France: Coins Issued and Used

Showing only circulating coin types (regular coinage plus circulating commemoratives).

France (1870 - )
Information about what currencies were issued by France, with lists of coinage, as well as periods when foreign-issued currencies were used.
Currency: French Livre. Used in France: (781 - 1794)
CurrencyFrench Livre
PeriodFrench Livre
Used781 - 1794
Description

The livre was the currency of France from 781 to 1794. Several different livres existed, some concurrently. The livre was the name of both units of account and coins.

The livre was established by Charlemagne as a unit of account equal to one pound of silver. It was subdivided into 20 sous (also sols), each of 12 deniers. The word livre came from the Latin word libra, a Roman unit of weight. This system and the denier itself served as the model for many of Europe's currencies, including the British pound, Italian lira, Spanish dinero and the Portuguese dinheiro.

This first livre is known as the livre carolingienne. Only deniers were initially minted, but debasement led to larger denominations being issued. Different mints in different regions used different weights for the denier, leading to several distinct livres of different values.

"Livre" is a homonym of the French word for "book" (from the Latin word liber), the distinction being that the two have a different gender. The monetary unit is feminine, la/une livre, while "book" is masculine, le/un livre.

The last coins and notes of the livre currency system were issued in the Year II of the Republic (1794). In 1795, the franc was introduced, worth 1 livre 3 deniers, and the first one-franc coin was struck in 1803. Still the word livre survived; until the middle of the 19th century it was indifferently used alongside the word franc, especially to express large amounts and transactions linked with property (real estate, property incomes or "rentes", cattle, etc...).

Currency: French Franc (Medieval). Used in France: (1360 - 1641)
CurrencyFrench Franc (Medieval)
PeriodFrench Franc (Medieval)
Used1360 - 1641
Description

The Franc 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.

Currency: French Franc. Used in France: (1795 - 2001)
CurrencyFrench Franc
PeriodFrench Franc
Used1795 - 2001
Description

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.

Currency: Euro. Used in France: (1999 - present)
CurrencyEuro
PeriodEuro
Used1999 - present
Description

The currency was introduced in non-physical form (traveller's cheques, electronic transfers, banking, etc.) at midnight on 1 January 1999, when the national currencies of participating countries (the eurozone) ceased to exist independently. Their exchange rates were locked at fixed rates against each other. The euro thus became the successor to the European Currency Unit (ECU). The notes and coins for the old currencies, however, continued to be used as legal tender until new euro notes and coins were introduced on 1 January 2002.

The changeover period during which the former currencies' notes and coins were exchanged for those of the euro lasted about two months, until 28 February 2002. The official date on which the national currencies ceased to be legal tender varied from member state to member state. The earliest date was in Germany, where the mark officially ceased to be legal tender on 31 December 2001, though the exchange period lasted for two months more. Even after the old currencies ceased to be legal tender, they continued to be accepted by national central banks for periods ranging from several years to forever (the latter in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Estonia and Latvia for banknotes and coins; also, Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Slovakia will accept banknotes forever, but not coins). The earliest coins to become non-convertible were the Portuguese escudos, which ceased to have monetary value after 31 December 2002, although banknotes remain exchangeable until 2022.

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