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First Modern French Bank 1850.


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IMG_1816_edited.jpg

IMG_1818_edited.jpg

 

This medal was issued for the establishment of the first modern french bank.

 

1850. 45mm. silver Rev: National D'Escompte De Paris 1850, Republiqve Francaise. CREATION VII-VIII MARS MDCCCXLVIII / INSTITVTION IX-X MARCH / CONSTITVTION XX-MARCH / ORGANIZATION-XXVIII-MARCH / SOVS COMPTOIRS-XXIV-MARS / PROROCATION DV COMPTOIR / XX-FEVRIER-XXII-MARS V AVRIL- MDCCCL.

Engravers J.Cavelier and L.Merley

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This medal dates from the short-lived IIème République (between the 1848 revolution and Napoléon III's coup d'état of 1851). I've always found interesting the symbols that were drawn upon to represent the republic (and institutions such as banks etc) after 15 years or so of Napoléon and 33 years of restoration of the monarchy. Besides the standard symbols of industry I love the Greek ship --looks like the Argo to me!-- plus the caduceus... I think that by this point France liked to make a gesture back to the iconography of the Revolution, which was primarily Greek, as opposed to the Roman model adopted by Napoléon.

 

How about that odd-looking triangular tower on the left obverse? Looks like a primitive Eiffel tower in stone, 39 years before the fact...

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How about that odd-looking triangular tower on the left obverse? Looks like a primitive Eiffel tower in stone, 39 years before the fact...

 

I believe it is an early greek lighthouse (pharos), goes with the Argo which you can just see behind it. Plus there is an anchor, bundled goods and a quay all nautical. ( You have to wait to see the whole ship on the reverse)

 

I also like the steam train on the viaduct, the bee hive, the hammer and anvil, etc. and that's just the obverse.

 

You are correct about the ancient Greek influence, as you say a bit of a backlash against imperialism and monarchy and a vote for democracy.

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lol -- I did wonder what that funny looking thing was behind the tower; now I see it's the ship's stern... and you're right, it's all nautical left, and all bunched up land stuff on the right (the contest must've been: How many symbols can you pack in per square centimeter?). :ninja: But here's the kicker: what do you suppose is visible between the two allegorical figures? the horizontal lines? My guess is it's a strongbox, like on this Banque de France jeton: Omnicoin link

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