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First issue in a fascinating series!
The $15 Jack of Hearts coin is the first issue in the fascinating “Playing Card Money series". The name G DE PARIS that appears across the bottom is likely the name of the original artist, while the name LAHIRE is believed to reflect the 15th-century custom of naming each jack after a famous figure, in this case one of Charles VII's generals. The inscription on the back of the card suggests the Jack of Hearts was valued at fifty livres.
In 17th-century New France, everything was in short supply - including coins. In a desperate move to keep his colony working, the governor issued playing cards bearing a written promise to pay what was owed when the next shipment of coins arrived from France.
In 1729, authorities began using plain card stock, which circulated like modern bank notes, until New France fell to the British in 1759—some 75 years after this unique form of money first appeared in 1685.
Unique rectangular coin shape echoes the form and design of 18th-century playing cards. Superb engraving, combined with colour and selective gold plating on the edge of the coin.