FR | EN | 

Discover all the news and articles from TNUMIS Magazine exclusively

The 10 Louis d’or, a fascinating coin

What are the rarest and most expensive French coinages? There are different major periods in French numismatics, from Antiquity to the arrival of the Euro. Royal coins are examples, and the 10 Louis d’or is one of the most beautiful french coins of all time.

Le louis d’or, a mythical coin

French Royal coins are very popular with numismatists. Some of them are even famous among neophytes, being sources of legends and hope. Who has never dreamed of finding a golden Louis hidden in his backyard? The Louis d’Or is a word for all the coins minted in gold between 1640 and 1792.

The 10 Louis d’or is historical. Louis XIII, accompanied by his minister, Cardinal Richelieu, spent his reign reasserting power to bring order to France. One of the many reforms was the one of currency. The Edict of Saint-Germain of March 31, 1640 created the Louis, a new gold coin for the kingdom, bearing the effigy of the king. It marked the beginning of a new monetary system. The coins of ten Louis d’or were minted with a pendulum, a new coining technique. Coins were previously minted with a hammer.

There are three main types of louis d’or: demi Louis d’or, louis d’or and double Louis d’or. The kings who succeed Louis XIII will keep the same currency, from the middle of the 17th century to the end of the 18th century, being represented in profile to mark their power.

There are differences according to eras and reigns: louis d’or à la mèche longue, aux palmes, aux lunettes, à la tête nue, etc. The designs differ depending on the period.

At the same time, large-format gold coins were created, in very small quantities: the four, eight and ten Louis.

dix louis or
© Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

The ten louis d’or

Among the various vintages, the ten louis d’or coin is one of the most exceptional French royal coins. The 10 Louis d’or represents Louis XIII, king of France. There are two variants. On one of them, the king is struck with a draped collar in the antique style called “au buste habillé”. On the other, Louis XIII is drawn with a naked bust. The two engravings were made by Jean Varin, French sculptor and engraver.

  • Its dimensions and weight are atypical. Imposing, the most prestigious French coin has a diameter of 4.5 cm and is made of pure gold at 917 thousandths. It weighs more than 67 grams, while a more classic gold Louis weighs about 7 grams.
  • The 10 Louis d’or is a coin that has never been put into circulation. This pleasure coin was made for court games. It is not known exactly how many do exist, but very few of them are known today.
  • Its aesthetic quality is remarkable.

Ten louis d’or coins are extremely rare and highly prized. A ten louis d’or, minted in 1640 under Louis XIII, sold for more than CHF 700,000 in 2019 by a famous Swiss auction house.

Discover even more fascinating pieces in our store.

Sources :

Last published articles

Operation Bernhard: when history and numismatics intertwine


The world of numismatics is often woven with stories and events of historical significance. Among these episodes, Operation Bernhard stands out as a dark but fascinating…

The 1933 twenty-dollar coin

bust of American eagle gold

Twenty-dollar coins were minted in the United States for almost a century, between 1907 and 1933. These gold coins have a special place in American numismatics, and tell the story…

The Latin Union: a part of European numismatic history

In the fascinating world of numismatics, the Latin Union reveals itself as a multi-faceted monetary epic. This alliance of nations, created at the end of the 19th century, left its…

Discover all articles