Siege of Tournai 2 Sols

The iAuctions here at Stack’s Bowers are a great source for collectible coins within a reasonable budget and contain World and/or Ancient coins, with the inclusion of some notable highlights. One such highlight is this coin issued by the Spanish-controlled Netherlands, a copper 2 Sols. During the War of Spanish Succession, Europe and its colonial holdings erupted into conflict following the death of Charles II of the Habsburg Dynasty in 1700. The balance of power between the great houses of Europe was in jeopardy, which led to the situation that produced this siege coin. The Spanish Netherlands had been invaded by France repeatedly for decades before the death of Charles II, with an overall trend of French success. This specific piece was issued for the town of Tournai, which was frequently under siege from the 1500s to the 1700s. At the time of its striking (1709), the French controlled the city, defending it from the Spanish siege. The Spanish began the siege with 40,000 men while the town of Tournai had a garrison of only 7,000. The attack commenced on the night of July 7th and lasted until September 3rd, an impressive 69 days! The French suffered 3,800 casualties while inflicting 5,400 upon their attackers. This was one of the bloodiest sieges of the War of the Spanish Succession.

This coin is struck in copper and is uniface, owing to the necessities of producing coinage while avoiding cannon and musket fire. The obverse features a stone tower topped by a numeral “2” (for the denomination of 2 Sols) and below is the date 1709. The Latin inscription translates to “Tournai Besieged,” a fitting brief description for posterity. Featuring excellent centering and appealing toning, this piece offers a fleeting view into the warfare that gripped continental Europe for centuries.

Look for this and other numismatic pieces in our upcoming iAuctions. Preview this coin along with the rest of our iAuction items at the Browse Auctions link at If you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency for our iAuctions (whether a whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment directors by calling 800.458.4646.

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