A cache of 239 French 17th century gold coins discovered in a manor house in Brittany offered by the auction house Ivoire Angers Deloys (22% buyer’s premium) on September 29 was a sell-out success.
Not only was this a white-glove sale with every one of the 235 lots finding a buyer, but most sailed passed expectations to produce a final total of €830,000 (€1m with the buyer’s premium) – a multiple of the original prediction of €250,00-300,000.
“The bids were coming from everywhere, in the room on the internet and the phone”, said auctioneer Florian d’Oysonville of the Angers saleroom, who took five hours to disperse the collection between the many bidders.
As reported in our preview in ATG No 2510, the coins were uncovered when the owners, who purchased the property in 2012, decided to restore it. The three stonemasons they had engaged to do the work first found a metal box filled with coins then a purse containing more above a beam.
The coins, named the Plozevet Treasure, date from 1638-92, with 23 of them issued during the reign of Louis XIII and a further 216 during Louis XIV’s reign. As they come from 19 different cities they are thought to be the result of savings.
All bar four of the coins (kept as souvenirs) were put up for sale with the proceeds divided between the tradesmen and the owners of the property.
The two most expensive pieces in the sale at €46,000 (£39,655) apiece were the rare double Louis d’or à la meche longue of 1746 from Louis XIV’s reign issued by the Dijon mint that was pictured in ATG No 2510 and an earlier Louis XIII Louis d’or à la Croix des Templiers from the Paris mint from 1640. In each case the final price was far in excess of the estimates of €10,000-15,000 and €7000-8000 respectively.
Among the other top-priced coins in the sale were a double Louis à l’écu from 1690 struck in Paris that realised €15,000 (£12,930) and a double Louis à l’écu S couronné of 1690 from Troyes which made €20,000 (£17,240).
Nineteen of the other lots in the auction were state preemptions by the Monnaie de Paris (The Paris Mint).
£1 = €1.16