This coin is my favorite. It is a silver Denier Chinonais from the county of Blois, a region to the west of Paris. The obverse shows a cross surrounded by the legend + BEISIS CASTIO (Blois Castle - "Beisis" is an alternate spelling). The reverse shows a highly stylized portrait of a ruler facing to the right. The three or four parallel lines at the 5:00 position represent his chin and mouth, while the triangular spikes from 9:00 to 12:00 represent his crown. Marlys said that it looks rather "Picasso-esque" and with the apparent placement of the other eye at 2:00, I agree. It also appears that he has his hair in dreadlocks with big beads at the ends (6:00 to 8:00). Hmmmm . . . The earliest examples of this coin show a much more "normal" looking portrait, but as time passed the engravers either got lazy or had lost the necessary skills and we end up with this very abstract version. Or maybe they just decided to see how far they could push it. In any case, this coin dates from the early 12th to the mid 13th century. Several mints from this county produced this same general style of coin, first in Chinon, (Chinonais), then in Blois and Chartres. This coin is in F/VF (Fine to Very Fine) condition.
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Raymond VII of Toulouse