King Louis orders Canada’s first coinage

On today’s date in 1670, King Louis XIV of France ordered 100,000 livres in coinage minted for New France.

Nearly three-and-a-half centuries ago – about 250 years before Canadian Confederation – the first coins issued for use in what would later become Canada were minted. With New France’s humble beginnings came the need for a local currency, which was met halfway by the use of French coins. However, in 1670, King Louis XIV issued new coinage for use in the France’s North American colonies.

In his book Coins, Tokens and Medals of the Dominion of Canada: Supplement, Alfred Sandham said Louis XIV minted new coinage for New France “to facilitate commerce in Canada. … This money was to be of the same weight, as that of France.”

Denominations of 5 and 15 sols were struck in silver and a 2-deniers piece struck in copper. The coins’ Latin inscription refers to the king, whose bust is depicted on the obverse: “They shall speak of thy glory of thy kingdom.” Beneath the inscription is the Paris Mint mark, “A”.

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