France 1840-W 20 francs

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Jean Elsen sale 123, lot 997
France JE123-997r.jpg
This specimen was lot 997 in Jean Elsen sale 123 (Brussels, December 2014), where it sold for €430 (about US$625 including buyer's fees). The catalog description[1] noted,
"FRANCE, Louis-Philippe (1830-1848), AV 20 francs, 1840 W, Lille. Différent: caducée. 4550 p. frappées. Rare. Petites griffes. Très Beau/Superbe. (kingdom of France, Louis Philippe (1830-48), gold twenty francs of 1840, Lille mint, 4550 pieces struck. Rare, fine scratches, very fine/extremely fine.)"
This type, struck 1832-48, was recalled in 1928 and demonetized in 2005 but ceased to circulate in France during World War One. It superseded the Tiolier head used 1830-31 (F.524 and F.525). Branch mint issues include Rouen (mintmark "B"), Lille (mintmark "W") and Bayonne (mintmark "L"). Records show 773,000 forty franc pieces were minted during the reign, compared to 9.13 million twenty franc pieces and 335 million silver five franc pieces. This date is rare. Two privy marks exist for the date; the caduceus shown here (used 1796-1840) and an alembic (used 1840-46).

Recorded mintage: 4,508.

Specification: 6.45 g, .900 fine gold, 21 mm diameter, edge lettered DIEU PROTEGE LA FRANCE, designed by Joseph François Domard (1792-1858).

Catalog reference: Gad-1031; Fr-560, F.527/19, KM 750.4.


  • [1]Elsen, Philippe, et al., Vente Publique 123, Brussels: Jean Elsen et ses Fils, S.A., 2014.
  • Gadoury, Victor, Monnaies Françaises, 1789-2011, 20me éd., Monaco: Éditions Victor Gadoury, 2011.
  • Prieur, Michel, and Laurent Schmitt, Le Franc 10: Les Monnaies, Paris: Éditions les Chevau-légers, 2014.
  • Friedberg, Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg, Gold Coins of the World, From Ancient Times to the Present, 9th ed., Clifton, NJ: Coin and Currency Institute, 2017.

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