A Franc with a flat collar of 1853! You read correctly!

Once again, my friend Sylvain D showed me this curiosity. This is a franc with flat collar.

Obverse legend: HENRICVS. III. D. G. FRA. POL. REX. (symbol) K :

                          date under bust

Reverse legend: .SIT. NOMEN. DOMINI. BENEDICTVM (symbol)


So far everything is correct for this coin struck in Bordeaux (letter K). Except that instead of reading 1583 which would be the normal date, one reads 1853! 300 years apart almost. I stop joking, it is obviously a mistake. This coin was probably struck in 1583 and it would be logical for this mint in activity at this date.

Here, you say to yourself: well, end of the article, particular coin, nothing to add. However (I assure you the article will still be short) I would like to raise an important problem. In my opinion, there is something to question. Do you really think the engravor has inscribed a date error like this one? I mean, maybe it could have been engraved on the number 8 before the 1 ... but then on the 5 and followed on the 3 ... in 1583. You imagine the person workin on having his work in front of him and never thinking that there is a problem? Impossible or we would have entrusted the only engraving of the date to someone who is illiterate ... no I do not believe it. So how did this happen? I will tell you what I suspect. But before we have to put things in their context. The coins of that time were hammered, and dies were used, as they are today. This implicitly means that the engraving was made on pieces of metal which were then used to print the blank, future coin. Except that I think now that it is likely that punches were used. Which would explain the date error. The person placing the date on the dies may have arranged the punches (4) in a specific order, that of the date. Then, thinking to take the punches in the right order (someone would have meanwhile mix them) he inscribed the date that amuses us today.

This theory seems to me more credible than an engraver making 3 errors in a row under his eyes. Imagining punches to engrave the date would make sense, saving time. In any case, this error seems to call into question what we knew about the techniques used in the mints of that time. Finally, I dismiss the possibility of a modern fake, the weight is good: 13.89 grs and the diameter is also in the standards.

Edit: more than a year after this article (from January 11, 2019), I received an email from Mr ''Philippe'' who tells me that in January 2020, on a forum, a coin with the same dies but with a different blank was found. In addition, this forum shows a third coin sold by cgb.fr, which I notice is still the same dies. The coins have blanks of different shape, it does not seem to me that they are false.