Trade Card or Allegorical Print of the Parisian Mint

Artist or maker:
1610-1640 {manuscript date}
See annotation and curatorial commentary.
Place of Production:
Paris, France
etching on paper
Type of Object:
trade cards
Accession number:
One of a set, see others


Brief Description

Print depicting an allegory of the Parisian Mint. The annotation describes the print as a trade card for the Mint at the time of Louis XIII.

The image is etched and finished with engraving in the shadows. The print depicts the shallow space of a palatial interior. The wall is composed of three stylised Composite pilasters each flanked by a blank bay, interspersed with marble panels. A plain silk hanging, with a border of scrolling foliage at its lower edge, hangs across the upper right corner; it is gathered half way up to reveal the scene.

In the centre of the floor, a woman stands on a hexagonal plinth. She is both an allegory of Abundance and Justice, and the goddess of the Mint - the traditional representation of this institution. Her body faces the viewer, her left heel is raised producing a contrapposto stance; her head is turned showing her left profile. She wears a pearl necklace, peplos tied at the waist, and a loose full length skirt. Her hair is styled to form a band framing her face; it is gathered at the neck and loose on her left shoulder. Tucked into the nook of her slightly bent left arm is a cornucopia full of fruit and leaves. In her right hand, extended from the elbow, she holds an evenly balanced pair of scales.

On the front of the plinth are the words 'MONETA DEA'. In front of the plinth are two kneeling naked male wingless putti. The putto on the right holds a hammer in his right hand above his head. Another hammer lies behind him, to the right. He looks towards the putto on the left and prepares to strike the trussel resting on the pile that is in front of the plinth. Above the trussel is a cap-like object, decorated with laurel leaves.

The putto on the left holds the trussel with his left hand. His right hand is stretched behind him to place a struck planchet in the basket full of coins - possibly the goods of the print, to the left. A minted coin rests on the edge of the pile and several more are scattered around the base of the anvil die and in front of the left putto. A hammer rests against the anvil die. A tressel with the die visible lies to the right of the hammer, whilst a pair of pincers lies to the left.

The whole is surrounded by a very simple double rule border.

Curatorial Commentary

The imagery used in the card may correspond with the technological innovations introduced around 1640 [INVENTION]. Until then, the Paris Mint struck coins with the use of a hammer, as shown in the foreground. However, the resulting coins were at risk of tampering whilst in circulation. With the re-issue of coinage in 1640, the King ordered the Paris Mint and the Monnaie du Moulin (controlled by Jean Warin) to strike coins. Warin used machines to strike his versions. Workers were resistant to the new technology, the machine called the 'balancier', which made coins less susceptible to tampering. For this process, Warin designed a coin which figured an allegory of Abundance and Justice showing a cornucopia and scales, see Droulers and Jones in Related documents.

Identification of iconography made by J. L. Desnier, chargé du Médaillier at the Musée de la Monnaie, Paris.

Phillippa Plock, 2008

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
190 x 152
Physical Details:
single sheet, image size: 186 x 150 (sheet trimmed to or within plate mark)
Translation of inscription:
Trade card of the Exchange under Louis XIII
Goddess of the Mint


Owned by Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur (b.1822, d.1893); included in sale of Destailleur's library, Damascène Morgand (b.1840, d.1898), Paris, 13 April 1891, part of lot no. 351, 'Recueil d'Adresses, Cartes de visite, Billets de Bal, Brevets Militaires, etc. En un vol. in-fol., velin. Recueil des plus importants comprennant 355 pieces, adresses, billets d'invitation, titres de livres, brevets militaries, assignats, etc. Adresses au nombre de 220 des XVIIe, XVIIIe siècles' (price paid for volume: 2,700 FF); acquired by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (b.1839, d.1898); inherited by his sister Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922); inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); bequeathed to Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) in 1957.
Part of:
Recueil d'adresses: A collection of sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century French, German, Belgian, Swiss, Dutch, Italian and Spanish trade cards, labels, wrappers, advertisements and related commercial ephemera bound in four volumes. 3686.1-4
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957



Damascène Morgand; b.1840, d.1898; Catalogue des livres rares et precieux composant la Bibliothèque de M. Hippolyte Destailleur; 1891; Paris; p. 90, no. 351; possibly the item described as 'Pose de la première Pierre de la Monnaie'

Related literature

Frédéric Droulers; Répertoire général des monnaies de Louis XIII à Louis XVI (1610-1792); Paris; Copernic; 1987. p. 636: medal with allegorical representation, PH6 "Ecu de la sols à la Monnaie assise", with legend: R/. ARTE MEA BIS IVSTUS (By my art I am doubly just) – attesting to the double quality of the piece - and underneath – MONETA. LVD. IVST. 1641 (Money of Louis the Just, 1641).
Mark Jones; A catalogue of the French medals in the British Museum: Vol.2, 1600-1672; London; British Museum; 1988. pp. 178-79, fig. 32, shows pattern for the Louis d'argent of 60 sols with the 1641 design, and discusses the history of the design

http://www.monnaiedeparis.fr Information on the Parisian mint [accessed 05 Nov 2008]

Indexed terms

Other details

Location of Premises:
see annotation
Trades (Original Language):
monnayeur/Financial activities