Author Topic: The Paris mint  (Read 684 times)

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Online Figleaf

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The Paris mint
« on: July 29, 2015, 06:58:58 PM »
La Monnaie de Paris by Dov Zérah is gorgeously illustrated, but it contains too much serious text to be a coffee table book. Its texts are interesting, but there isn't a footnote in sight (there is a short bibliography), so how could it have scientific value? Collectors can find very much of interest, but there's no price catalogue :) Part of the book is a guided visual walk-through of the building in Paris' Quai Conti, but it was published in 2006, before the latest reconstructions. And so, depending on your approach, it will disappoint everyone or surprise everyone.

The author philosophises about money and takes a very quick ride through the history of French coins. Due to its meat-nor-fish status this part disappoints by its superficiality and it sounds a bit off topic.

The book earns its keep when it concentrates on the history of minting in Paris and in particular on the detail of the old mint on Quai Conti. Here, the pictures come to life by the informed text, giving the reader an excellent idea of how the building was created and how it developed. The extraordinary luxury of the chambers of the high officials and the sumptuous outside decorations conspire to form the image of a palace for coining.

That image is rounded out with fun information on how the building was used. Coining, medals, orders and some notable visitors - three French presidents, three Russian tzars and a bevy of lesser lights - start to explain the palace atmosphere.

The author's personal experience is reflected in chapters on the Pessac mint and modern coin policy. In spite of being short, these chapters impress by the author's professional knowledge.

And here's the confusing part. I found this book, practically new, in a book stall and bought it for €3. Is the end of big, magnificently illustrated books nigh?

« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 08:41:30 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.