François I, ND (1519)

Duplessy 776; Friedberg 348, NGC graded AU-58

The reign of Francois I saw innovations in France to create a culturally unified and centralized state with the king at its head. These were largely codified in the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêt (1593), which cast down Latin as the administrative language of the kingdom in favor of French, ordered the registration and authentication of births and deaths by ecclesiastical and public notaries, and prohibited guilds. He also promoted the French language in general and patronized the arts on such a scale that he initiated the French Renaissance. All of this provided the underpinnings for absolute monarchy in France. The small sun symbol on this half ecu d’or au soleil would one day grow great and become the emblem of Louis XIV, the Sun King and virtual personification of absolute monarchy.

Bayonne, 3rd emission (21 July 1519). + FRANCISCVS D G FRANCOR REX, crowned arms of France; L below. Reverse: + XPS VINCIT XPS REGNAT XPS IM, cross fleurdelisée with alternating Fs and lis in angles.

Ex Maison Palombo (21 November 2017), 525