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FRENCH COINS

In ancient France along with Italy and Syria ,  France is one of the major countries of Roman civilisation, one of the countries where emperors were born, crowned and died.

Within the Kingdom of France during 1268-1314 the ruler was Philip IV also known as \“Philippe le Bel\” and also known as “Le Faux Monnayeur” meaning The Counterfeiter. During Philip IV’s reign masses of gold coinage was minted and before Philip IV his grandfather Saint Louis had minted a few gold coins called “Ecu” meaning a crown.

Philip however had to resort extensively to monetary devaluations and re-evaluations in order to finance his royal budget as well as his war efforts. Philip IV has been nicknamed \“Le Faux Monnayeur\” (\“The Counterfeiter\”), and had to face numerous popular unrests due to his tampering of coin titles and values.

The Petit Royal assis which was Philippe le Bel\‘s golden Florin , was the first French gold coin to reach major circulation. First minted in August 1290 its popularity was due to the fact that it was an authentic Florin , which weighed in at 3.54 grams, and entirely made of pure gold.   It was circulated without problem among the gold Florentine Florin and their imitations throughout Europe . At minting, the coin was attributed an account value of 10 sols tournois (half a pound).  

The first franc of France was a gold coin struck in 1360 when King John was freed. It showed King John in armour on horseback, and was known as a franc à cheval. The word franc meaning free, but also referring to the Frankish people. Franc coins fell into disuse after 1642, until they were revived during the revolutionary period in 1795, when a decimal currency system was introduced. As far as we are aware this was the world\‘s first decimal currency system, although the American had proposed it in 1781.

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