The FRANC (/fræŋk/ ; French: ; sign : F or FR), also commonly
distinguished as the FRENCH FRANC (FF), was a currency of
* 1 History
* 1.1 Before the
* 1.3 French Empire and Restoration
Latin Monetary Union
World War I
* 2 Coins
* 3 Banknotes * 4 De facto currency * 5 See also * 6 Notes
* 7 References
* 7.1 Citations * 7.2 Bibliography
* 8 External links
BEFORE THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
The first franc was a gold coin introduced in 1360 to pay the Ransom
of King John II of
John II died as a prisoner in England and his son, Charles V was left to pick up the pieces. And so he did. Charles V pursued a policy of reform, including stable coinage. An edict dated 20 April 1365 established the centerpiece of this policy, a gold coin officially called the denier d’or aux fleurs de lis which had a standing figure of the king on its obverse. Its value in money of account was one livre tournois, just like the franc à cheval, and this coin is universally known as a franc à pied. In accordance with the theories of the mathematician, economist and royal advisor Nicolas Oresme, Charles struck fewer coins of better gold than his predecessors. In the accompanying deflation both prices and wages fell, but wages fell faster and debtors had to settle up in better money than they had borrowed. The Mayor of Paris, Etienne Marcel, exploited their discontent to lead a revolt which forced Charles V out of the city. The franc fared better. It became associated with money stable at one livre tournois
Henry III exploited the association of the franc as sound money worth one livre tournois when he sought to stabilize French currency in 1577. By this time, inflows of gold and silver from Spanish America had caused inflation throughout the world economy and the kings of France, who weren’t getting much of this wealth, only made things worse by manipulating the values assigned to their coins. The States General which met at Blois in 1577 added to the public pressure to stop currency manipulation. Henry III agreed to do this and he revived the franc, now as a silver coin valued at one livre tournois. This coin and its fractions circulated until 1641 when Louis XIII of France replaced it with the silver Écu . Nevertheless, the name "franc" continued in accounting as a synonym for the livre tournois.
1795 five centimes, the first year of decimal fractions for the franc. 1799 two-decimes essai coin Three separate strikes of the proposed two-decimes coin (not adopted)
The decimal "franc" was established as the national currency by the
French Revolutionary Convention in 1795 as a decimal unit (1 franc =
10 décimes = 100 centimes) of 4.5 g of fine silver . This was
slightly less than the livre of 4.505 g, but the franc was set in 1796
at 1.0125 livres (1 livre, 3 deniers ), reflecting in part the past
minting of sub-standard coins.
Coinage with explicit denominations in decimal fractions of the franc
also began in 1795. Decimalization of the franc was mandated by an
act of 7 April 1795, which also dealt with of weights and measures.
The circulation of this metallic currency declined during the Republic: the old gold and silver coins were taken out of circulation and exchanged for printed assignats , initially issued as bonds backed by the value of the confiscated goods of churches, but later declared as legal tender currency. The withdrawn gold and silver coins were used to finance wars and to import food, which was in short supply.
As during the "Mississippi Bubble " in 1715-20, too many assignats
were put in circulation, exceeding the value of the "national
properties", and the coins, due also to military requisitioning and
hoarding, rarefied to pay foreign suppliers. With national government
debt remaining unpaid, and a shortage of silver and brass to mint
coins, confidence in the new currency declined, leading to
hyperinflation, more food riots, severe political instability and
termination of the
First French Republic
FRENCH EMPIRE AND RESTORATION
In 1800 the Banque de
This coinage included the first modern gold coins with denominations
in francs. It abandoned the revolutionary symbols of the coinage 1795,
LATIN MONETARY UNION
WORLD WAR I
The value of the old French franc, in 2007 euros . Years shaded in gold indicate fixing to the gold standard .
The outbreak of
World War I
WORLD WAR II
During the Nazi occupation of
At the liberation, the US attempted to impose use of the US occupation franc , which was averted by General De Gaulle.
1958 10-franc coin
After World War II,
The value of the new French franc, in 2007 euros. Years shaded in light blue indicate fixed exchange rate to the euro .
In January 1960 the
After revaluation and the introduction of the new franc, many French people continued to use old francs (anciens francs), to describe large sums (throughout the 1980s and well in to the 1990s and virtually until the introduction of the euro, many people, old and young – even those who had never used the old franc – were still referring to the old franc, confusing people). For example, lottery prizes were most often advertised in amounts of centimes, equivalent to the old franc, basically to inflate the perceived value of the prizes at stake. Multiples of 10NF were occasionally referred to as "mille francs" (thousand francs) or "mille balles" ("balle" being a slang word for franc) in contexts where it was clear that the speaker did not mean 1,000 new francs. The expression "heavy franc" (franc lourd) was also commonly used to designate the new franc.
