Louis XV, 1740-A

KM 513.1; Friedberg 464, PCGS graded PR-63

In 1740 the traditional obverse portrait bust of Louis XV used for the louis d’or aux lunettes was replaced by a new portrait head. Whereas the previous bust depicted the king with a full powdered wig, the new head showed him with his own hair tied with a simple diadem. For this reason the louis d’or struck between 1740 and 1771 came to be qualified as au bandeau (“with a diadem”). The introduction of the new portrait coincided with Louis XV’s revaluation of the louis d’or from 20 livres to 24 livres and with his embarkation on a series of new and costly wars beginning with the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748). Although the plain diadem and somewhat windswept hairstyle seems to recall images of Alexander the Great, the French king’s wars were largely disastrous and resulted in the loss of such important possessions as the Austrian Netherlands, which had been conquered by his father, and the entirety of New France.

Paris. LUD · XV · D · G · FR · ET NAV · REX, diademed head of Louis XV left. Reverse: CHRS · REGN · VINC · IMPER * 1740, crowned arms of France and Navarre.

Ex Hess-Divo 315 (29 October 2009), 380