Edict Faict par le Roy sur le reiglement de ses monnoyes, & Officiers d’icelles

Paris, Jean Dallier, 1554.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. 32 unnumbered ll. A-H4. Roman letter, woodcut arms of Henry II on title, repeated on blank verso of last, woodcut initials, occasional contemporary manuscript marginal note and underlining, slight age yellowing, and very light marginal stains. A good copy in C19 marbled paper wraps.

A rare, important and very early edict of Henry II of France concerning the regulation of the issue and use of Royal monies and the officers and towns of France licensed by the crown. The opening text outlines the aims of the edict stating that, despite previous Royal edicts, there were still officers who were abusing the system. “Nous avons certaine congnoissance, que plusieurs abuz, ont esté & sont encore comises”. It then states in order to avoid corruption the King had not consulted any of his special advisors, or had “dresser aucuns memoires”, neither had he consulted or shown the work to any court, the “Grand Conseil” or the treasury, and that the work was entirely conceived by his “Conseil privé.”

The first edict limits the towns of France where money is licensed to be struck to the main regional capitals, including Turin. (The edict later names the towns of Villefranche and Avignon as towns in which monies had been issued below their legal weight). It then concentrates on the regulation of the licensed officers, in all aspects, from the regulation of foreigners to the limiting of the role of Officers to avoid conflict of interest, including, in each case, the punishments to be meted out where abuses are found. It then moves further down the chain to the regulation and use of gold and silver and monies by money changers, goldsmiths, metal refiners, gold and silver beaters, gold and silver wire makers, jewellers, and merchants. An example would be the regulation of the gold used by wire makers in the town of Paris stating that only “l’or fin” could be used and that permission would have to be given by a Royal officer for each piece of gold melted down for such use, and that accurate accounts must be kept of all monies used.

A rare and most interesting work; very early of its type.

Not in BM STC Fr. C16., Kress, or Goldsmith.


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