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5 hundredths 1864 - monetary pattern
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5 hundredths 1864 - monetary pattern 5 hundredths 1864 - monetary pattern
22.5 mm diameter, ~5.7 g, bronze, flat edge
circular inscription "PRINCIPATELE UNITE" meaning "UNITED PRINCIPALITIES", below letters A G - maybe the initial letters from the engraver's name - separated by a five-petal rose, inside inner pearl circle face value "5 SUTIMĬ" meaning "5 HUNDREDTHS" and year 1864, outer linear circle
outer linear circle, ALECSANDRU IOAN I, head of the prince to the right

Nowadays this very pattern of 5 hundredths from 1864 can be admired at the Union Museum of Iași. The piece belongs to the collections of the Moldova National Museum Complex of Iași [1].

About the coin projects from the rule of Alexandru Ioan Cuza

In the first three quarters of the 19th century, more than 70 coin species were admitted into circulation inside the Romanian Principalities - Moldavia and Walachia, Romania later - issued by various countries. Coins from neighbouring countries, Austria, Turkey and Russia, and from Great Britain, France or other European countries circulated in the Principalities. Sometimes, even coins that had ceased to be legal tender inside their issuing countries were still accepted for payments! The circulation of so many different foreign coins caused great losses to the national economy, and the exchange rates varied permanently.

Some attempts from before 1867 to reform the monetary system failed. Between 1859 and 1860 Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the elected ruler of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Walachia, tried to introduce a new monetary system. A very important role in this attempt was played by Victor Place, a great philo-Romanian and consul of the French Empire at Iași (the capital city of the Principality of Moldavia). Practically, the project intended to introduce the decimal monetary system of France. The coins should have been struck at Paris. The monetary unit should have been named român (Romanian) or romanat, by analogy with the French franc. One român was to be divided into 100 centimes (cents).

The coin projects immortalized in 2007 as medals were sketched in 1860 by the French numismatist Adrien de Longpérier, a friend of Victor Place. Longpérier was conservator at the Numismatic Cabinet of the Louvre Museum.

In 1864 a new tentative to reform the monetary system ended in striking a pattern of 5 sutimi (hundredths). It is quite possible that a pattern for 10 sutimi 1864 also existed.

About the pattern of 5 sutimi 1864

We could not find the name of the engraver who has signed A G.

In [2] it is shown that the place where these patterns were struck is not known. Based on the close relations between the United Principalities and France - Napoleon III, emperor between 1852 and 1870, was a great friend of the Principalities - we can suppose that the pieces could have been struck in France. In this case AG could mean even Atelier de Gravure (Engraving Shop in French).

In [3] it is considered that the pattern was struck at Paris. Between 1855 and 1878 the chief engraver of the Paris mint was Désiré-Albert Barre, and, in conformity with the French habit, all coins struck were to wear the mark of the chief engraver - an anchor, in the particular case of D.A. Barre.

But, if we read AC instead of AG, as in [1], we would be able to identify the engraver as Armand Auguste Caqué (1793-1881) - he was the French artist appointed to engrave the coins of the United Principalities, in conformity with the project of the contract from 1860 [3, from a letter of French consul at Iași, Victor Place, to prince Cuza]. Of course, we must notice that the medals of the later were signed CAQUE F and not AC.


1. Crăciun Georgeta, Petrișor Elena, Catalog numismatic. Muzeul de istorie a Moldovei, Iași, 1970.

2. Iliescu O., Radovici P., Monetele României. Editura Enciclopedică, București, 2004.

3. Iorga N., Banii lui Cuza-vodă. Buletinul Societății numismatice române, nr. 47, 1923, p. 65-81.

4. Schäffer E., Stambuliu B., România - proiecte, probe monetare și catalogul monedelor emise. Galeria numismatică, 2009.

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