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‘Thought it was a joke’: Builders find historic $482k coins in French manor

·2-min read
Pile of coins dating back to 1638.
The proceeds of the auction will be split between the owners of the house and the builders. (Image: Deloys).

A stash of 239 coins dating back to 1638 found by builders working on a French manor are expected to reach (€300,000) $482,000 at auction later this month.

The coins were discovered in Plozévet, Brittany, in 2019 but were minted during the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XIII, or between the years 1638 and 1692.

One coin – a rare “double” Louis d’Or minted in 1646 – is estimated to be just one of 120 versions to have survived to the present day, and is expected to sell for at least €15,000 alone.

The money from the auction will be split between the owners of the house and the three builders, with each group to receive 50 per cent.

WATCH: Running low on historic French coins? Here's how to save $1,000.

The three builders, who were working to merge a nursery and a barn, discovered the coins inside a metal box that had been lodged within a wall.

Days later, they found another purse containing coins that have also been deemed authentic by the French Regional Preventative Archaeology Service.

The mansion was built in the 13th century, and was likely owned by a wealthy farmer. It is now owned by 63-year-old François Mion and his wife.

He was at work in Paris when he received the builders’ call in October 2019.

Close up of French coins dating back to 1638.
The coins were likely a wealthy farmer's savings. (Image: Deloys).

“I thought it was a joke,” he told Le Télégramme. “But, no!”

The area where the coins were discovered was historically a major trade region, with much industry tied to exporting wines from Bordeaux to England, and cereals to northern Europe.

However, it saw an economic decline between 1750 and 1850 as Normandy developed its own rival ports. It soon rebounded with a thriving fishing economy.

The coins will go for auction on 29 September, the auction house Deloys said.

“It's a dreamy story,” Deloys said in its auction alert.

It said the coins are likely hundreds-year-old savings, due to the fact that the coins come from 19 different cities.

The auction will take place in person, although the auction house is also taking phone bids.

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