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What Exactly Is This Coin? 1550 Charles V "Besancon" Coin

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United States
3 Posts
 Posted 01/31/2020  02:01 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CapBust99 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I found this on eBay and thought it looked really cool I do not collect foreign money as it's just not my area of knowledge usually I got it for a fair price I think PCGS pop reports 18 known in AU58 or higher and a total population of around 30 in all grades what did it for me was how high of a grade it was Where has this coin been in the last 470 years and remaining In such nice shape? and the portrait looked pretty cool and it's silver so why not what and where would these of been used it says German states but were these coins ever known to trade hands in North America during the early colonial periods? The only reason why I think it's possible is a lot of German settlers were some of the first people to settle in the new world I'm not sure I'd like more information at all on the coin is there any mintage reports? Cert number is 27838604 I appreciate any info thanks for reading have a good day , Hunter
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218 Posts
 Posted 01/31/2020  03:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
to the CCF!

That is a really nice 1/2 carolus you have there . Here is the Numista link, with a little more info on the coin:

Numista says "France - Feudal", but in 1550 the city of Besanšon was part of the Holy Roman Empire, a vast collection of mostly German states and cities headed by kings, lords, bishops and other potentates, all under the emperor Charles V. Besanšon was a free imperial city, governed by a city council directly under the emperor. The language was French and it eventually came under French rule in the 1670s and it is today located in Eastern France.

The city minted its own coins 1526-1673. They all bore the name of Charles V, even after his death 1558. I don't think there are any mintage numbers known, at least not for the 16th century mintage. Others here at CCF may know more about that. The denomination 1/2 carolus equals 1 kreuzer, and kreuzers were used all over the southern German states, so this coin could have circulated in quite a large area (again, others may know more about this).

That a coin like this can survive in pretty good shape for more than 400 years is indeed fascinating. Most likely it has been in a collection for the last one or two centuries, perhaps after being found in a hidden treasure or just lost under the floor boards. It could even have been part of an early collection - there were not that many coin collectors around in the 16th century, but it is not without reason considered the hobby of kings, and if kings and lords had a hobby (besides hunting), it could well be collecting coins. Whether it could end up in North America with early settlers I have no idea. I suppose it is possible, although I think they may rather have chosen to bring higher denomination coins with higher silver content with them, like thalers.
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United States
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 Posted 01/31/2020  03:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CapBust99 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you very much for the information it's a fascinating piece I'll definitely look into the link much appreciated !!
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 Posted 01/31/2020  04:47 am  Show Profile   Check echizento's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add echizento to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
to the community
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United States
3145 Posts
 Posted 01/31/2020  11:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@capbust, first:

Maybe you will be bitten by the world coin collecting bug! If you want to find other examples of high grade coins from the 16th and 17th century, there are plenty from places like Austria, Poland, and other German States.
Since you've probably not received it yet, the one you've just won is small (smaller than a dime, and quite thin). But you can find attractive coins from this era in this price range that are larger, too.
As pointed out by @erafjel, it is a great way to learn some world history that most of us in the U.S, were never taught in school.

I agree with erafjel, that this coin probably lived in a European collection for much of its life, or perhaps came to light when a hoard was uncovered more recently. Many U.S. collectors (like me) buy coins from Europe, so this is probably how it arrived here.

As for links between Besancon and the United States, by chance I know of one: there is a hamlet in northeastern Indiana named Besancon, because it was settled in the early 19th century by immigrants from Besancon France:

We drive near it a couple of times a year while headed to Fort Wayne, Indiana ... an area first settled by the French in the 1600s.
Edited by tdziemia
01/31/2020 11:46 am
New Member
United States
3 Posts
 Posted 01/31/2020  1:40 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CapBust99 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Thanks for your response I may have got bitten I don't have interest in modern foreign coins but I'm starting to find interest in the age and designs of these old pieces of history so much has happend in these coins lifespans its interesting how they survived for so many years I'll definitely check out your link are these quiet rare I remember watching a APMEX video on YouTube NGC's David vagi explaining how rarity is common for medieval and ancient coins I can't find any NGC example of a Besancon just PCGS most of them grade au58 and a bunch of pop 1 coins for the grade
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218 Posts
 Posted 01/31/2020  2:14 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@CapBust99, one nice thing about collecting European medieval coins is that you can get your hand on really old and quite good looking coins - that carry a lot of history - without paying a fortune. You can get good quality 16th century coins for less than $100, stretch to $200 and you can have coins from the 9th century. You can find coins cheaper than that too - as with all coins, higher grade costs more, lower grade costs less. Rarity varies A LOT for medieval coins and not unexpectedly, low mintage coins of high grade can be exceptionally rare, and exceptionally expensive. But many coins were minted in huge quantities and have survived in relatively large numbers until today.

Finding great coins is not a problem, the tricky part is to choose among all of them
Edited by erafjel
01/31/2020 2:17 pm
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