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During the 17th and 18th centuries, New France faced chronic shortages. The colony was months away from the motherland, isolated for months by winter ice and the treacherous Atlantic Ocean that claimed countless sailing ships. Everything was scarce—including coins. Still, merchants, civil servants and soldiers had to be paid. In a desperate move to keep daily transactions flowing, the governor began issuing playing cards with a written promise to pay what was owed when the next shipment of coins arrived from France. Historic records show that cards were cut into halves or quarters and had their corners clipped to reflect different values. "Playing card money" was first issued in 1685. Despite the king's displeasure, authorities continued to implement this temporary measure whenever their colony faced a coin shortage. In 1729, they began using plain card stock which circulated like modern bank notes until New France fell to the British in 1759. The 2008 $15 dollar Jack of Hearts coin is the first of a new 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.
Available individually or as a set. Get all four coins today!
• UNIQUE rectangular coin shape echoes the shape and design of the 18th century playing cards!
• Superb engraving combined with color and selective gold plating on the edge of the coin.
• Stunning artistry! A unique showcase of a fascinating era in New France reflecting the popularity of card games and the unique initiatives undertaken to support a growing colony.
• New coin series - FOUR coins - 2008 Jack of Hearts, 2008 Queen of Spades, 2009 Ten of Spades and 2009 King of Hearts.