French 1/2 Ecu coin, Louis XIV, Castine, 1690

Contributed by Maine Historical Society

French 1/2 Ecu coin, Louis XIV, Castine, 1690

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This French Ecu coin was part of a cache found at the mouth of the Bagaduce River, indicating the area's thriving trade in the 1600s. The head of the coin depicted the profile of King Louis XIV and the text "LVD.XIIII.D.G.FR.ET.NAV.REX/1690." The reverse side featured the text "VINC/IMF/GHRS/REGN" and a center relief design with a "K" surrounded by the motif of the letter "L," crowns, and fleurs-de-lis.

Present-day Castine was a contested area of overlapping Wabanaki, English, and French claims for centuries. In 1674, during a period of French control, Dutch privateers attacked the fort and took the Baron of Saint-Castin (Jean Vincent d’Abbadie) and others hostage for ransom. When Saint-Castin returned to Castine in 1677, he established a trading post among Wabanakis on the Bagaduce River, about six miles from the old fort.

In 1684 Chief Madockawando’s daughter, Pidianiske (baptized as Molly Mathilde), married Saint-Castin and solidified the alliance between the French and Penobscot. Family ties and reciprocal relations gave Saint-Castin a stronger footing among Wabanaki people than the English settlers and traders encroaching up the coast. There are many Penobscot descendants of Jean Vincent and Pidianske in Maine, including WWII combat medic Charles Shay and Penobscot tribal historian James Francis.

In 1840, the Grindle family found hundreds of coins buried on their farm. It is possible that this coin was part of a secret stash from Saint-Castin’s trading post.

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About This Item

  • Title: French 1/2 Ecu coin, Louis XIV, Castine, 1690
  • Creation Date: 1690
  • Subject Date: 1690
  • Town: Castine
  • County: Hancock
  • State: ME
  • Media: Silver
  • Dimensions: 3.3 cm x 3.3 cm
  • Local Code: A00-52-15
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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