Liever een groter of een kleiner letter type? Groter letter type
Kleiner letter type

The Belgian coins under the reign of King Leopold II
  The Belgian Franc from 1865 till 1909

Below you can see the circulation coins which were minted under the reign of King Leopold II. We have shown a scan of each coin type. The colour of the copper and especially of the gold coins can deviate from the actual colour (depending on which scanner has been used). Finally we have to mention that next to the coins which are shown below there are also some official medals which were used as currency. These are however not shown.

20 Frank 186820 Frank 1868
10 Frank 1867 10 Frank 1867

5 Frank 18735 Frank 1873
2 Frank 18672 Frank 1867
1 Frank 18661 Frank 1866
50 Centimes 186650 Centimes 1866

The Leopold II small beard type

Leopold II succeeded King Leopold I after his death in 1865. Belgium acted as a (small) super power during the reign of Leopold II. It went very well in Belgium and this also showed in the coinage. The number of coins which was minted were enormous in some years. Leopold Wiener, who became master engraver in 1864 in succession of J.P. Braemt, meanwhile continued his work in the Brussels' mint on the gold and silver coins. He engraved new gold coins of 10 and 20 Francs. The piece of 10 Francs never came officially in circulation. There are however some coins known with circulation traces which suspects that some coins of 1867 came in circulation after all. Between 1867 and 1882 over 27 million pieces were minted and brought into circulation from the 20 Francs coins. They are hence, not taken into account certain rarer variants, not rare at all. All these gold coins satisfied the norms of the Latin currency union.

L. Wiener used again the old design for the reverse of the new 5 Francs coin which he already used for the coins under the reign of Leopold I. The obverse shows the head of Leopold II with a small beard. The coins of 5 Francs were still minted with French legends and the last coin left the Brussels' mint in 1876. From the 5 Francs coin, a limited number was minted with a bigger head and with the engraver's name Leop Wiener along the truncation. These coins are rare. The coins of 50 Centimes, 1 and 2 Francs all received a new design on the reverse. The laurel disappeared to make space for two sceptres and a chain around the shield. Also new was the fact that pieces of 50 Centimes were issued instead of pieces of 1/2 Franc earlier.

The first coins of 50 Centimes and 1 Franc were issued with Dutch legends in 1886. The 2 Francs coins followed in 1887.

All these silver coins were withdrawn from circulation in 1932. Finally we also should mention that these silver coins have a lower silver content. The silver content decreased to 835/1000 except for the coins of 5 Francs which kept their silver content of 900/1000.

Beside, you can see the entire series of coins of the Leopold II small beard type including the rare coin of 10 Francs.


2 Centiem 18732 Centiem 1873
1 Centiem 18731 Centiem 1873

The copper coins of the Braemt type

The copper coins which served already under the reign of Leopold I remained in service during the reign of Leopold II. The new coins of 1 and 2 Centimes were look-alikes with the only difference that Leopold Premier was replaced by Leopold II. The first Dutch language coins of 1 Centime were officially released in 1887. Some coins from 1882 with Dutch legend are however known to exist. The first 2 Centimes coins with Dutch legends came only in circulation in 1902. Just as the 1 and 2 Centimes coins under Leopold I, also these coins were withdrawn in 1953. Most of them however were already taken out of circulation in 1909 and melted again.

On your left hand side you can see the two coins of 1 and 2 Centimes.

2 Frank 18802 Frank 1880
1 Frank 18801 Frank 1880
The 1 and 2 Francs type 50 years Belgian independence
 
To celebrate 50 years of Belgian independence, a new type of coin was designed by Leopold Wiener. This type carries the two heads of the kings which Belgium had known at that moment, being the head of King Leopold I and King Leopold II. These coins were only minted with French language. The fact that one had put all kings known to date on a coin would be repeated later at the 100th and 150th birthday of Belgium's independence and this on the coins of 10 Francs 1930 and 500 Francs 1980. The coins of the 50 years Belgian independence were withdrawn from circulation in 1932.

Both coins are shown beside.

10 Cent 190110 Cent 1901
10 Cent 190110 Cent 1901
The copper-nickel coins of the Braemt type

A lack of coins of 5 and 10 Centimes was observed around 1894. Just as with the copper coins of 1 and 2 Centimes they were little original and the same design by J.P. Braemt was used again with the only difference that Leopold Premier was replaced by Leopold II. Braemt himself died meanwhile a long time ago. For the first time, also coins of 5 and 10 Centimes with Dutch legends were minted. This type of coin was minted between 1894 and 1901 with the exception of 1896 and 1897, two years were the Brussels' mint did not deliver one coin for circulation in Belgium. These coins were withdrawn from circulation mid 1906 to clear the way for the coins of the Michaux type.

You can see both coins on the left.
 

50 Cent 190150 Cent 1901
The first type Vinçotte (sitting lion type)

After that two engravers, J.P. Braemt and L. Wiener, took the entire nineteenth century for their account, a few new engravers came forward early twentieth century. The first engraver who came forward was Thomas Vinçotte. He had as task to create a new series of 50 Centimes and 1 and 2 Francs coins. However, only the coins of 50 Centimes came into circulation in 1901 and soon it seemed that these coins had a relief which was too high and a rim which was too small. The result was that these coins worn too fast and that it remained by this one vintage. The similar coins of 1 and 2 Francs never came into circulation. Despite the fact that these coins were very sensitive to wear, they were only withdrawn in 1932.

2 Frank 19042 Frank 1904
1 Frank 19041 Frank 1904
50 Cent 190750 Cent 1907

The second Vinçotte type (large beard type)

The second type Vinçotte which is often called the Leopold II large beard type came in succession of the first Vinçotte type. Because pieces of 50 Centimes were already brought into circulation in 1901, priority was given to new coins of 1 and 2 Francs. This happened in 1904. The second and last emission of the same type followed in 1909. Meanwhile new coins of 50 Centimes were also issued in 1907 from the same type also followed by a new and final emission in 1909. Just as the coins from the first type Vinçotte, these coins were also withdrawn from circulation in 1932.

You can see the three coins of this type depicted.

25 Centiem 190825 Centiem 1908
10 Centiem 190210 Centiem 1902
5 Centiem 19025 Centiem 1902
The Michaux type

Belgium came in 1901 with a European primer. For the first time in European history coins were minted with a central whole in the middle. These coins of 25, 10 and 5 Centimes were engraved by Alphonse Michaux who became master engraver of the Brussels' mint in 1895. These type of small change coinage was minted in large quantity between 1901 and 1932. It was just as the old 5 and 10 Centimes coins of the old Braemt type made of copper-nickel. New was also that for the first time since the 1/4 Franc coins of 1850, coins of 25 Centimes were introduced again in 1908. The first coins of 5 and 10 Centimes of the Michaux type already appeared in 1901. The last coins were withdrawn in 1955. The coins of 25 Centimes staid in circulation until 1967.

You can see all three coins shown besides.


© Peter Degroote, August 2004