Artifact of the Week: French douzain


This coin is a French douzain, excavated from the Oyster Bay site at Canaveral National Seashore in 1995. This particular coin dates to 1552, during the reign of Henry II, and is made of billon, a silver alloy. The “H” beneath the shield on the front side indicates that the coin was minted at La Rochelle. Several other coins were found in the same area during excavations, perhaps suggesting there was a cache.

Evidence found during the excavations at Oyster Bay suggests that French sailors were living in the area and producing metal goods for the indigenous populations following a shipwreck in 1565. The Spanish navy had pursued the French survivors; many of the French sailors surrendered, but about 20 of them decided to take their chances at Oyster Bay and forge a new life for themselves.

CANA 1185
FS 14.1, Catalogue # CANA 6938