Rare, important New France coin brings nearly $75K at auction

A centuries-old silver coin struck for use in the pre-Canadian colony of New France sold for $60,000 US (about $74,700 Cdn.) at an auction yesterday in Texas.

The 1670-A 15-sol coin is an “extremely rare denomination,” according to auctioneers with Heritage Auctions, which offered one of only about 14 surviving examples on March 17.

The two-day sale, which continues today, is the latest of several offerings from the Donald Partrick Collection, the first part of which went to auction in 2015, when 354 of his U.S. colonial coins brought nearly $26 million US. Between last October and this January, another four sales offered his Connecticut coppers; hard-times tokens and merchant tokens; merchant counterstamps; and more colonial rarities.

Yesterday and today’s sessions offer Partrick’s “extraordinary colonial coinage,” including the 351-year-old 15-sol coin.

The reverse (shown) features the arms of ‘France Modern,’ with three fleurs-de-lis.

THE EDICT OF FEB. 19, 1670

French King Louis XIV authorized three coins – a two-sol copper coin plus five- and 15-sol silver coins – for “Nouvelle France” in his edict of Feb. 19, 1670.

The first coins issued for use in what’s now Canada, they came 136 years after Jacques Cartier first claimed land in Québec’s Gaspé Peninsula for French King Francis I.

“The A mintmark on these pieces indicates their production at the Paris Mint,” auctioneers said. “While there were no coins struck for exclusive use in Canada, these pieces were intended to be used in all of the French New World colonies, including Canada and the Caribbean.”

Certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. as Very Fine-30, the 15-sol coin offered this March is “an exceptionally important piece both numismatically and historically,” auctioneers added. It crossed the block as Lot 15007.

By the early 1700s, the French colonies stretched west beyond the Great Lakes region and south through to the Gulf of Mexico at present-day New Orleans, founded as La Nouvelle-Orléans in 1718.

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