Leopold II small beard type
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
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
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.
first coins of 50 Centimes and 1 Franc were issued with Dutch legends
The 2 Francs coins followed in 1887.
these silver coins were withdrawn from circulation in 1932.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.
you can see the entire series of coins of the Leopold II small beard
type including the rare coin of 10 Francs.
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.
|The 1 and 2 Francs type 50 years Belgian
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.
|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.
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.
second Vinçotte type (large beard type)
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.
can see the three coins of this type depicted.
|The Michaux type
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.
can see all three coins shown besides.
Peter Degroote, August 2004