Gilded Bronze, AU
86 mm (3-3/8”), 280 grams
HISTORY: Twelve miles southwest of Paris is the city of Versailles, one-time capital of France when Louis XIV (1638‒1715) was king. He began the construction of a palace that would ultimately cost the equivalent of $300 billion, bankrupt the country, lead to a social revolution, and overthrow the aristocracy. The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of Louis XIV through Louis XVI (1754‒1793), his great-great grandson.
OBVERSE: Sculptor and medalist Raymond Pierre Louis Corbin (1907‒2002) created this unique gilded medal. He was a member of Académie des Beaux-Arts from 1970 until his death, having replaced his mentor Henri Dropsy (1885‒1969). View medals by Dropsy on M034 and M042.
“NEC PLURIBUS IMPAR” (a Latin phrase meaning “Not unequal to many” or expanded to imply “many suns” or “many tasks”) was the embodied motto of Louis XIV, the “Sun King,” which was illustrated by a head in the center of radiated sunlight. Sixteen allegorical sculptures by Franҫois Girardon (1628‒1715) were placed around the Parterre d’Eau (Water Terrace) on the west side of the palace. The foreground sculpture is of Artemis, sister of Apollo, with an attendant nymph. The palace, beyond the Parterre d’Eau, completes the composition. “CORBIN” signature is located in the lower right.
REVERSE: One of numerous iterations of “LA VILLE DE VERSAILLES” coat of arms was chosen to coronate this medal.
EDGE: Smooth, engraved with Paris Mint hallmark cornucopia followed by “BRONZE” along the bottom and “A MONSIEUR ET MADAME LOUIS MESNAGE A L’OCCASION DE LEURS NOCES D’OR LE 28 OCTOBRE 1994” along the top. This memento was issued to Mr. and Ms. Louis Mesnage on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary (October 28, 1994).