulse these new forces, and with French retaliation producing heavy casualties within the fortress, the Austrians capitulated on 7 June 1795. While the remaining Austrian garrison was allowed to leave with the honors of war, a column made up of Austrian Netherlands troops refused to follow the Austrians and demanded to serve France instead."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: silver, this specimen Ø38 mm, 29.29 g, 5h axis.

Catalog reference: Davenport 1592; KM 20.


  • Michael, Thomas, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 7th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2016.
  • Davenport, John S., European Crowns, 1700-1800, 2nd Ed., London: Spink & Son, 1964.
  • [1]Teller, M. Louis, and Victor England, Jr., The Richard Lissner Collection, Lancaster, PA: Classical Numismatic Group, 2014.

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