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Information about currency: French Franc

Currency nameFrench Franc
Dates1795 - 2001


The franc (sign: F, commonly also FF or Fr) was a currency of France. Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money. It was re-introduced (in decimal form) in 1795 and remained the national currency until the introduction of the euro in 1999 (for accounting purposes) and 2002 (coins and banknotes). It was a commonly held international reserve currency in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The decimal "Franc" was established as the national currency by the French Revolutionary Convention in 1795 as a decimal unit (1 franc = 10 decimes = 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. Silver coins now had their denomination clearly marked as "5 FRANCS" and it was made obligatory to quote prices in francs. This ended the ancien régime’s practice of striking coins with no stated denomination, such as the Louis d'or, and periodically issuing royal edicts to manipulate their value in terms of money of account, i.e. the Livre tournois.

Coinage with explicit denominations in decimal fractions of the franc also began in 1795. Decimalisation of the Franc was mandated by an act of 7 April 1795, which also dealt with of weights and measures. France led the world in adopting the metric system and it was the second country to convert from a non-decimal to a decimal currency, following Russia’s conversion in 1704, and the third country to adopt a decimal coinage, also following the United States in 1787.

France’s first decimal coinage used allegorical figures symbolising revolutionary principles, like the coinage designs the United States had adopted in 1793.

Currency French Franc periods:
Period Code From To
New Franc 1960 2001
Post War Franc 1944 1960
World War II Franc 1940 1944
Post World War I Franc 1914 1940
Franc Germinal 1803 1914
First Decimal Franc 1795 1803
Currency French Franc was used:
Country From To
Saarland French Franc 1947 1959
Saarland French Franc 1921 1935
New Hebrides French Franc 1906 1941
France French Franc 1795 2001