THE COLLECTION
RESOURCES
BOURBON KINGS of FRANCE

LOUIS XVI
1754-1793


                Æ Jeton (5.93 g, 26mm, 1).

      Mint: Uncertain Prussian mint (Berlin?); Reich, engraver.
      Struck: Uncertain.
      Obv: LUD • XVI REX GALLIAE DEFUNCTUS
                Laureate head left; small R• below.
      Rev: SOL REGNI ABIIT
                Funeral urn; scepter to left, crown to right;
                DEN 21 IAN/1793 in two lines in exergue.
      Mm: None.
      Ref: Cf. Hennin 479/480 (for obv./rev.).

Notes: In the aftermath of the American Revolution, which began the anti-monarchical wave of revolutions, the nobles of Europe were still largely viewed by their subjects as rightful rulers whose position was attained by the grace of God. A group of the nobles, led by Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II (brother of Marie Antoinette) and King Frederick William II of Prussia, responded by first issuing the Declaration of Pillnitz (27 August 1791), which declared their support for Louis XVI, demanded the reinstatement of his regal prerogatives, and called for the intervention of the other monarchies should he be threatened. This precipitated the French Revolutionary Wars, which began soon thereafter, with the anti-revolutionary coalition led by Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick. The wars caused a nationalist furor to arise in France, further strengthening the power of the revolutionaries. The Brunswick Manifesto of 25 July 1792 even further exacerbated support for the revolutionaries, and precipitated the 10 August storming of the Tuileries Palace. Shortly thereafter, on 13 August, Louis was arrested and imprisoned after he attempted to flee the country, and on 21 August, the French National Assembly voted to abolish the monarchy. In spite of the continuing war, and the threats by the coalition, the revolutionaries placed Louis on trial, found him guilty of all charges, and executed him on 21 January 1793. The revulsion felt among the member countries of the coalition was palpable, and condemnation of the event was widespread. One of the many ways that were used to propagandize the event was the issuance of medals and jetons, such as this one, in many of the monarchies. The Latin legends here read, in translation: "Louis XVI, King of France, is dead" on the obverse, and "The Sun has Disappeared from the Kingdom. Died 21 January 1793" on the reverse. The tiny R. below the bust is the name of the Prussian engraver, Reich.