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French Renaissance rulers

Part 1
Jean II de Bourbon, 1459-1488
Anne de Bretagne, Duchess of Brittany 1498-1514 and Queen consort of France
Louis XII,   King of France 1498-1515
Part 2
Louise of Savoy,   mother of François I ➜
François I,   King of France 1515-1547
The three young sons of King François I.
here Part 3
Henri II,   King of France 1547-1559

Henri II ,   King of France 1547-1559
As a child, Henri II was kept hostage in Spain for four years in place of his father, until François I and Charles V came to an agreement in 1526. When Henri followed his father on the French throne in 1547, he continued his father's warfare against the Emperor. Although he vigorously suppressed protestants within his own kingdom, Henri promised troops and subsidies to Maurice of Saxony and the German Protestant princes who were fighting the Emperor in 1552. In return, they agreed to France's taking possession of Toul, Verdun and Metz. Emperor Charles tried in vain to recapture Metz.
A workshop was founded in Paris in 1547 in order to provide the mints of the country with dies. All mints were closed in early 1549 and then reopened one after the other until mid-1551. Henry II introduced the rule for all of his coins to indicate the year of their mintage. See a list of mint marks

Double Henri d'or, 1st type, 1552 Paris (A & Pt 18e)  Ø 28 mm, 7,23 g. Dupl.971A; Friedb.367
Obv.:  HENRICVS·II·D·G·FRAN·REX·   -   Bare-headed armored bust to the right.
Rev.:  DVM·TOTVM⩈COMPLEAT·ORBEM·1552    ⩈ = Sign for Bastien de Riberolles.
Four crowned H arranged as a cross, moons and lilies in the angles, mintmark A in the middle.

Henri d'or 1551, Saint-Lô. (L)     Ø 25 mm, 3,60 g.  Ciani 1244; Dupl. 972; Friedb.368.
"might he fill the universe"   or in French: "pour qu'il remplisse l'universe" or "jusque à sa plénitude"
Four crowned "H" form a cross, in the angles two lilies and two crescent moons.
In the middle: C as sign for the mint of Saint-Lô.   This is a hammered coinage.

Teston 1st type, 1549, Lyon (D & Pt.12).     9,44 g.   Ciani 1264; Dupl. 981.
Rev.:   +XPS(Christus)·VINCIT·XPS REGNAT·XPS·IMPErat·1549F
The "Point secret" under the 12th letter and the D under the arms indicate the mint of Lyon.
This is a hammered coinage.   Both sides have a central dot.

Teston 1st type, 1550, Paris (A & Pt.18).       Dupl. 981.
As before, but from mint Paris:
"Point secret" under the 18th Letter in the obverse and an A under the coat of arms.

Teston 2nd type, 1553, Rouen (B & Pt.15).       Dupl. 983.

Teston 2nd type, 1554, Poitiers (G & Pt.-).       Dupl. 983.

Teston 2nd type, 1554, Toulouse (M & Pt.5).       Dupl. 983.

The preceding pieces are stuck coins, the following are milled coins manufactured with a screw press
using round planchets, which were stamped out from roller pressed strips.

Teston du moulin n. d., Paris (A).       Ciani 1264; Dupl. 987A.
Obv.:   ✠HENRIᑢVS II DEI G FRANᑢOR REX  -  Head with laurel to the right.
Rev.:   ✠ᑢHRS VINᑢIT CHRS REGNAZ CHRS IMP  -  Crowned fleur-de-lis shield and mark A for Paris.

Künker, Osnabrück: Auct.119 no.778 (2.2007) hammer price 700 EUR
Teston du moulin 1554, Paris (A).     Ø 28 mm, 9,57 g.   Ciani 1285; Dupl. 990.
Rev.:   + CHRistuS·VINCIT CHRistuS REGNAT CHRistuS IMPerat (monogram EB) 1554
crowned arms of France with an A below indicating the mint of Paris.
Milled coinage ("du moulin") using perhaps a collar(*). This piece seems to be perfectly circular.
Touch the picture with the cursor to appreciate this.
In 1551, the mechanised mint "Monnaie du Moulin des Étuves" opened in Paris. The name refers to the water wheel "moulin" which was installed on a ship anchored in the river Seine. The water wheel drove the rolling mill designed to produce even gauge strips. The mint used the recently invented screw press or "balancier" for minting. It produced coins of improved quality since 1552. However, the moneyers' resistance shipwrecked the mint in 1558, and it took another century until the screw press was adopted for coinage in France.
  (*)   D.R.Cooper, The Art and Craft of COINMAKING, 1988, page 54.

