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French Pretender Coinage

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 Posted 10/14/2020  06:17 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CAM68 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The second is a 1 franc dated 1831 - like the 1/2 franc, it appears to have been struck in silver:



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 Posted 10/14/2020  06:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CAM68 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thirdly, an undenominated piece the size of a 5 franc coin, probably medallic in nature, bearing a date on the reverse of 2 August 1830 and struck in a silver metal:



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 Posted 10/14/2020  1:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cjh5801 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You're probably right about that last one being a medal. As you probably already know, August 2, 1830 was the date Henry V supposedly became king.
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 Posted 10/20/2020  5:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ColonialCoinsUK to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As someone who has an interest in Napoleonic coinage this thread has been fascinating, particularly regarding the Napoleon II essai's!

Below are scans of the pages from my copy of Histoire Monetaire et Numismatique Contemporaine by Jean Mazard. This would suggest that at least the silver 5 francs was struck later, 1860.



In the upcoming sale at Editions Gadoury Manoaco 2020 on 30-31 October lot 640 is the silver set (5, 2, 1, 1/2 and 1/4F) and lot 641 is a complete copper (or bronze?) set (5, 2, 1, 1/2, 1/4F and 10, 5, 3 and 1 centimes) - in what appears to be a contemporary case.

https://www.gadoury.com/en/auction



Edited by ColonialCoinsUK
10/20/2020 6:00 pm
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 Posted 10/20/2020  9:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cjh5801 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the post. It would appear the Histoire Monetaire et Numismatique Contemporaine by Jean Mazard is operating under the presumption that the Napoleon II coins were minted under Napoleon III in 1860. As mentioned in one of the posts above, this probably isn't likely since the coins are so poorly engraved (especially note how uneven the lettering is on the reverse of most of the coins, note the misplaced "A" in FRANCS on the 5-franc piece, and the bizarre tilt to the word "ESSAI" in the 1-centime piece, though there are examples of poor lettering on virtually every piece). It doesn't seem likely that coins made at the instigation of Napoleon III would have such poor quality control. Also, there are all the published references to the coins made prior to the 1860s.

And thanks for the link to the ASTA-2020 catalog. Some more fine examples here, on pages 121 and 122. Wish I had the money for the complete set in copper. Some observations of the two sets based on what we've learned so far in this thread:

Silver partial set: The 5-franc piece looks to have been made from a later die state. Note the signs of corrosion to the NW of the left most star in the lower part on the reverse side. The 2-franc piece is using the later reverse die (no stars), so it may well date from 1860 or later. It's hard to tell with the low resolution picture, but the "ESSAI" on the demi-franc piece seems a bit light. If so, this may also be a sign of a deteriorating die. The "ESSAI" is quite clear on the other examples I've seen.

Copper complete set: No sign of corrosion on the 5-franc piece, so perhaps evidence of an earlier die state. Again, the 2-franc piece is from the later die (no stars). The 3-centime piece has a very clear left star at the lower left on the reverse, so this is clearly from an earlier die state.
Edited by cjh5801
10/20/2020 9:54 pm
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 Posted 10/21/2020  01:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cjh5801 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In an attempt to document the subject of the Napoleon II pretender coins to death, I'm planning to post a series of posts that will demonstrate the deterioration of the dies used to strike the coins. Since I've found a number of examples, I'll post these on a per denomination basis. I'm assuming that the deterioration is due to rust that has eaten away at portions of the dies over time and has been brushed away upon the occasion of subsequent re-strikes, but welcome any other suggested explanations. The first example is the 1-centime piece, with deterioration increasing from top to bottom.








Note the progression of the ridging between about 1 o'clock and 3 o'clock on the reverse side. I think this may show that rust had built up in this area over time and had been cleaned away before each re-issue of the coin, which could explain the growing ridging obscuring the tick marks around the rim.
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 Posted 10/21/2020  05:49 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ColonialCoinsUK to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
'Thanks for the post. It would appear the Histoire Monetaire et Numismatique Contemporaine by Jean Mazard is operating under the presumption that the Napoleon II coins were minted under Napoleon III in 1860.'

I think the Mazard entry is saying these are contemporary issues - that's how I interpreted it but then I do not speak French!? The info is in the correct part of the book (with the Anvers coinage) and it is just the silver 5 francs which was struck later? The Napoleon III issues are in the second volume.

The same 'restrike' issue arises with a lot of Napoleonic medals with more examples restruck from the same dies during the 1840's, again in the 1860's/1870's and another lot restruck in the 1970's. Fortunately these are usually distinguished by colour and there are usually incuse marks on the edge - although most auction lots do not always show the edge or specify which striking it is and go just by the date on the medal if there is one!
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 Posted 10/21/2020  1:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cjh5801 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I think the Mazard entry is saying these are contemporary issues - that's how I interpreted it but then I do not speak French!? The info is in the correct part of the book (with the Anvers coinage) and it is just the silver 5 francs which was struck later? The Napoleon III issues are in the second volume.


I don't speak French either, but running the image through Yandex Translate, and cross-checking with Google Translate, shows that the Mazard entry is simply describing the obverse of the 5-franc coin as:

"NAPOLEON II EMPEROR. Childish effigy to the left. unsigned"

The reverse is described as:

"FRENCH EMPIRE. In a crown of foliage 5/FRANCS./ESSAI at the bottom *1816*"

Below that, it says:

"smooth posterior strike (circa 1860)"

"Circa 1860" means that they don't know the exact year it was struck, but assume it was around 1860. I believe that they were mistaken or misinformed about the year it was struck (unless purely by chance it's an example of a re-strike from the 1860s).

