Lr 300 — France Louis XIV Dynastic Medal. 1693. Silver.

Currency:CAD Category:Coins & Paper Money Start Price:75,000.00 CAD Estimated At:75,000.00 - 100,000.00 CAD
Lr 300 — France Louis XIV Dynastic Medal. 1693. Silver.

Buyer’s Premiums will be added on all items as per the Terms & Conditions of the sale. Invoices will be emailed out after all sessions of the Toronto Coin Expo Spring Sale have concluded.

Betts-75. Breton-1. 75.5mm. 216.9g. Plain edge. Signed H. ROUSSEL. As last, from the original dies but struck in silver. The significance of this offering is simply impossible to overstate. It is one of perhaps just three surviving examples of the first type of Indian peace medal in silver awarded by the French to their allies in New France during the late-17th and early 18th centuries. Consider the importance of these diplomatic medals, as related by Robert Wellington, a noted expert on the art and culture of Louis XIV’s France:

“Officers of the French colony required a steady supply of them to meet the needs of the indigenous warriors who fought alongside them. The intrinsic value of the silver from which these medals were made was of far less importance to the Native Americans than their symbolic value. Along with their weapons, these medals were trophies of their military prowess taken with them to the grave. Medals represented a powerful connection for the Amerindian warriors to their foreign allies. So much so, in that during a conference with Governor of New France in 1756, Kouée, an Oneida chief cast aside two English medals in a symbolic act of breaking with his former allies. This seems to prove that where medals were concerned symbolic value trumped monetary worth in the Native American gift economy. Historians of colonial America have long been fascinated with Indian Peace Medals, as these have come to be called. They represented tangible material evidence of early contact between European colonists and America’s Native Peoples.”

Everything about this medal leads us to believe that it is, in fact, an original — one of two we are aware of in silver in private hands. Such a medal was missing from all but one of the major collections offered publicly going back more than 150 years as far as we can tell. That includes the likes of Hunter and Wilson, Reford, LaRivière, Ford, Robins, Ness, the list goes on. Donald Partrick did have a large-size silver medal, but it was struck after 1879 and the reverse was from copy dies. The sole exception to the list of collectors above was John W. Adams, whose unparalleled collection did include large-size originals of Lr. 300 in copper, silver, and gold. The Adams example in silver was offered by Sotheby’s in June 1992 as part of the Duke of Northumberland Collection. Although it was purchased by John J. Ford, Jr., who had the opportunity to keep it for himself, Ford passed it on to Adams as a gesture of “fraternal amity.” According to the cataloguer, Ford “never found another original striking of this medal.” That piece now resides in an American collection. The only other large-size original in silver we are aware of is permanently housed in the American Numismatic Society collection. It has a hanger that is not contemporary to the medal.
The rims on this piece match those of Adams’ gold and silver representatives. They also match the gold original held in the Bibliotèque Nationale. Some may argue that the lack of a hanger precludes its distribution as a peace medal. However, evidence suggests that medals sent to New France for presentation may have been forwarded without loops, and that it could have been the responsibility of the recipient to have one made should he desire. Ultimately, more research needs to be done. Doug Robins was of the belief that this medal was an original strike. Included with the lot is a letter signed by Robins attesting to its status: “In my opinion this is the original first striking of this item, struck in the period it is dated, and it is authentic in all respects.”
The silver surfaces feature gunmetal patina with iridescent accents. There are scattered marks in the fields on each side, on the portrait, and around the rims but all are relatively small and inconsequential. The highest points of the design show evidence of light handling — a feature we believe is desirable in a medal that was meant to be awarded.
This is the ultimate highlight of the Michael Joffre Collection of Canadian Historical Medals. Indeed it is the first time since 2009 that any large-size silver original of the 1693 Louis XIV Dynastic medal has been offered, and only the second time in the last three decades. Truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the most advanced Indian peace medal collectors and French Regime specialists.
Ex: Purchased from Doug Robins (2013). Documentation and photographs included.
From the Michael Joffre Collection of Canadian Historical Medals.