All franc coins and banknotes ceased to be legal tender in January 2002, upon the official adoption of the euro .
ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION
From 1 January 1999, the value exchange rate of the French franc against the euro was set at a fixed parity of €1 = 6.55957 F. Euro coins and notes replaced the franc entirely between 1 January and 17 February 2002.
BEFORE WORLD WAR I
French francs from the Consulship period 1803–04 one franc 1803–04 two francs 1803–04 five francs 1803–04 gold 20 francs 1889 proof gold 100 francs (only 100 struck).
In August 1795, the Monetary Law replaced the livre ("pound") with
the franc, which was divided into 10 décimes ("tenths") and 100
The 5-centime copper coin was called a sou , referring to "sole" (fr. Latin: solidus), until the 1920s.
An Imperial 10-décime coin was produced in billon from 1807 to 1810.
During the Consulship period (1799–1804) silver francs were struck in decimal coinage. A five-franc coin was first introduced in 1801–02 (L’AN 10), half-franc, one-franc, and gold 40-franc coins were introduced in 1802–03 (L’AN 11), and quarter-franc and two-franc coins in 1803–04 (L’AN 12).
The 5-franc silver coin was called an écu , after the six-livre silver coin of the ancien regime, until the 1880s.
A new bronze coinage was introduced from 1848. The Second Republic Monetary Authority minted a 1-centime copper coin with a 1795 design. 2, 5 and 10-centime coins were issued from 1853. The quarter franc was discontinued, with silver 20-centime coins issued between 1849 and 1868 as the smallest silver coin produced in France.
The gold coinage also changed. 40-franc coins were last struck in 1839 (with just 23 coins minted). Several new denomination were introduced as gold coinage: 5 gold francs (1856), 10 gold francs (1850), 50 gold francs (1855), and 100 gold francs (1855). A second design for the 100 gold franc coin was released in 1878 depicting standing genius writing the constitution. The pictured example (1889) was issued as a proof and only 100 coins were struck.
The last gold 5-franc pieces were minted in 1869, and silver 5-franc
coins were last minted in 1878. After 1815, the 20-franc gold coin was
called a "napoléon " (royalists still called this coin a "louis "),
and so that is the colloquial term for this coin until the present.
WORLD WAR I
World War I
In 1929, silver coins were reintroduced in 10-franc and 20-franc denominations. A very rare gold 100-franc coin was minted between 1929 and 1936.
In 1933, a nickel 5-franc coin was minted, but was soon replaced by a large aluminum-bronze 5-franc coin.
FROM WORLD WAR II TO THE CURRENCY REFORM
Vichy French zinc and aluminum coins made during World War II.
These coins circulated in both Vichy
The events of Second World War also affected the coinage substantially. In 1941, aluminum replaced aluminum-bronze in the 50 centimes, and 1, 2, and 5 francs as copper and nickel were diverted into the War Effort. In 1942, following German occupation and the installation of the French Vichy State , a new, short lived series of coins was released which included holed 10 and 20 centimes in zinc. 50 centimes, and 1 and 2 francs were aluminum. In 1944 this series was discontinued and withdrawn and the previous issue was resumed.
Following the war, rapid inflation caused denominations below 1 franc to be withdrawn from circulation while 10 francs in copper nickel were introduced, followed by reduced size 10-franc coins in aluminum-bronze in 1950, along with 20 and 50-franc coins of the same composition. In 1954, copper-nickel 100 francs were introduced.
In the 1960s, 1 and 2 (old) franc aluminum coins were still circulating, used as "centimes".
In 1960, the new franc (nouveau franc) was introduced, worth 100 old
There was also a first attempt to introduce a nickel 2-franc coin in 1960 that failed.
Nickel-clad copper-nickel 5-franc and nickel-brass 10-franc coins
replaced their silver counterparts in 1970 and 1974, respectively.
20 CENTIME WITH MARIANNE ON OBVERSE.
This coin was minted from 1962 to 2001.
A nickel 10-franc piece was issued in 1986, but was quickly withdrawn and demonetized due to confusion with the half-franc and an unpopular design. This led to the conception of the later bimetallic model. The aluminium-bronze pieces continued to circulate until the bimetallic pieces were developed and additional aluminium-bronze coins were minted to replace those initially withdrawn. Once the bimetallic coins were circulating and produced in necessary quantities, the aluminium-bronze pieces were gradually withdrawn and demonetized.
A .900 silver 50-franc piece was issued from 1974–1980, known as the largest silver coin ever minted in France, (due to its face value in accordance to its size) but was withdrawn and demonetized after the price of silver spiked in 1980. Then, in 1982, a 100-franc piece, also in .900 silver, was issued, and circulated to a small extent, until the introduction of the euro.
