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    Jetons, French royals and 19th century, misc

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  1. Excellent! Thanks Pat for adding the article, and thanks to Jeff Saward for his research. Of course, at least one 12th/13th-century French cathedral (Chartres) has a very large labyrinth laid into the center of the stone floor. I don't think that the secular motto FATA VIAM INVENIENT was originally linked with that medieval tradition, though --but I'm happy to be proved wrong!
  2. Saw this jeton on eBay and it piqued my curiosity: Spanish Netherlands, bust of Phillip II. His motto DOMINUS MIHI ADIUTOR, "God my help." Verso: a labyrinth with the inscription: 1591 (hand --an engraver's mark?) FATA VIAM INVENIENT. Two small holes in center --perhaps used as a button. Copper, 30 mm. The quote on the verso is from Book X of the Aeneid: Jupiter has listened to Venus and Juno, supporting opposing sides in the battle between Aeneas's Trojans and the Italians, or Rutulians ("red-haired," meaning blond --cf. Spanish rubio, "blond"). To put an end to it, Jupiter declares that from this point on the gods will not intervene; the human struggle will be determined by humans alone, with only the implacable Fates determining the outcome: ‘Take my words to heart and fix them there. Since Italians and Trojans are not allowed to join in alliance, and your disagreement has no end, I will draw no distinction between them, Trojan or Rutulian, whatever luck each has today, whatever hopes they pursue, whether the camp’s under siege, because of Italy’s fortunes, or Troy’s evil wanderings and unhappy prophecies. Nor will I absolve the Rutulians. What each has instigated shall bring its own suffering and success. Jupiter is king of all, equally: the fates will determine the way.' As I was poking about online for more information about this jeton, I came across an article (which unfortunately is no longer accessible online) pointing out that the labyrinth (except for a tree inscribed in its center) is exactly the same as that which appears in Claude Paradin's Devises heroïques (published in Latin in 1551 and in French and Latin in 1557): Unlike previous works that offered a useful catalogue raisonné of noble badges or imprese (keeping track of nobles' coats of arms etc and offering some explanation of their origin), Paradin's collection of devices reflects a different approach, one more typical of the emblem-books which begin to appear in France around 1540. The woodcut images are presented to the reader more neutrally, their interpretation sometimes wandering away from previously determined meanings. The author's role is both presenter and observer; he offers himself less as an authority figure than as an informed spectator, and the overall style of the work seems to invite others to pick up these enigmatic devises and use them in new settings, with perhaps new meanings. The gloss offered by Paradin shows this speculative approach: As for the device of the Seigneur de Boisdauphin, present Archbishop of Ambrun, it could possibly be understood as meaning that to find our way to eternal life, the grace of God is given us, in the form of the thread of His holy commandments [ like the thread given to Theseus by Ariadne to defeat the Minotaur ]. Such that by holding to this thread and following it always we should succeed in bringing ourselves out of the dangerous detours of the world's terrible straits. The engraver of this 1591 jeton reproduces Paradin's image exactly --perhaps transferring directly to the die an image copied from the book-- and yet offers no further guidance to its possible meaning(s) in its new context: the Eighty Years' War between the Spanish Hapsburgs and Dutch Protestants. The war must certainly have seemed labyrinthine to both sides at times.
  3. Just saw what appears to be this same medal, in copper, on FleaBay and remembered this topic from a few years back... http://www.ebay.fr/itm/RARE-jeton-cuivre-PRELIMINARIES-OF-PEACE-SIGNED-MAY-30-1814-24-mm-A-VOIR-/112361345937?hash=item1a29421391:g:TGAAAOSwMgdXxyNN
  4. Truly awesome. I love old hand-engraving on old silver pieces, and here you have impeccable documentation. A real prize.
  5. French and Spanish. There are other CPeeps who can read Russian, Greek, some Asian languages, Arabic... just have to get them to see this thread.
  6. An uncirculated coin shows detail that (sometimes) I've never even seen on that particular coin --I'm thinking of early American large cents. That's really exciting --to be able to see all the little bits, the small die breaks, the quirks of serifs on engraved letters and numbers. At the same time, a coin that has aged gracefully --without too much wear and without scratches or dings-- is a beautiful thing. Old copper and old silver have a priceless tone that only time can give.
  7. This one looks like someone was perhaps in a race to finish the engraving before the light gave out?
  8. Nuremberg copies? Yeah, the die breaks and the less-than-perfect engraving kinda give it away.
  9. Like a sign painter who goes right on lettering until he realizes he's out of space...
  10. I don't think I've ever seen one with AVT VINCERE instead of AVT VINCI. Like you, I also thought that VINCERE and (late Latin) MORIRE could be rendered as VINCI and MORI --but then again, my Latin isn't my strongest subject... There are some pretty wild alternative spellings on some French early jetons. There's the Henri III-era series --often copied by Nuremberg engravers-- that has on one side the motto DE PRVDENCE VIENT ABONDANCE, where the ABONDANCE is sometimes rendered as simply ABONDA, or ABODENCE, or ABONDECE (sic)...
  11. Love the jeton with the square nail hole, Pat. A great find. I agree, I don't think it's in Feuardent. I also don't think it's a Nuremberg copy --it's high quality engraving and the metal seems pretty solid. French sellers often will list "not in Feuardent" jetons as "Finédit" --that is, Feuardent inédit, not in his édition. This is a happy shorthand --every time I see Finédit, I think FINE...
  12. Yes, it takes a good sense of humor. French sellers seem to have a system where they will ask a very high price and try to convince everyone of the great value of what they're trying to sell... over and over and over, for years (it seems). Eventually they will dump the piece for 1/3 of what they were asking --but anonymously, so no one knows. That said, I have seen a few rare pieces that are actually put up for auction go quite low on ebay.fr --or at least a good deal lower than prices at cgb.fr or inumis.fr.
  13. Yes, that's the one I have. Is is useful for the pictures, and for the handy organization that (like everyone selling jetons) follows Feuardent. It's very annoying to figure out sometimes just where in Feuardent to look for a specific jeton. I just pick up Gadoury and check quickly the organization in the table of contents. The problem with this book for me is that Gadoury's notions of what's rare or not are not always in the ballpark. It may be very helpful if you're only collecting 19th-c. jetons, which is what Gadoury does best. I collect 16th-c jetons which, because they are often rare, are harder to come by and harder to price. In the 1992 book Gadoury has very few 16th-c jetons (why exactly I don't know; it may be a conscious choice) and when he has one, he doesn't know how to price it. I've spent many days going through the online archives for jeton sales at cgb.fr (which is usually too expensive, except for their e-auctions) or at inumis.fr (which is less expensive but does lower volume). It has helped me enormously in determining just what a good price might be for a particular jeton. The mintages for earlier jetons are rarely known (unlike coins) so you just have to check how often a particular piece comes on the market. I've gotten in the habit of searching ebay.fr --not to buy anything, just to get a sense of what's more common, what's rarely seen.
  14. What is the publication you're referring to? I have a hard-bound sale catalogue from 1992 (I think) which I used to think was useful --until I started to go through cgb.fr's archives. I also look through inumis.fr's archives, although they got into the jeton game a bit later than cgb.
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