Double Henri d'or à la Gallia n. d.     Ø 29 mm, 7,26 g.   Dupl.978; Friedb.372.
As follows, but from other dies and FRACOR instead of FRANCO.

Piéfort as 8 Henri d'or à la Gallia, 1555.    Ø 29 mm, 3 mm thick, 29,15 g.  Friedb.- (≈372).
Specimen from Bibliothèque nationale de France minted in Moulin des Étuves (Monnaie du Moulin), Paris.

Obv.:   HENRICVS·II·DEI·G·FRANCO·REX   -   Laureate bust right in pomp armor.
Rev.:   OPTIMO - PRINCIPI EB [ligated monogram]
Seated Gallia holds Victoria, who hands her a laurel wreath. Exergue: GALLIA.
"depart from me all ye evildoers".
The coinage used a "balancier" with an engraved collar carrying the inscription of the edge.
Thick planchets probably made easier the first attempts with the new technology.
[Look at Edge Rimming in The Art and Craft of COINMAKING by Denis R. Cooper]
Stack's Bowers less nice piece (January 2020, NYINC Auction, lot 20311, estimated 80.000 USD) remained unsold.

Compare the drawing in profile [Musée Condé in Chantilly]
as well as the oil on panel [Louvre], both made ca.1547 by François Clouet.

Henri d'or 1559, Bayonne (L).     Ø 25 mm, 3,61 g.   Ciani 1246; Dupl. 1028; Friedb.377c.
Laurel chest picture in armor to the right, below a horizontal anchor, sign for Bayonne.
Rev.:   ✶DVM TOTVM·COMPLEAT·ORBEM·1559   "So that he can fill the universe"
Four crowned monograms placed in a cross, lilies in the corners. In the middle an L for Bayonne.

1/2 Teston 2. Typ, 1560, Toulouse (M).       Dupl. 1032.

Teston 1561, Saint-Lô (C, posthumous coinage).       Dupl. 1052.


Cast bronze medal 1552.     Ø 55 mm.   TNG pl.XII,1; Mazerolle 99.
Commemorating French victories against the Holy Roman Empire.

Obv.:   HENRICVS·II·GALLIARVM REX INVICTISSimus·Pater Patriae·   "Henry II, the most invincible king of France, father of the fatherland"   -   laureate and armoured bust right.
"For things done courageously and happily in Italy, Germany and France"
Pax with feather and Abundantia with cornucopia, both on Quadriga driven by Fame, her trombone
directed forward.     Exergue:
EX VOTO PVBlico 1552   "At public request"

Cast medal n. d. (1552-56)   by Étienne de Laune     Ø 52,5 mm.
Armand III,285D; TNG XI,5; Mazerolle 103; Kress 542.

Obv.:   HENRICVS·II·FRANCORum REX INVICTISSimus·Pater Patriae·   "Henry II, the most invincible king of France, father of the fatherland"   -   laureate and armoured bust right.
"They have blessed you with plenty, victory and fame"   -   Similar to above, trombone now held back.
NVIA (=Novaria?)

Look at the medal from 1552 on emperor Charles' V failed attempt to recapture Metz (in German).

• Duplessy, Jean :  Les Monnaies Françaises Royales de Hugues Capet à Louis XVI (987-1793),
    2º édition 1999, vol.1: up to Louis XII; vol.2: since François Ier
• Ciani, Louis :  Les monnaies royales francaises de Hugues Capet a Louis XVI,   Paris 1926
TNGTrésor de Numismatique et de Glyptique ... Médailles françaises depuis le règne de Charles VII,
    Paris 1836 & online
• Hoffmann, H. :  Les monnaies royales de France depuis Hugues Capet jusqu'à Louis XVI,
    Paris 1878 & online
• Mazerolle, Fernand :  Les médailleurs français du 15e siècle au milieu du 17e,   Paris 1902 & online
• Armand, Alfred :  Les médailleurs italiens des quinzième et seizième siècles, 3 vol.   Paris 1883 & online

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