François I, 1515

Duplessy -; Ciani 1103/7500; Lafaurie 799; Hoffmann 31; Friedberg -, PCGS graded AU-53

Francois I succeeded his cousin Louis XII as King of France in 1515. Although he continued to have political and territorial ambitions in Italy, these were increasingly threatened by the expansion of Habsburg possessions as Charles V first inherited the Burgundian Netherlands in 1506, then the Kingdom of Spain in 1516, and was at last elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1519. Personal enmity developed between Francois I and Charles V as the two rulers competed against each other on the political and military stage. Francois I frequently charged into battle with his knights at the conclusion of the War of the League of Cambrai (1508-1516), during the disastrous Four Years’ War (1521-1526), and during the War of the League of Cognac (1526-1530), all of which were part of the Italian Wars (1494-1559). Although this conduct sometimes worked out badly for the king, as when he was captured and held hostage in Madrid after the Battle of Pavia (1525), it earned Francois I the popular nickname, le Roi-Chevalier (“the Knight-King”). The obverse of this demi-royal d’or depicting the king on his charger illustrates his knightly qualities.

Paris. 5 July 1515. + FRACISC I DEI G FRAC REX, king, holding sword, on horseback right. Reverse: + DEVS AVXILIV TVVM REGI DA, crowned arms of France.

Ex Vinchon (30 May 2017), 71