Kingdom of France, John II the Good, Franc à cheval

Three million écus d'or or 500,000 pound sterling – what an inconceivable sum of money! This was what King Edward III of England demanded as a ransom for the French King John the Good (1350-1364), who had been made prisoner at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. To pay for the ransom, France in 1360 started to mint the franc à cheval. The coin was called "franc" because it was to bring freedom to the king (franc = French for free). "À cheval" derived from the coins image, which showed the king on a richly caparisoned horse, charging into freedom with his sword raised.