07-03-2018 – 01-01-1970
Dominique Fenouil Collection
Collection of French Silver Crowns
Patrick Guillard and Pierre Crinon will be auctioning the Dominique Fenouil Collection of French silver crowns through Alde auction house on 8 March 2018 at Hotel Ambassador, 16 Boulevard Haussmann 75009 Paris. It comprises a complete collection of this coin type struck between 1641 and 1889.
Lot 1: Louis XIII, 1610-1643. Silver ecu of 60 sols, 1641, Paris. EF 45. Estimated: 15,000-20,000 euros. This coin was first struck in December of 1641 and is the very first French silver ecu minted by a screw press. Only 5 or 6 known to exist.
The silver crown, in addition to being the most majestic of the French coins, is the only format to be struck without interruption from 1641 to 1878 with additional few copies of the centennial of the Revolution and that is over 238 years.
Lot 86: Louis XV, 1715-1774. Ecu with 3 crowns, 1715, Lille. AU 50. Estimated: 15,000-25,000 euros. The very first and by far the rarest of the crown types for Louis XV.
It is interesting to observe the overlapping regimes for key years such as 1643, 1715, 1774, 1793 and so on. It took a few days to change the King – The King is dead, long live the King! It is also fascinating to see the mark of time on historical figures throughout the minting period. From the child’s face under the Fronde, to the very tired King Louis XIV on the coins with three crowns at the end of his reign … Who can remain indifferent to this testimony of history of a man’s life?
Lot 271: Napoleon III. 5 francs essay. 1860. MS 63. Estimated: 25,000-50,000 euros. This is the only 5 francs crown struck in 1860.
The silver crown is a true reflection of French history, both political and economic. Thus, the very unfortunate decision of Louis XIV to revoke the Edict of Nantes in 1685, had a major influence on his coinage five years later. Because forcing to flee the today’s equivalent of CAC 40, driving out between 200,000 and 300,000 Protestants (the majority of which were at the controls of commercial and financial affairs), adding to the wealth of cities such as Berlin, London, Geneva, Amsterdam and even Cape Town in South Africa, was to plunge France into a financial crisis that would last forty years.
Lot 298: France. Third Republic. 5 francs Hercules type, 1889, Paris. MS 67. Estimated: 20,000-40,000 euros. Only 20 such coins struck for the rarest of the 5 francs coins minted between 1795 and 1889 on the occasion of the “Exposition Universelle” in Paris, in proof with plain edge. In addition to its extreme rarity, this example is the nicest known and has been graded Proof 67 by PCGS.
Five years later, in 1690, the currency underwent its first “reformation” which amounted to devaluing a currency by re-striking it. France has then known 20 years of devaluations that we can now follow through successive “reformations” of different types of crowns.