Bronze-like Metal D, AU
68 mm (2-5/8”), 134 grams
HISTORY: The purpose for the creation of this medal is lost to history. Commissioned by an unknown entity for an unknown award, it was struck by the French mint sometime during World War II from 1940 to 1944.
OBVERSE: Maurice Delannoy (1885‒1972) was a highly regarded sculptor and medalist, having settled into the Art Deco style of that era. By 1940, Delannoy was already a well-established artist, having been awarded the Légion d’honneur in 1936 (see also M072 and M073). For this medal, Delannoy sculpted the Greek goddess Aphrodite, kneeling at ocean’s edge. She has long been associated with doves, sparrows, and swans, and is portrayed here surrounded by a flock of doves. To her right and left are two cherubs astride dolphins, tending to the goddess. The cherub on the right caresses her hair while the cherub on the left offers a garland of roses, an Aphrodite symbol. Beneath the parapet is the Greek “AФPOΔITH.”
EDGE: Smooth-grooved, engraved with the Paris Mint cornucopia followed by “METAL·D.” During the Nazi German occupation (1940‒1944), bronze was used for war purposes, so other metals were used by the Paris Mint for the production of coins and medals. On August 25, 1944, Allied forces liberated Paris after fierce fighting against the German occupiers. The war raged on for another eight months, finally ending with the German surrender in Berlin on April 30, 1945. The Paris Mint, once again, resumed production of its medals with the use of bronze.