Philippe VI, 1329

Duplessy 248; Friedberg 264, PCGS graded MS-63

When Charles IV died without a male heir, the succession devolved upon his paternal cousin who assumed the throne as Philip VI and became the founder of the Valois dynasty of French kings. Edward III of England, a maternal nephew of Charles IV challenged his right to the throne of France, but was rebuffed by French legalists citing the old Salian Law (compiled c. 500), which did not recognize inheritance of thrones or fiefs through the female line. Predictably, Edward III did not appreciate this legal fine point and instead resorted to the usual final argument of kings: war. The dispute about the succession quickly devolved into the long conflict between the French and English crowns known as the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453). Although Philip IV was known as le Fortuné (“the Fortunate”), he fared poorly against Edward III, losing his navy at the Battle of Sluys (1340) and suffering a major defeat at Crécy (1346). Adding further to his difficulties, the Black Death arrived in France in 1347. Philip VI was le Fortuné because he managed to hold onto his kingdom despite the human and natural forces ranged against him.

6 September 1329. + P?ILIPPVS DEI GRA FRA?CORVM REX, king seated facing on gothic throne, holding scepter surmounted by Hand of Justice and lis-tipped scepter; a lion crouching beside each foot. Reverse: + XPC VInCIT XPC REG?AT XPC IMPERAT, cross fleurée with lis in angles; all within double polylobe, with trefoil at each spandrel.

Purchased privately from Goldberg, 1 January 2007