Louis XV, 1735-A

KM 489.1; Friedberg 461, PCGS graded MS-66

Louis XV succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XV at the ripe age of five years. Controlled by regents and chief ministers from an early age, the king was frequently indecisive and left much of the government in the hands of others. French participation on the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) ultimately provided few territorial gains and a great deal of debt, that was paid for through the issue of new bonds and the introduction of the vingtième (5%) tax on all French citizens, including the clergy. The new tax gradually developed into a larger conflict with the Church in France, whose links to the Pope in Rome made it an obstacle to the principles of royal absolutism. In 1764, Louis XV repressed the Jesuits, who essentially acted as agents of Rome in his kingdom. Likewise, further attempts by Louis XV and his ministers to erode the power of the nobility resulted in resistance from local Parliaments. These problems in France were further exacerbated by the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), which ended with the complete loss of New France in North America and empty coffers in France proper. Not for nothing is Louis XV said to have remarked “Apres nous, le deluge” (“After us, the deluge”). The perfect storm loomed on the horizon and it would ultimately drown his successor, Louis XVI.

Paris. LUD · XV. D · G · FR · ET NAV · REX., draped bust of Louis XV left. Reverse: CHRS · REGN · VINC · IMPER * 1735, crowned arms of France and Navarre.

Purchased privately from Goldberg, 5 January 2007