Billed as being of "superb" quality, this silver franc will be among the highlights in Beaussant Lefèvre's upcoming Paris numismatic auction on March 16.
Dated to 1607, this rare, reeded-edge Parisian coin bears the likeness of Henry VI, King of France between 1589-1610 - and it isn't the first time the King's 'head' has emerged on the private markets.
While Henry VI's head is still clearly defined on this coin, the King's actual head has proved more elusive. It was lost after revolutionaries ransacked his grave at the Basilica of St Denis in 1793.
An embalmed head, reputed to be that of Henry IV, was passed among private collectors until French journalist Stephane Gabet tracked it down in 2010.
Eventually, the King's head was found in the attic of a retired tax collector, Jacques Bellanger. He'd bought it from a widow in 1955, who herself had acquired the head at auction in the early-1900s.
Later that year, a forensic team confirmed that the head was indeed Henry VI's. It is excellently preserved, and is set to be returned to the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis this year.
However, a forensic team isn't needed to predict the value of this silver coin when it sells in March. Weighing 27.90g, the coin will appear in Paris with an €6,000-8,000 estimate.
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