Bronze, AU (Lightly toned)
40 mm (1-5/8”), 42.52 grams
HISTORY: Charles Gustave de Marey (1878‒1967), French sculptor and medalist, born in Verneuil-sur-Avre, studied in Paris under Denys Puech (1854‒1942) and Marc Robert (1875‒1962). His neo-classic medallic work spanned 14 years (1900 to 1914). This early piece was commissioned by the “UNION NATIONALE DU COMMERCE ET DE L’INDUSTRIE ALLIANCE DES CHAMBRES SYNDICALES” (National Chamber of Commerce).
OBVERSE: Marey chose a classical cast of characters for this commerce medal, featuring Mercury, the Roman god of commerce, communication, travelers, and luck. Hermes, the Greek counterpart, is often featured with winged shoes (talaria) and winged hat (petasos). He is illustrated on this bronze medal with a caduceus (herald staff with two entwined snakes) in his left hand and reaching out his right hand to grasp the right hand of Larunda, nymph and daughter of river deity Almo. Larunda is a minor female deity associated with air, words, and water. Ovid (Roman poet, 43 BC‒17 AD) mentions in his book, Fasti, that Mercury sired two children with Larunda.
The right foot of Mercury rests on what appears to be a small ship propeller. Larunda holds a blacksmith hammer in her left hand, her elbow leaning on an anvil, while her left foot touches a cogged gear wheel. On a pedestal behind her rests a column rising through a sprig of laurel. To the lower left is the signature “CH. MAREY.”
REVERSE: Continuing the commerce theme, leaning on top of a low parapet is a large, industrial cogged gear wheel, a caduceus radiating from the center. A blacksmith’s hammer leans against the wheel. In the shadow behind these features sits a large anvil. Framing the medal to the left is an oak branch, morphing into a laurel branch. To the lower right is the signature “CH. MAREY.” Following the organization name is their address, “10 R. DE LANCRY PARIS.”
EDGE: Smooth, engraved with Paris Mint hallmark cornucopia followed by “BRONZE.”