Although the first mention of a Napoleon II 5-franc piece in a Numismatic publication that I can find on the Internet dates from 1861, police and other public officials in France were aware of Napoleon II coins of various denominations circulating in France and Switzerland as far back as 1815. Unfortunately, numismatists in the 19th century apparently did not have ready access to these French police reports.

I note that the Mazard book was published in 1965, so there doesn't appear to be any reason to believe that they had first-hand knowledge of when (or how often) the Napoleon II coins were actually struck. It looks to me like they were simply repeating what numismatists believed at the time.

And welcome to the board, if a fellow newbie may be so bold.
Edited by cjh5801
10/21/2020 10:44 pm
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 Posted 10/22/2020  07:07 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cjh5801 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The deterioration of the 3-centime reverse die is quite noticeable over the years that the coin was re-struck. The lower left, around the left-most star, begins to rust first, with the rust spreading throughout the area until the star is pretty much no longer visible and the legend starts to deteriorate.




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 Posted 10/27/2020  06:10 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cjh5801 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not quite sure how to explain the change in die states for the 5-centime coins. Overlaying the images show that the same dies were used for subsequent restrikes, but there are two examples that I've found online where portions of the word "CENTIMES" on the reverse side have become obscured. Is this because the last two were weak strikes? Looking at the rest of the reverse side on both examples seems to rule this out. Is it because of rust build up in the letters of the word CENTIMES? If so, why wasn't it simply brushed away? At any rate, there seems to be a progression. In one example, the "NT" of CENTIMES is nearly missing. In the next, the NT are gone and the surrounding "E" and "I" are getting lighter.

I'd like to hear any opinions on how these changes can be explained.





Edited by cjh5801
10/27/2020 06:14 am
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 Posted 11/06/2020  12:43 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cjh5801 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The change in die state for the 10-centime piece is also rather apparent. As in previous examples, surface erosion becomes more pervasive over the years.






The changes between the last two is the most significant, but is a bit more subtle. Here are a couple of detail enlargements:




Notice the progression of the erosion following the "S" in "FRANÇAIS", around the "M" in "EMPIRE", and between the wreath and the "C" in "CENTs".

Regarding the second example in the top sequence of comparisons, note that the face of the coin retains impressions from the coin that was overstruck with this die. The original coin was apparently a skilling banco, which comes from a series of coins minted in Sweden between 1835 and 1855, which means that this particular example could not have been struck prior to 1835 (though it could have been struck at any time thereafter).

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 Posted 11/06/2020  04:50 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The original coin was apparently a skilling banco, which comes from a series of coins minted in Sweden between 1835 and 1855

No doubt, yes, a Swedish 1 skilling banco coin. Unexpected to find a Swedish connection here. Those coins were of course only used in Sweden, so someone has made the effort of collecting and bringing them (I suppose more than one coin was used) out if the country for this purpose. It's an interesting angle to the story.
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 Posted 11/06/2020  11:51 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cjh5801 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
No doubt, yes, a Swedish 1 skilling banco coin. Unexpected to find a Swedish connection here. Those coins were of course only used in Sweden, so someone has made the effort of collecting and bringing them (I suppose more than one coin was used) out if the country for this purpose. It's an interesting angle to the story.


Interesting indeed. Do you know if the skilling banco coins retained their face value after the series ended in 1855? If they were no longer legal tender after 1855 they may simply have been cheap stock for the Napoleon II propaganda re-strikes made later in the 19th Century. If they retained their face value, there might be a greater chance that they were struck by Bonapartists who were resident in Sweden in the mid-1800s.

Although Bernadotte ended up fighting against Napoleon in 1813 and they never reconciled, their quarrel was personal to a surprising degree. Bernadotte was personally offended when Napoleon invaded Swedish Pomerania as a prelude to his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. Despite this personal animosity, however, Bernadotte and his family retained close ties with Napoleon's family. Bernadotte had married Desiree Clary, the sister of Joseph Bonaparte's wife, of course, and their child, Prince Oscar (later Oscar I), was Napoleon's godson. Oscar also married Joséphine, the daughter of Napoleon's step-son, Eugene de Beauharnais, in 1823.

I assume that Bonaparte family members and supporters would probably have been welcome (or at least tolerated) in Sweden in the mid-1800s, so perhaps it served as something of a base for their political pretensions. Perhaps the Napoleon II dies were at least temporarily kept there at the time.
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 Posted 11/06/2020  6:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The old copper coins with values in skilling could be used until 1876, after that they could only be exchanged for new coins at the Swedish Riksbank (National Bank).

About Bonapartists, I think they could very well have dwelled in Sweden at the time (just like supporters of French royalists and revolutionaries). There has been an appetite for everything French in Sweden since at least the 18th century, and the installment of one of Napoleon's marshals as crown prince and later king didn't diminish that. Napoleon IV apparently visited Sweden (according to Wikipedia), so there must have been active supporters here at least then.
Edited by erafjel
11/06/2020 6:15 pm
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 Posted 11/06/2020  10:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cjh5801 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting. Although this particular example could have been struck later, I think it probably dates from around 1835 to 1840 or so. The reason for this is because the reverse field is still pretty much free from evidence of corrosion on the die. Napoleon II coins would have had little propaganda value after the death of Napoleon IV in 1879, so I think it unlikely that any would have been struck after 1879. The coins struck from the more corroded die probably date from the 1870s, so the coins struck from the die before it corroded must date from an earlier time.
Edited by cjh5801
11/06/2020 10:24 pm
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