Krause's Catalog #C89a

France - 1793 (L'an 5 de la Liberté)

2 Sols
Obverse - France - 2 Sols 1793 Reverse - France - 2 Sols - 1793
Obverse - Bust of Louis XVI, facing left.
Legend, LOUIS XVI ROI DES FRANÇAIS 1793
Mintmark, BB
Reverse - Republican symbol, fasces, topped by a liberty hat, surrounded by a wreath, 2 S
Legend, LA NATION LA LOI LE ROI
Exergue, L'AN 5 DE LA LIBERTE, six pointed star
Size, 33 mm.
 
The dates on this coin don't seem to match. L'an 5 should have been 1796, not 1793. Also, Louis was executed January 21, 1793. It seems likely that the obverse was used until it broke. There is a serious flaw completely through Louis' bust, the bust is also very smooth, as if it had been changed to eradicate his features. Perhaps there was a lack of sculptors.
 
      "I think I can solve the problem on the dates here. After the Revolution, 
      the French experimented more than once with the calendar. Firstly came the 
      French Constitutional Calendar which counted the years from the storming 
      of the Bastille, i.e. 14th July 1789. These were known as Years of Liberty 
      (Les Ans de la Liberté). These years ran concurrently with the years 
      of the traditional calendar (the first year was a short one running from 
      14th July 1789 to 31st December 1789). Year 5 of Liberty, the final year 
      of this calendar, ran therefore from 1st January 1793 to 31st December 1793, 
      and this is the year in which your 2 sols coin was produced (the reverse 
      date clearly states L'An 5 de la Liberté). The French Calendar of 
      the Republic did not begin until 22nd September 1792 and therefore slightly 
      overlapped the earlier Constitutional Calendar.
 
      The flaw through the centre of the obverse is interesting though I am 
      not sure it was caused by a cracked or broken die. Die cracks usually start 
      at the edge of a die and gradually work their way across the surface as 
      the die receives continued use. In this case, the edges of the coin do not 
      appear to show any die damage, the flaw confining itself to the king's bust. 
      I would think that corrosion of some sort is more likely. As far as the 
      smoothness of the king's bust is concerned, I have a few worn copper pieces 
      of this era and have noted that the rather shallow relief on the original 
      image does wear away quite readily leaving the smoothness you describe."
Thanks to Mish Webster for the info!
 
Very informative! It still leaves me with a couple of questions but that's part of the fun of all this. The smoothness I mentioned before appears deliberate, almost polished. Notice that the surrounding coin is nearly flawless. Also, thanks for the info on the Years of Liberty. Since Louis XVI lost his head in January of L'An 5 this may be another reason that the bust appears to be deliberately smoothed. Hm...
No. 593. Pl. 59. 31 Décembre 1793. Monnaie.
Louis XVI. 1793.
R. La nation la loi le Roi. 2 S. (deux sous).
LOUIS XVI ROI DES FRANÇAIS. Buste de Louis XVI à gauche. Dessous, un cœur, 1793, un monogramme formé de deux BB.
LA NATION LA LOI LE ROI. Ici une étoile. Au milieu d'une couronne de chêne est le faisceau surmonté du bonnet de la Liberté. Dans le champ: 2 S. (Deux sols). En bas: L'AN 5 DE LA LIBERTÉ [34m.]. Cuivre ou métal de cloche.
Scan from Hennin's plates...
   Voyez l'article de la pièce No. 588.
   Les monnaies de cuivre à effigie royale éprouvèrent des obstacles à leur circulation en 1793 et dans les deux suivantes. Beaucoup de personnes refusaient de les recevoir, et s'y croyaient autorisées. Un décret de la Convention Nationale du 19 prairial an 3 (7 juin 1795) détermina qui ces monnaies auraient cours jusqu'à la fabrication des nouvelles espèces de cuivre.
   Il est à remarquer que cette pièce porte: Roi des Français, tandis qu'on lit: Roi des François sur toutes les autres pièces de cette année, et même sur les variétés de la même pièce de deux sous frappées dans les autres hôtels des monnaies.
   La double lettre BB est la marque de l'hôtel des monnaies de Strasbourg.
   Il y a quelques variétés de cette pièce qui portent: L'an 4e de la liberté. Ce sont des erreurs monétaires.

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