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The Financial Decline of a Great PowerWar, Influence, and Money in Louis XIV's France$
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Guy Rowlands

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199585076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199585076.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 April 2021

Manipulating the Coinage

Manipulating the Coinage

(p.90) 5 Manipulating the Coinage
The Financial Decline of a Great Power

Guy Rowlands

Oxford University Press

The varied methods of borrowing and venal office exploitation were still not sufficient for tapping the country's wealth, so after 1689 successive Finance Ministers sought bullion from abroad and began to manipulate the coinage, mainly to cream off ‘seigniorage’ through the royal mints. While the larger coins were not physically debased, they were repeatedly rerated upwards and downwards against the unit of account, the livre, which lost around one-third of its value in silver terms. The manipulations after 1699 were largely intended to bring more coin into circulation in France and achieve periodic windfalls for the government. Unfortunately the fiat values of the coins were regularly misjudged and the government sometimes sought too great a profit, stimulating fraudulent recoining organised on a large scale by some of the king's own financial contractors. The manipulations also worsened the exchange rates and added significantly to the costs of paying for military supplies.

Keywords:   bullion imports, coinage, debasement, false-coining, dual-currency system

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