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Could you find the secret mark ?

Could you find the secret mark ?

The French “Secret Mint Marks”
from 1380 to 1539

For our first article we decided to introduce to our English speaking readers a tool to understand a part of the French coinage: more precisely from the Late Middle Age to the beginning of the Renaissance. A complex coinage for neophytes. A complex coinage did you say ? Indeed, if you don't have the right tools to read and understand the information. This tool is a list showing the ”secret mint marks ” and their position listed by King’s reigns. More than a list it is a succession of explanatory tables.

 

 

But first, what are “secret mint marks”?

“Secret mint marks” were created by a royal ordinance on September 11th 1389 during Charles VI of France's reign (1380-1422).

The text is stating : “Ce sont les différances ordonnées estre mises pour les monnaies d'or et d'argent, tant du Royaume comme du Dalphiné faictes sur le pié de monnoie 27e, et furent envoiez es dictes monnoies les fers ou estoient lesdictes différances et mandé aux gardes qu'ils les faissent faire semblables doresnavant.” Basically, it has been decided that a sign would be stamped on gold and silver coins so that the mints would be distinguished.

            The sign is stamped under one of the legend's letters (obverse and reverse). It can either be a point, a circle, a crescent or a cross. These differences in the secret mint marks can reveal different issues. During Charles VI's reign, the first issue is represented by a point; the fourth is represented by a circle. The secret mint mark indicates the mint where the coin was struck according to its position from the first letter, etc. Thus under Charles VI's reign the secret mark standing under the first letter indicates the Cremieu's mint, the secret mark standing under the second letter of the coin indicates the Roman's mint, etc.

 

The secret mint mark is in fact a coin's identity card. 

It allows us to place its issue on a map before dates and mint letters.

secret_point_on_coinssecret_points_on_coins_numiscorner

https://www.numiscorner.com/products/france-ecu-dor-montpellier-au50-53-gold-sombart-4878-3-40

 

 

We will see that these secret mint marks can change according to the reigns or the periods and that we have to be watchful.

Here is the list of secrets mint marks varying under each King of France’s reign.

 

Charles VI (1380-1422) :

charles_VI
Dialogues de Pierre Salmon, (1411-1413), Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms.fr.165 fo 4.
 

Mint Mark position on the coin

Mints

1

Crémieu

2

Roman

3

Mirabel et par la suite Montélimar

4

Montpellier

5

Toulouse

6

Tours

7

Angers

8

Poitiers

9

La Rochelle

10

Limoges

11

Saint-Pourcain

12

Mâcon

13

Dijon

14

Troyes

15

Rouen

16

Tournai

17

Saint-Quentin

18

Paris

19

Saint-Lô

20

Villeneuve-Saint-André lès Avignon

 

Charles VII (1422-1461)

FOUQUET Jean, Charles VII, Roi de France
 

Mint Mark position on the coin

Mints

1

Cremieu

2

Romans

3

Embrun then Montélimar Mint in 1426

4

Montpellier

5

Toulouse

6

Tours

7

Angers

8

Poitiers

9

La Rochelle

10

Limoges

11

Saint-Pourcain

12

Macon

14

Troyes

15

Rouen

16

Tournai

17

Saint-Quentin

18

Paris

19

Saint-Lô

20

Villeneuve-Saint-André-lès-Avignon

21

Châlons-sur-Marne

 

 

B final

Bourges

V gothique

Villefranche-de-Rouergue

C final

Chinon

Trèfle

Lyon

Nef

Bordeaux

 
 

Louis XI (1461-1483)

Mint Mark position on the coin

Mints

1

Cremieu

2

Romans

3

Montélimar

4

Montpellier

5

Toulouse

6

Tours

7

Angers

8

Poitiers

9

La Rochelle

10

Limoges

11

Saint-Pourcain

12

Lyon

13

Dijon

14

Troyes

15

Rouen

16

Tournai

17

Amiens

18

Paris

19

Saint-Lô

20

Villeneuve-Saint-André-lès-Avignon

 

Charles VIII (1483-1498)

Mint Mark position on the coin

Mints

1

Crémieu

2

Romans

3

Montélimar

4

Montpellier

5

Toulouse

6

Tours

7

Angers

8

Poitiers

9

La Rochelle

10

Limoges

10

Saint-Pourçain

12

Lyon

13

Dijon

14

Troyes

15

Rouen

16

Tournai

17

Amiens

18

Paris

19

Saint-Lô

20

Villeneuve-Saint-André-Lès-Avignon

21

Chalons-sur-Marne

A

Aix-en-Provence

B

Bourges

N

Nantes

P

Perpignan

R

Rennes

T

Tarascon

V (gothique)

Villefranche-de-Rouergue

Ancre

Bayonne

Écusson

Marseille

Rose

Grenoble

Louis XII (1498-1515)

Mint Mark position on the coin

Mints

1

Crémieu

2

Romans

3

Montélimar

4

Montpellier

5

Toulouse

6

Tours

7

Angers

8

Poitiers

9

La Rochelle

10

Limoges

11

Saint-Pourçain

12

Lyon

13

Dijon

14

Troyes

15

Rouen

16

Tournai

17

Amiens

18

Paris

19

Saint-Lô

20

Villeneuve-Saint-André-Lès-Avignon

21

Chalons-sur-Marne

A

Aix-en-Provence

B

Bourges

N

Nantes

R

Rennes

T

Tarascon

V (gothique)

Villefranche-de-Rouergue

Ancre

Bayonne

Rose

Grenoble

 
 

François Ier (1515-1547)

Mint Mark position on the coin
Letters
Mints
18
A
Paris
15
B
Rouen
19
C
Saint-Lô
12
D
Lyon
6
E
Tours
7
F
Angers
8
G
Poitiers
9
H
La Rochelle
10
I
Limoges
 
K
Bordeaux
 
L
Bayonne
5
M
Toulouse
 
N (at the end)
Nantes
4
N
Montpelier
11
O
Saint-Pourçain
13
P
Dijon
22
Q
Chalons-sur-Marne
20
R
Villeneuve-Saint-André
14
S
Troyes
21
T
Sainte-Menehould
 
T (on lowest part)
Turin
 
V
Turin
 
X
Villefranche-de-Rouergue
 
Y
Bourges
2
Y
Romans
 
Z
Grenoble
 
Z (Barré)
Marseille
 
Z (Cursif)
Rennes
1
Couronne
Crémieu
 
Monde croisé
Montélimar
 
Étoile
Chambéry
 

The end of secret mint marks ?

The secret mint marks officially disappear in 1539 during Francois I’s reign (1515-1547) and the ordinance of Soissons on January 14th. From then on, each mint of the realm receives a new sign with an alphabet's letter. However, the secret mint marks do not immediately disappear since tradition lasts. Some mints still use it during Louis XIV's reign, that is to say more than 100 years after the ordinance of Soissons!

 

 

 

In short

  • Secret mint mark was created in 1389
  • It is a coin's identity card
  • It allows us to place its issue on a map before dates and mint letters
  • Secret mint marks officially disappear in 1539
Could you find the secret mark?

What Should I Read Next?

Written by Thierry PRUVOST - 02.06.16 - 11h11.
Keywords : CharlesVi Charlesvii Charlesviii Francoisier Frenchcoins Louisxi Louisxii Secretmintmark ThierryPruvost
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John

Nice article! Thanks

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