Louis XVI, L’An 5 / 1793-A

KM 592.11; Friedberg 474, PCGS graded MS-63

Louis XVI was in a bad way. On October 5, 1789, an angry mob seized the king and his family at Versailles and brought them to the Tuileries Palace in Paris thinking that if they were kept in the city the king would be more accountable to the people. While he retained the royal title, the revolutionary National Assembly restricted his power greatly, and on June 21, 1791, Louis XVI attempted to flee with his family to Varennes. He was apprehended and brought back to Paris where he was subsequently seen as a betrayer of the moderate revolutionary element that would have preferred constitutional monarchy to radical republicanism. The French monarchy was officially abolished on September 21, 1792 and on January 15, 1793, after evidence mounted of the king’s collusion with foreign powers against the Revolution, Louis XVI was tried and found guilty of treason. He was sent to the guillotine on January 21, 1793. Strangely, during the period of final disillusionment with the king (1791-1793), the National Assembly continued to order the production of coins with the portrait of Louis XVI although the reverse featured the Genius of the Revolution inscribing a constitution. The 1793 louis d’or is especially remarkable as it was struck beginning on 26 January—five days after the king was executed! The use of the royal portrait was abolished by the decree of February 5, 1793, that introduced the gold 24 livres denomination.

Paris. LOUIS XVI ROI FRANÇOIS 1793, head of Louis XVI left. Reverse: REGNE DE LA LOI ·, Genius standing right, writing the Constitution, between fasces and rooster.

Ex Heritage (8 January 2007), 51089