French currency in the 18~19th century?

I'm reading Les Miserables and I'm just wondering what all these francs and sous are worth.

How many centimes are in a sou?

How many sous are in a franc?

How many francs are in a louis?

What's a napoleon?

Also, what is a franc worth back then in terms of USD now?

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  • 9 years ago
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    From: Encyclopaedia Britannica Online

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/348670/l...

    Quote: "Louis, also called Louis D’or, gold coin circulated in France before the Revolution. The franc and livre were silver coins that had shrunk in value to such an extent that by 1740 coins of a larger denomination were needed. The French kings therefore had gold coins struck and called after their name Louis, or louis d’or (“gold Louis”). After the Revolution, Napoleon continued the practice but called the coins “napoleons.” They had a value of 20 francs."

    So a louis and a napoleon were the same and valued at the time as 20 francs.

    In 1795, during the French Revolution, the government set the franc as a decimal unit:

    1 franc = 10 decimes = 100 centimes

    (Note: Our US dollar is a decimal unit of currency - 1 dollar = 10 dimes = 100 pennies.)

    At the time a franc was of 4.5 grams of fine silver.

    You can read more about the history of French currency here, if you wish:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_franc

    To simplfy --

    After 1794, in France

    1 gold napoleon (same as a louis as noted above) = 20 francs (equivalent to $4.00 of US currency in 1800)

    1 franc = 100 centimes (as noted above) (equivalent to $ .20 / 20 cents of US currency in 1800 - divide $4.00 by 20)

    1 centime (equivalent of $. 02 / 2 cents of US currency in 1800)

    Source: http://www.cyberussr.com/hcunn/gold-std.html#franc...

    The sou was the smallest value currency of all. Slightly less than 25 sous equaled 1 franc.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_livre

    (I had to do some mathematical figuring for that value.)

    1 sou (equivalent of 1/8 of a US cent in 1800 - $. 02 divided by 25)

    To figure out what those values are equivalent to in today's dollars and cents, I used a value calculator on this web page.

    http://www.measuringworth.com/ppowerus/?redirurl=c...

    It gives value conversions from 1774 up to 2009 in US dollars/purchasing power.

    With that calculator, $1.00 in 1800 in the USA had the same purchasing power as $17.60 did in 2009.

    Whew!

    I'll let you do the rest of the value conversion.

    Best wishes

    Source(s): Reference/information librarian
    • Majid5 years agoReport

      ce n'est pas sous !

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  • ?
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    French Currency

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    French currency in the 18~19th century?

    I'm reading Les Miserables and I'm just wondering what all these francs and sous are worth.

    How many centimes are in a sou?

    How many sous are in a franc?

    How many francs are in a louis?

    What's a napoleon?

    Also, what is a franc worth back then in terms of USD now?

    Source(s): french currency 18 19th century: https://tr.im/Rh0eg
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  • 4 years ago

    Thanks for the answers!

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
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