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Category: Exonumia



Bronze, AU

41 mm (1.61”), 34 grams

OBVERSE: Designed by turn-of-the-century French sculptor and medalist Louis Octave Mattei (11/20/1877–uncertain). A muscular archer is shown drawing a bow, his eye on the target, and he appears to be wearing a warrior’s helmet. Interestingly, in the lower left quadrant at about 7 o’clock, the letters “A. Gros” can be seen. Research suggests that this could be French painter Antoine-Jean Gros (3/16/1771–6/25/1835). Mattei, it seems, had used images for other medals based on portions of previous French artists’ works, also acknowledging them with their initials. Or, perhaps, since Mattei did not sign the obverse, it may have been designed by another contemporary medalist whom I sought but could not find.

REVERSE: A flat, circular disk dominates the center, designed as a placement for engraved notation for the winner of this award—name, date, place, etc. (in this case, only the date 1952). To the left is an oak branch wrapped around the disk; to the right is, what I assume, the maiden of France, Marianne, reaching out with a victorious laurel wreath. The signature “L.O. Mattei” is bottom center. It is interesting that this identical reverse design is also used on another medal, “La Musique” (Woman with Lyre).

EDGE: The bottom edge is engraved “BRONZE,” preceded by the Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint) engraver’s hallmark. Under magnification, the small, incused square frames a wing with an upper-case “M” (?) above left and an upper-case “D” above right. From my research, the wing hallmark was used from 1931–1958, into which time frame this medal was created.

Bottom Edge