′′ The Principality of Monaco and trade with the Levant in the Luigini time (XVIIth century) ", an outstanding exhibition at the Monaco Stamps and Coins Museum 22 to 25 October 2020
The Museum of Stamps and Currencies is hosting a sumptuous exhibition of very rare and beautiful old currencies, accompanied by archival materials and precious period books.
During the reign of Louis XIV, for a dozen years, Princes Honored II and Louis I were the most entrepreneurial actors in economic and trade policy developed with the Ottoman Empire called the ′′ Levant ", today reduced to the Turkey. Even before the end of the Franco-Spanish war enshrined in the Peace of the Pyrenees in 1659, Prince Honored II of Monaco had established commercial contacts with the Levant authorities. From 1662, Colbert, who had succeeded Nicolas Fouquet as ′′ French Finance Minister ", organized an ingenious system in which the Princess of Dombes, the German cousin of Louis XIV, as well as Prince Louis I of Monaco, would be closely linked by issuing the currency needed for commercial transactions.
The reality will exceed the objectives pursued by the project initiators. The Turkish people were so whole by the currencies showing the Princess of Dombes's portrait that they overvalued them and paid them up to twice their emission value, transforming them into a good. As a result, Louis I of Monaco and then Genoese and Tuscan lords on the Côte ligure hit massive millions of small silver currencies, later named luigini showing outrageously imitated portraits of the Princess of Dombes. Some unscrupulous speculators even cheated on the weight and title of their imitations to optimize their profit. This proliferation of poor quality luigini determined the Ottoman authorities to ban its circulation in 1669-1670.
It's this amazing story that this prestigious exhibition brings to life.