Author Topic: French dime  (Read 284 times)

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Offline gpimper

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French dime
« on: December 02, 2019, 08:39:42 PM »
Pretty sure this isn't referred to as a "dime" but I love the design.
The Chief...aka Greg

Offline Figleaf

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Re: French dime
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2019, 01:17:06 PM »
No, it wasn't known as a dime. The French do not often give their coins nicknames. The last of them was sou (5 centimes), but this was not known as a double sou either. And yet...

During the French revolution, an over-arching policy was to modernise. Part of that policy was to decimalise. The calendar was reformed, weights and measures were standardised, a circle would have counted 100 or 400 degrees and there actually were clocks using a scale of 20 hours to a full day. Some of this could be preserved by trading international acceptance of GMT against internationalisation of the decimal system of weights and measures, except in the US and - to a lesser extent - in the UK.

Decimalisation of coins was not a new idea. Russia did it first in 1704. However, the idea got traction after the French revolution, with decimalisations all over the world based on the 1795 reform that replaced the livre tournois by a franc, divided in 10 décimes (compare the latin decimam, one tenth), each worth 10 centimes (compare the latin centesimam, one hundredth). US decimalisation was in fact reforming a "dollar" of 8 reales of 34 maravedi each to a dollar of 10 dismes, each worth 10 cents. Maybe that link between décime and dime got you thinking.

Nevertheless, one characteristic of pre-decimal coins is retained on US coins: they seldom carry a denomination in figures. From an international point of view, this is highly unusual.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.