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The Hidden Treasure of the Rue Mouffetard

The treasure of the Rue Mouffetard is a fabulous French numismatic find. This story of gold coins hidden in a mystic hoarder’s apartment, in the heart of Paris, has aroused great curiosity. The Louis XV period treasure is now recognized worldwide, and it is the object of covetousness of most of our collectors.

The next day, the commissioner of Mouffetard, Mr. Duhaut, the contractor and a bailiff go to the scene of the treasure of the street Mouffetard. The excavations are continued. In addition to dozens of rolls of gold coins, they found several parchments, fragments of wills of a certain Louis Nivelle “Squire, Counselor, Secretary of the King, Court Usher in the Chancellery of the Palace.” The most complete one dates from November 16, 1756, in which he destined the loot to his daughter Anne-Louise-Claude Nivelle. Unfortunately for her, he disappeared before having warned her…

The newspapers and the neighbors seized on the event with euphoria. The treasure of the rue Mouffetard made the front page of Paris Soir, Le Matin, Le Petit Parisien, etc. The front page of Ce Soir was entitled “It was gold! Rue Mouffetard, demolition workers discover a treasure.” The district became the “rue au Magot,” a little joker covered the building with an inscription: “Mine d’or.”

A hidden treasure

Questions remain in people’s minds: why did this rich man living on rue de la Coutellerie hide his fortune in an apartment in the 5th District? What happened to Louis Nivelle? What will happen to the treasure?

The genealogists quickly began their research. Eighty-four people were recognized as heirs to this fabulous discovery. After investigation, it seems that Mr. Nivelle lived a double life, sometimes well ordered with his wife and daughter, sometimes mystical and irrational on rue Mouffetard. He was introduced to the Jansenist deacon François de Pâris, a man who lived in asceticism and dedicated his life to the poor of the Mouffetard District. When he died, he was buried in the Saint-Médard cemetery. On the day of his burial, a woman suffering from paralysis regained the use of her arm and thus began the “affair of the convulsionaries” under Louis XV. Men and women who went to his grave were seized by convulsions and the desire for torture. Sects were created and secret gatherings took place. The apartment in the rue Mouffetard, a stone’s throw from the cemetery, was certainly rented by Louis Nivelle to engage in dubious practices. It’s in this strange atmosphere that he decided to hide all his fortune in the walls of this apartment.

The sharing of the treasure of the rue Mouffetard

In total, the treasure of the rue Mouffetard was composed only of gold coins of the reign of Louis XV:

  • 3210 Louis d’or aux lunettes et au bandeau
  • 258 double-louis d’or au bandeau
  • 87 demi-louis d’or au bandeau et aux lunettes

The coins were minted between 1726 and 1756, in the 29 workshops of the kingdom. Some coins are very rare, such as two double-louis from the Troyes workshop, minted in 1743.

So who will get the treasure of the rue Mouffetard?

A first public sale was organized on April 5, 1939, to pay the legal fees, the safe and the numismatic expertise. Two hundred and five coins were sold for a total of 210 000 francs. Then the war broke out and the judgment was rendered only on June 2, 1949.

The treasure of the rue Mouffetard having been legally declared, the provisions relating to the fortuitous discoveries of treasures apply. The split is divided into three parts between the discoverers, the city of Paris, as the owner of the building, and the certified heirs of Anne Nivelle, that is to say the 84 persons found.

The part of the treasure stated in the wills is the inheritance (2812 coins). The other loose coins are considered as a find (539 coins) and shared in half between the city of Paris and the nine discoverers.

Several sales were organized with the shares of the rightful owners of the treasure. These sales were appraised by the BOURGEY firm, a prestigious numismatic auction house:

  • sale of March 20 and 21, 1952
  • sale of June 6, 1955
  • sale of December 8, 1972
sale mouffetard

Come and find on our store coins from this fabulous French treasure for sale! Internationally recognized, they are a tempting target to many numismatists.

All coins are accompanied by the necessary certifications authenticating the provenance of the treasure of the rue Mouffetard (PCGS grading / original labels / original sleeves, etc.).

Sources : Trésors Archives secrètes, Sabine Bourgey, 1991 Trésors, Légendes et réalités, Sabine Bourgey, 1994 Monnaie magazine

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