FRANCE, bronze medal, (c. 1810), Napoleon & Marie Louise


FRANCE, medal, no date (c. 1810), Obverse: busts of Napoleon & Marie Louise R, ANDRIEU F. on truncation, DENON DIE. below, Reverse: blank field, upset edge, bronze, 42mm, 39.37g, unimportant die break obv, AU

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From the 16th century to the mid-20th Europe in general, and France in particular, loved art medals, which were generally cheaper than good paintings. Napoleon in particular was fond of medals. There are hundreds of medal types related to the great French dictator.

There are two kinds of things that are called “medals.” One is things that look like coins but don’t express a value. Sometimes those medals are considerably larger than most coins. The other kind of medal is a metal thing designed to be displayed on one’s chest, often a reward for something, often in a military context. If the medal is small enough it is sometimes called a “medallet.”

The word “exonumia” is used to describe all kinds of things that are “like” coins but are not coins.I wrote a blog post on that subject. Basic categories: 1. used like a coin but not issued by a national government, 2. looks like a coin but not made for spending, 3. other things that we are interested in.