Author Topic: France: Weight for couronne d'or royale of Philippe VI (1340)  (Read 258 times)

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Offline FosseWay

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France: Weight for couronne d'or royale of Philippe VI (1340)
« on: November 19, 2021, 11:03:01 AM »
Can anyone shed any light on this, because Google can't  ;)

It is made of brass, 18.2 mm and 5.18 g. I presume it's French (since the text is in French) but am not sure whether it's a coin weight or a weight for something else. It reads POIS DE CORNE; in modern French it would be POIDS. I can find no record of a denomination or a unit of mass called the corne. Google searches are difficult because I get peas and horns and nothing useful.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 09:17:26 PM by FosseWay »

Offline brandm24

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Re: French coin weight (?)
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2021, 03:02:26 PM »
An interesting piece but, unfortunately, I can't help in identifying it. I am curious though as to the "defacement" on the reverse. Can you tell if it's intentional or simply part of the design?

Bruce
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: French coin weight (?)
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2021, 03:28:55 PM »
Calling it a "design" is a bit of a stretch!  ;D

I've got three theories about the reverse:

- it's an attempt to deface something that was there before (if so, it's very effective)
- it's just how the other side of the blank looked when it was struck (if it was struck) or how the other side of the mould looked if it was cast
- it's been intentionally made overweight and then filed down to get a better degree of precision.

If it's had material removed in order to obscure design elements, you'd expect it to be underweight relative to the unit/coin it's supposed to represent. If it's been filed down as a way of fine-tuning the weight to get it precise, you'd expect it to be precise. But either way, you need to know what it's supposed to be weighing, which I don't!

Offline brandm24

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Re: French coin weight (?)
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2021, 05:16:23 PM »
I agree, the term "design" is a stretch. Couldn't think of another word to describe the mutilation...Train wreck, maybe?

I suppose they could be adjustment marks to pare the weight down to a predetermined number. This was commonly done on very early American silver coinage. The coins were struck over the marks but at times were still evident on the finished product. These aren't considered damage as it was part of the minting process.

In the case of your piece they're extremely heavy so I'd be hesitant to call them adjustment marks.

Bruce
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: French coin weight (?)
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2021, 05:27:27 PM »
In the case of your piece they're extremely heavy so I'd be hesitant to call them adjustment marks.

Thanks for that insight - if adjustment marks tend to be finer, that probably counts against that particular theory.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: French coin weight (?)
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2021, 07:19:55 PM »
The crown and spelling are indications that the weight is pre-revolutionary. Corne is probably horn, presumably not used as decorative material but as medicine. If so, this would be an apothecary weight for a standard amount of ground horn. The weight of this piece seems too much for a single recipe, though.

Shall we ask our French partners what they think of this?

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

Offline FosseWay

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Re: French coin weight (?)
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2021, 07:26:26 PM »
Shall we ask our French partners what they think of this?

Please do  :)

Offline brandm24

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Re: French coin weight (?)
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2021, 09:59:13 PM »
Thanks for that insight - if adjustment marks tend to be finer, that probably counts against that particular theory.
Adjustment marks were very fine lines on the planchet that were often obliterated when the coin was struck. Small files were used to adjust the weight which was generally close to standard anyway.

Bruce
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: French coin weight (?)
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2021, 09:53:32 AM »
Merci beaucoup!

Offline FosseWay

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Re: French coin weight (?)
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2021, 08:51:31 PM »
And the good folk of numismatique.com have come up trumps!  :)

Quote from: De Gilley on numismatique.com
Poids pour la (rarissime) couronne d'or royale de Philippe VI.

+ POIS DE CORNE est très certainement une variante abréviative non répertoriée de + POIS DE CORONE (Poids de la couronne).

45 au marc = 5,43g

The question that remains is this: There is about 0,25 g difference between the weight of the couronne and my weight. Can that be due to the mangling of the reverse, and if so, what might have been there that has been erased?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 09:18:37 PM by FosseWay »

Offline Figleaf

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Re: France: Weight for couronne d'or royale of Philippe VI (1340)
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2021, 10:08:39 PM »
The usual reverse of a coin weight is either blank or the same as the obverse. I can't see a reason why you'd want to obliterate one side only. Assuming the other side was blank, the only reason for decorating the reverse like this seems to me adjusting the weight.

It makes no sense to make a coin weight too light. If you'd use it subsequently for internal checking, you'd be cheating yourself. If you'd use it with clients, it wouldn't work either, as the receiver, not the payer would check the coin's weight at the time of payment. In view of the value of the gold coin, it is unlikely that the receiver would trust the payer's weight or would not have a balance himself.

The only logical solution is that the weight was adjusted for internal checking of another type of coin, not necessarily French and possibly English, as the couronne d'or was issued at the time of the 100-years war. Bankers and merchants would suddenly have been faced with an influx of English coins for which they had no weights, while they did have weights for coins that apparently did not see much circulation and would not be re-issued at the same weight, as French coinage was debased repeatedly in the period 1337-1349. A banker's or merchant's file may have been cruder than an official's or jeweller's file.

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

Offline Figleaf

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Re: French coin weight (?)
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2021, 10:20:02 PM »
And the good folk of numismatique.com have come up trumps!

They have indeed and it's not the first time both sites have profited from our partnership. It is a vivid illustration of how the value of a network increases exponentially as you add content.

We are now working on something similar with the Numismatic Society of Ireland. It will be adjusted to their needs and wishes, so it will be different, but it will enrich both sides also.

If you are a member of a site or coin society that is
  • Numismatic in character
  • Strictly non-commercial
  • Open to co-operation
let's start a conversation.

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

Offline FosseWay

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Re: France: Weight for couronne d'or royale of Philippe VI (1340)
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2021, 09:13:33 AM »
The only logical solution is that the weight was adjusted for internal checking of another type of coin, not necessarily French and possibly English, as the couronne d'or was issued at the time of the 100-years war. Bankers and merchants would suddenly have been faced with an influx of English coins for which they had no weights, while they did have weights for coins that apparently did not see much circulation and would not be re-issued at the same weight, as French coinage was debased repeatedly in the period 1337-1349. A banker's or merchant's file may have been cruder than an official's or jeweller's file.

An interesting suggestion that I hadn't considered. However, from memory, English gold coins from that period are as rare as French ones. I'm at work atm (i.e. physically in the office, which is rare these days) and don't have access to my books but from memory the first English gold series was struck in small numbers in 1344. It would be interesting to see whether that issue or any of its fractions/multiples matches the modified weight. I'll look in Spink when I get home.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: France: Weight for couronne d'or royale of Philippe VI (1340)
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2021, 10:25:01 AM »
Not necessarily gold, English or contemporary and I may be over-interpreting.

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