Louis XIV, 1656-A

KM 217; Friedberg 420, PCGS graded AU-55

Whereas Louis XIII had been the first true absolute monarch of France, his son, Louis XIV raised absolutism to a virtual art form. In order to undermine the local power of the nobility he built the fabulous Palace of Versailles and required the nobles to live in it alongside him. After all, it was significantly more difficult for nobles to raise rebellions or otherwise plot against the king when they were almost constantly in his presence. Louis XIV also promoted French religio-cultural unity through the dubious means of revoking the Edict of Nantes and forcing the Protestant Huguenots to seek safety in other kingdoms. His military victories, particularly in the Franco-Dutch War (1672-1678), raised France to the position of the most powerful state in Europe and led to subsequent European coalitions aimed at containing his ambitions. These found expression in the War of the League of Augsburg (1688-1697) and the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), both of which represent the earliest truly global wars in human history. Louis XIV was le Roi Soleil (“the Sun King”), with the eyes of both his people and his enemies, either out of admiration or fear that the sun might burn them up.

Paris. DOMINE · ELEGISTI · LILIVM · TIBI · 1656 ·, two kneeling angels supporting crowned arms of France. Reverse: (leaf) LVDOVIC · XIII · D · G FRAN · ET · NAV · REX, cross fleurdelisée, the arms terminating in crowns, lis in the angles; ? in 2nd quarter.

Ex Künker (27 September 2010), 6046