Revolution & Empire

Convention and Directory, the Napoleonic era

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copper 2 sols of Louis 16th
1792 BB (Strasbourg mint)
 uncirculated "NGC-63 Brown"
(Heritage World Coin Auction, Jan 2008)

French Revolution

Okay here we are in the French Revolution which started 3 years ago (1789). At first they kept the King (Louis 16th) and he was to rule as a Constitutional Monarch. But he wasn't very adept at all and got in a fight with the Revolutionaries as the Pope in Rome disavowed Priests favoring the Revolution. Poor Louis sided with the Pope but the Revolutionaries had the Army and the mob. 

Constitutional ecu of Louis 16th
1792 2nd semester (Paris)
 choice brilliant uncirculated
(Karl Stephens, CA, 1990)

This coin can be distinguished as 2nd semester (2nd half of 1792) by the dot under the U in "LOUIS". Louis 16th was guillotined on September 22nd, 1792 which became year "1" of the French Revolutionary calendar.

 Ecu of the Convention  1793
nice uncirculated

I had a coin dealer represent me at this New York International show. I & my wife were there in person but she wanted to see a Broadway show. In 2002, this was a cheap coin so I just gave the dealer a low bid and said "try to get it for me if it's nice". Today these are a bit harder to buy in nice original unc.
Louis 16th and his wife, Marie Antoinette were axed and the Revolutionary mob formed the Convention and ruled.  This coin was struck by the Convention which was a group of about 500 law makers I think.

The French Directory

The most famous coin of the French Directory was called the Union et Force. This was also the first "modern" use of the the franc and coinage consisted solely of 5 franc pieces. These Union et Froce coins were issued using the 2nd Revolutionary Calendar and dated from la' AN 4 through la' AN 13 (1795 to 1804).

Unfortunately I've never been alble to buy an original Union et Force and am seeking one of any date. 

Directory, 1 sol 1793-AA
almost uncirculated
(Centre Numismatique du Palais Royal Auction, July, 2004)

There were 20 sols per livre and 6 livres per ecu.

This is an official restrike bought from this auction firm in Paris. Despite having a receipt they refuse to take the coin back. C'est la vie!

Directory, Deceime (almost unc w/ original mint red) L'An 7 (1798) W= Lille mint

 unfortunately this is "the common date/mint" of the surviving Revolutionary deceimes.


Napoleon Bonaparte 5 Francs 1811-A (Paris)
uncirculated (NGC-63)
Jan 2006, coin image rotated so it's upright

Napoleon Bonaparte 40 Francs 1811-A  uncirculated
(Heritage auctions, 1998)

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon at first was an artillery Colonial under the Directory's command. After clearing the mob from the streets with grape shot he was promoted to general. He lost his army in Egypt when Nelson destroyed his fleet (1798). Then he returned to Paris and overthrew the Directory, establishing himself as 1st Consul, then Emperor.

        French coinage & history Links:         a French site specializing in Union et Force 5Fs