Kingdom of France, Philip IV the Fair, Maille blanche

The French king Philip the Fair (1285-1314) introduced several new coins with the help of monetary manipulations. In 1296, for example, he invented the maille blanche. In the Middle Ages "blanc," "white," was the name given to coins that stood out by a particularly pale, silvery color. In the best of cases, the whiteness stemmed from a very high percentage of silver; this was certainly not true for the coins of Philip the Fair. In this case the light color came from a chemical treatment by which inferior, dark coins were pickled until they became white.