Explaining a pair of often-encountered French coin terms: The Research Desk

'Essai' and 'piefort' terminology defined
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 12/28/16
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Essai coins of the new franc were eagerly sought, and piéforts without the word ESSAI soon appeared. Fascinated collectors inevitably ask, “Aren’t these great rarities?” The piece shown is dated 1972 and bears cornucopia and owl privy marks. It is one of only 250 piéforts struck on 3.5-millimeter thick planchets with plain edges.

The low-mintage coin is by definition “rare,” but rarity is one thing, value quite another. Despite its small mintage, this 1972 piéfort franc catalogs at $25 or so.

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