At the time of the complete changeover to the euro on 1 January 2002, coins in circulation (some produced as recently as 2000) were:
* 1 centime (~ 0.15 euro cents) stainless steel, rarely circulated (last production stopped first in 1982, then in 1987 due to high production cost, and lack of demand due to its very low value). * 5 centimes (~ 0.76 cents) aluminium-bronze * 10 centimes (~ 1.52 cents) aluminium-bronze * 20 centimes (~ 3.05 cents) aluminium-bronze * 1⁄2 franc (~ 7.6 cents) nickel * 1 franc (~ 15.2 cents) nickel * 2 francs (~ 30.5 cents) nickel * 5 francs (~ 76 cents) nickel-clad copper-nickel * 10 francs (~ €1.52) bimetallic * 20 francs (~ €3.05) trimetallic, rarer (produced for a short period before the euro, the banknote equivalent was much more frequently used) * 100 francs (~ €15.24) silver, rarely circulated (most often bought and offered as personal gifts, but rare in commercial transactions, now worth more than its face value).
Coins were freely exchangeable until 17 February 2005 at Banque de
République Française – 1000 francs (1795) Banque de
The first franc paper money issues were made in 1795. They were assignats in denominations between 100 and 10,000 francs. These followed in 1796 by "territorial mandate promises" for 25 up to 500 francs. The treasury also issued notes that year for 25 up to 1000 francs.
In 1800, the Bank of
The First World War saw the introduction of 10 and 1000-franc notes. The chambers of commerce's notgeld ("money of necessity"), from 1918 to 1926, produced 25c, 50c, 1 F, 2 F, 5 F, and 10 F notes.
Despite base-metal 5, 10 ">
10-franc banknote (1976) (front)
10-franc banknote (1976) (back)
20-franc banknote (1983) (front) Claude-Achille Debussy *
20-franc banknote (1983) (back) Claude-Achille Debussy *
50 francs Antoine de Saint-Exupéry *
BANKNOTES OF THE FRENCH FRANC (1993–1997 ISSUE)
IMAGE VALUE EQUIVALENT IN EUROS SIZE OBVERSE REVERSE WATERMARK REMARK DATE OF ISSUE
50 F €7.62 123 x 80 mm Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ; Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) ; "Latécoère 28" airplane "Breguet 14" biplane Antoine de Saint-Exupéry In the notes printed in 1992-1993, the name of Saint-Exupéry was misspelled as Éxupéry at upper left on front October 20, 1993
133 x 80 mm
143 x 80 mm
October 29, 1996
March 22, 1995
DE FACTO CURRENCY
Along with the
Spanish peseta , the
* ^ Always used in plural and chiefly in reference to the old franc, so that the new francs and the euro were known as cent balles (100 old francs). * ^ An F-with-bar or Fr ligature (₣) is available as a Unicode currency symbol character but was never adopted and has never been officially used. The F-with-bar symbol was proposed by Édouard Balladur , Minister of Economy , in 1988.
* ^ de Goncourt, E. & J. (1860), Charles Demailly, p. 107 .
* ^ Haralambous, Yannis (2007), Fonts & Encodings, p. 78 .
* ^ Balladur, Édouard (1988), Un symbole pour le franc .
* ^ Coins of Medieval Europe. Philip Grierson. p. 145.
* ^ Coins in History. John Porteous. P. 116
* ^ Coins in History. John Porteous. P. 182
* ^ Coins of the World, W. D. Craig, page 100 of the second edition
* ^ The Coin Atlas, Cribb, Cook, Carradice, and Flower, page 119
* ^ The Coin Atlas, Cribb, Cook, Carradice, and Flower, page 266
* ^ Ordonnance n°58-1341 du 27 décembre 1958 NOUVEAU FRANC
Otmar Emminger : DM, Dollar, Währungskrisen – Erinnerungen
eines ehemaligen Bundesbankpräsidenten, 1986, p. 75.
* ^ Cuhaj 2009 , p. 321.
* ^ Cuhaj 2009 , p. 323.
* ^ Cuhaj 2009 , pp. 322-24.
* ^ Cuhaj 2009 , pp. 321-23.
* ^ Cuhaj 2009 , p. 345.
* ^ A B Cuhaj 2009 , p. 351.
* ^ Cuhaj 2009 , p. 348.
* ^ Cuhaj 2009 , p. 353.
* ^ A B Cuhaj 2009 , p. 356.
* ^ 1958 Monetary Law Reform voted along with the Fifth Republic
* ^ http://www.ecb.europa.eu/euro/exchange/html/index.en.html
* ^ Erlanger, Steven (19 February 2012). "As Old Francs Expire,
* Cuhaj, George S., ed. (2009). Standard Catalog of World Coins 1801–1900 (6 ed.). Krause. ISBN 978-0-89689-940-7 .
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