This pure gold $10 coin re-creates the design of one of the first coins ever officially issued for commerce in what is now Canada. While regular coins of France and many other countries initially served as coinage in colonial New France, the region suffered from chronic shortages of coinage for everyday commerce and trade. This would start to change in 1670 when Louis XIV issued the first special coinage for use in the French colonies of North America. Denominations included 15 sols and 5 sols silver coins and copper 2 deniers pieces.
The design of this 350th anniversary issue is from the 1670 15 sols coin. It features the Royal arms of France (a shield with three fleurs-de-lis) ensigned by the royal crown, and the Latin legend “GLORIAM REGNI TVI DICENT” (“They shall speak of the glory of Thy Kingdom”). For historical accuracy, the reverse includes the original “A” (Paris Mint) mint mark beneath the shield and, in the 12 o’clock position, a rook (castle) mark representing Chief Engraver Jean-Baptiste Dufour, who engraved the original reverse. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
Did you know?
The standard units of currency in New France were livres, sols and deniers. One livre was the equivalent of 20 sols, and one sol had the value of 12 deniers.
A total of 40,000 15-sol coins were minted in 1670. Today, there are only 17 known examples of which eight are in institutional collections, including three in the Bank of Canada Museum. Most of the other ones reside in the United States.
New France (Canada, Acadia, Louisiana, Placentia) was one of the recipients of the colonial coinage of 1670 – the coins were intended for use in the French West Indies too. And since the French territory extended much farther south than the present-day U.S.-Canada border, the Louis XIV 15-sol coin is a piece of history we share with the United States.