Kingdom of France, Louis XIV, 1/2 Ecu aux insignes 1701

The French king Louis XIV (1643-1715) was the absolutistic ruler par excellence, unaccountable to nobody but God. When he died in 1715 after more than 72 years of reign, France was virtually standing on the brink of bankruptcy. Louis squandered his money not only by pompous holding of court and prestigious building activity, but most of all by a series of lossy wars. The necessary money he made by restriking old coins into new ones of less silver content, but of the same face value. This kind of financing was called "coinage reform." This piece is an obvious example of that technique.