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Siege of Strasbourg - an 1815 UN DÉCIME. Crowned L made into a Box Thaler.


Marsyas Mike

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I recently bought my first "box thaler" coin - not a thaler, however, but rather a decime of Louis XVIII.  Apparently this was issued in Strasbourg during a siege.  Interestingly, there are L versions and N (for Napoleon) versions, issued apparently almost at the same time (as the town was taken over by competing authorities, I imagine).  However, even with the Internet, I could find almost nothing about this event.  

Here's the coin (easy to photograph - you can do the obverse and reverse in one shot!):

image.jpeg.7318e145f86a22303421212d5edcce47.jpeg

France  1815 BB Decime Louis XVIII (1814/1815-1824)  Strasbourg Mint (Siege Coin) Mintage 1,266,920 Beaded and crowned L between three fleur-de-lis in oak wreath / UN | DÉCIME. | 1815. | BB | within oak wreath KM 701; Le Franc 132A; Gadoury 196c. (6.46 grams / 31 mm) eBay April 2024$15.00 BIN 

Note:  This should weigh 20 grams, but it is halved and hollowed out with clasp added for  "box thaler" type container. "After the French disaster of Leipzigthe Allies invaded the Haut-Rhin and invested Strasbourg commanded by General Bourrier.  It was after three months of blockade and the announcement of the fall of the Emperor that the white flag with fleur-de-lis was hoisted on the spire of the cathedral." Alde

 Here's another photo, showing it closed, with close-up of clasp.  At first I thought this was a broken hinge, but I don't think it was ever hinged, just a clasp.  It snaps together with a satisfying little click.  There's a very tiny hole on the reverse as well. 

image.jpeg.d7856b20400598d13fe074df953c8024.jpeg

Here are a couple of things I found online about this issue, none particularly detailed:

https://en.numista.com/forum/topic48900.html

This is an auction by Alde for another "box thaler" type, this one with the N - I gleaned some information (in French) from this:

image.jpeg.736a8876551e6e3100dc5f25ad90097d.jpeg

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=2703646

Wikipedia has a very short article on the Battle of La Suffel, which seems to be connected to the siege of Strasbourg, but it doesn't actually say that!  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_La_Suffel

Any information on the circumstances this coin was issued (N or L versions) would be appreciated.  I'm sure there are tons of French resources out there (I do not speak French, unfortunately).  And please share your siege coins, etc.  

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Other than the fact that the coin was minted during the blockade of the city as a standard circulation issue, it is one of three varieties of this type. Yours has a dot after decime and after the date. The other two varieties are

No points

No points and no accent on decime.

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Pretty cool. A while back I convinced myself that I had to have a box Thaler. The one below was the result of the search. Apparently, this type did NOT start its life as a coin but was a contemporary creation made for people to keep stuff in. It's the right diameter but the obverse and reverse don't technically match.

image.jpeg.ddf31a9197da61e51f700ca89394e3a1.jpeg

 

image.jpeg.b4a68f2c59d598430ffd5f94d12ecda3.jpeg

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1 hour ago, ChrisB said:

Pretty cool. A while back I convinced myself that I had to have a box Thaler. The one below was the result of the search. Apparently, this type did NOT start its life as a coin but was a contemporary creation made for people to keep stuff in. It's the right diameter but the obverse and reverse don't technically match.

image.jpeg.ddf31a9197da61e51f700ca89394e3a1.jpeg

 

image.jpeg.b4a68f2c59d598430ffd5f94d12ecda3.jpeg

Whoa, that is really interesting.  Thanks for sharing that.  

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Despite its not technically being one, @ChrisB's example is a good enough demonstration.  They functioned a little like lockets, but with multiple little pictures.

...Speaking of snuff, I'm still kicking myself for having missed out on this one.  A later example, modified to expand the width.  Yes, in this instance, snuff was my first thought.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/196267314027 

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Very cool boxes !

My "N" version of the coin. No box here

5767fee2becb4153bb2705bf2afb8a61.jpg

Napoleon I° Empereur - Décime 1814BB - Monnaie obsidionnale - Atelier de Strasbourg (BB)
N couronnée dans une couronne de chêne
UN / DECIME. /1814. / BB en quatre lignes dans une couronne de chêne
Tranche inscrite DIEU PROTEGE LA FRANCE
32 mm - 21 gr
Ref : Le Franc 10 # 131/1 (180261 ex.)

Q

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On 4/26/2024 at 11:05 AM, DonnaML said:

Thanks for the post. I wasn't familiar with box thalers before. What did people keep inside them? Snuff?

How about opium?  Wikipedia has an article about US Trade Dollars being modified for this purpose (or just for photos, like a locket).  I've heard of Mexican 8 reales also being hollowed-out and hinged and called "opium dollars."  Really, this is just another Box Thaler, I'd say:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade-dollar_locket

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