Arkansas Post (Poste Aux Akansas) 1690
From our history books we know that the French explorers were instrumental in opening up the interior of North America to European colonization. They began their explorations with the Great Lakes, found the Mississippi river by exploring south and west from Lake Michigan, and explored southwards, establishing settlements at prominent places along the way. It took them many years to finally arrive at the mouth of the Mississippi River!
Along the way these French traders and trappers established friendly relations with Native American tribes along the way. In fact, the French were far more friendly with the Indians than the English or Americans ever were. One of the early settlements was on the Arkansas River in what is now Eastern Arkansas. It was located adjacent to a village of the Quapaw tribe (known in those days as the Akansas). Thus the French village became known as “Poste Aux Akansas” which roughly translates in meaning as “Settlement next to the Akansas”.
Today the site is known as”Arkansas Post“, and there is a National Memorial site and visitor center there.
By 1690, when we have dated our commemmorative coin… the settlement was thriving. In our fictionalized account of the story, the town fathers requested a coinage for their settlement in order to establish it firmly as the regional trading center, with hopes for future growth.
Of course, in the real world no such coinage was ever issued… the colony remained too small to require such… but if the crown had deigned to spend a little and create this currency, who knows how important Poste Aux Akansas might have become!
We issue this comemmorative colonial piece to celebrate the history of the colony in a coin that could conceivably have existed. The obverse shows the haughty King Louis XIV at his jowly best… you can almost hear him shout “Letat, cest moi!” (translation: “I AM the state!”) as advisers and sycophants bow and scurry at his feet! The inscriptions declare him king of France and her colonies.
The reverse bears the royal crown above, and a field bearing three fleurs des lis and a crosses bow and arrow. The bows are an interesting recurve style, as shown in a period drawing of Quapaw warriors. (see below).
This largish copper coin denominated one-sol, weighs about 9 grammes of pure copper, is about 26 mm in diameter, and is done in the classic style of 17th century French coinage. The condition of the is EF+ (extremely fine plus) with little wear and a delicate toning.