The French Franc originated as far back as 1360 in the form of a gold coin to pay the ransom of King John II of France. The early hammered coins are some of the most undervalued in uncirculated condition. From 1200 to 1600, these coins are top picks by the Hard Asset Management research department for long term growth. The Franc was abolished as a legal coin by Louis XIII in 1641 in favor of the gold Louis and silver écu. Some of the most beautiful French coins come from this era, including the 1748 Louis XV and the 1786-D Louis XVI. After the French Revolution, the Franc again became the national currency from 1795 until 1999, including this 1811 Napoleon 5 centimes franc.