Masse d’or of Philip IV

Masse d’or of Philip IV

Masse d’or of Philip IV

Period: Middle Ages

Country: France

Ruler: Philip IV

Denomination: Masse d’or

Mint: Paris

Weight: 7,01 g

Quality: EF (Superbe)

Auction house: Muizon Rieunier

Date: 19 April 2017

Starting price: 10.000 euros

Historical context

Philip IV needed a big income for his Kingdom. First, because of the war against Flanders and England; and second because he had some tentatives of power centralization that required a significant amount of money. As a way to finance his expenses, Philip IV issued many gold and silver coins; in fact, he was the first French king to issue gold coins for circulation. For this reason, he is known as “le roi aux monnayeur” (“the King made minter”). Here and here you can find more information.

Regarding the masse d’or, they were issued between 1296 and 1310. In that time France was fighting against Flanders and England. Issuing gold coins was yet another way to get money to finance such war. The masse d’or were issued as “false” Double-Florin: their weight was the same as two florins, but their fineness was 22 karats instead of 24 karats. Thus, they represent a clear attempt by Philip IV to obtain revenues through minting. The design of the coin is also remarkable as it had a big influence in the future gold coinage of France and other countries like Castilla, where kings were represented in a throne.


Until recently, medieval coins were only collected by national collectors. However, in the last few years, we can see that international collectors are interested in high-level medieval coins, especially the gold ones. The coin in the auction is clearly a very high-level specimen: all the legends are complete and a “superbe” quality is very difficult to reach in a medieval coin.
In order to estimate its price we can take two hammer prices: 19.000 CHF for a specimen of similar quality sold in 2010 and 21.705 euros in 2011 for another specimen that may be slightly better than the one in the auction. We can also see that this specimen was hammered for 11.000 euros in 2013, although it is clearly in a lower condition. All in all, I would say that the coin in the auction worths at least 20.000 euros, which seems that was a reasonable price seven years ago.

Description from the seller

PHILIPPE IV, le Bel (1285-1314)
Masse d’or (1re émission, 10 janvier 1296). 7,01 g.
Le Roi assis de face, couronné, tenant le sceptre et un lis, dans un polylobe tréflé cantonné d’annelets.
R/ Croix feuillue et fleuronnée avec quadrilobe en cœur, cantonnée de quatre lis dans un quadrilobe aux quatre angles tréflés.
D. 208. C. 196. L. 212. Fr. 254.
Flan large et d’une grande fraîcheur de frappe. Superbe.
Un des fleurons de la numismatique médiévale française.



  1. J. MirNo Gravatar 10 months ago

    Obviously the obverse model of the ral d’or of Mallorca

  2. JoanNo Gravatar 7 months ago

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