France: gilt bronze specimen medal by Antoine Bovy, for Napoleon Bonaparte's 1840 Paris funeral

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by lordmarcovan, Jun 27, 2020.


How interesting/appealing do you find this item, whether or not you're an expert? (1=worst, 10=best)

  1. 10

    7 vote(s)
  2. 9

    2 vote(s)
  3. 8

    4 vote(s)
  4. 7

    4 vote(s)
  5. 6

    0 vote(s)
  6. 5

    1 vote(s)
  7. 4

    0 vote(s)
  8. 3

    0 vote(s)
  9. 2

    0 vote(s)
  10. 1

    0 vote(s)
  1. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    France: gilt bronze specimen medal by Antoine Bovy, for Napoleon Bonaparte's 1840 Paris funeral
    Obverse: uniformed, bare headed bust of Napoleon Bonaparte left.
    Reverse: scene of Napoleon's original memorial on the island of Saint Helena.
    Issuer: engraved by Swiss-French medalist Antoine Bovy (1795-1877).
    Specifications: Gilt bronze, 41 mm. Plain edge. Struck in 1840.
    Grade: PCGS SP64; cert. #32592814.
    Reference: PCGS-544441, Bramsen-1990 gilt bronze, special strike.
    Provenance: ex-Mark Engelstad ("thebigeng" on Collectors Universe), 15 June 2019.
    Notes: After Napoleon's final defeat in the wars that bear his name, he was exiled to the remote island of Saint Helena, which is situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. He died and was buried there in 1821. In 1840, his remains were exhumed and returned to France, where they were eventually laid to rest in the Dôme des Invalides in Paris. This repatriation of the remains was called le retour des cendres , meaning "the return of the ashes". (This simply meant his mortal remains and not literal ashes, as Napoleon was not cremated.) This triumphal return of France's dead hero and his 1840 Paris funeral was the occasion of the striking of these medals, and this particular piece was a special gilt specimen of a type that was usually issued in plain bronze.
    Comments: The size of this medal is impressive, as is the flashiness of its gilt surfaces, but what is especially striking is the very high relief. It is quite attractive in hand and is housed in a double-thickness PCGS holder.* Some people have been confused by the "Bramsen-1990" catalog number on the label, believing that to be a date, and the medal thereby to be a restrike. This is not the case. While Bramsen variety #1990 is a posthumous Napoleonic medal, it is an original specimen striking from 1840, not a modern restrike.







    Napoleon-slab thickness.png


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  3. dadams

    dadams Well-Known Member

    Nice pick up LM - I gave a 7 only because I never really got into Napoleon or that era of history much. I'm sure those that study him would vote 10+ and honestly I probably short changed you on the vote since that really is a stellar medal!
    ddddd and lordmarcovan like this.
  4. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    Nice historical piece that is well done (I voted 8).
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  5. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER


    I gave it an 8 because I believe it is a restrike. ~ Chris
  6. thomas mozzillo

    thomas mozzillo Well-Known Member

    I voted 10. It's a beautiful medal re a very notable historical person. I wouldn't know if it's a restrike or not. If it is, I'd like to think that PCGS would be able to tell and would put it on the label. Maybe they don't.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  7. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    I doubt it. PCGS would have noted that. They do note the special strike (i.e. gilt instead of plain bronze). What makes you suspect this one of being a restrike?
  8. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    They do note the restrike....1990!

    If we were to be able to see the edge, it's my guess that the Different (mintmark) is the Cornucopia which was adopted as the permanent mintmark for all French medals in 1880, and continues to be used to this day. ~ Chris
    thomas mozzillo likes this.
  9. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    Bramsen 1990 is the catalog number. I'm not familiar with that publication but I see Bramsen numbers are used for a number of French medals.
    Obone and lordmarcovan like this.
  10. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Exactly. This.
  11. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    @cpm9ball- Look at the top left corner of the slab label. See the date there? 1840. Not "1840" in quotes. Not "1840 restrike".

    "Bramsen-1990" is the variety number, not a date!

    You aren't the first to have been confused by that, however. Someone else made a similar comment about how "modern" the medal was when I first bought it. Guess I need to add a note about that in the comments.

    PS- look at this one. See how they put "1805" in quotation marks? Now that's a restrike. It is Bramsen-421, which apparently means it was struck in 421 AD? So if mine is super modern, that one is really ancient! ;)
    Cucumbor likes this.
  12. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Okay! I'll concede that I may have been wrong about the date, but I looked at several of the listings and images of the 1840 medal. Some were bronze; some were copper, and some were gilt bronze or gilt copper. All of them referred to the same number - 1990. I can only conclude that it has nothing to do with whether it is copper, bronze or gilt. Why would they use the same number for all three metals?

    I keep thinking back to a decade ago when NGC stopped accepting foreign coins that were attributed by PCGS in their Registry Sets because their attributions were sometimes wrong. I can't help but think that they screwed the pooch on this one, too, and I still think that the Different on this one is more than likely a Cornucopia, meaning that it was a restrike some time after 1880.

    I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. ~ Chris
  13. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Because they're all different versions of the same design? That's why PCGS specifies "Bramsen-1990 gilt bronze". Could Bramsen have used "1990-A,B,C" instead? Sure, I guess, but they didn't.
    :hilarious: And NGC never made a wrong attribution?
    What is the "Different"? This piece has no cornucopia on it, on the edge or elsewhere, and is from 1840, not post-1880. Where and why do you keep imagining some cornucopia?
    Well, given that you were demonstrably wrong about the catalog number being a date, and then decided to double down by continuing to insist that the medal is a restrike on the basis of some imaginary cornucopia somewhere, or however else you got the idea, then yeah, we most certainly do disagree.

    When you first started in on this, I was concerned you might know something I didn't. But when I realized you were just another person confused by that catalog number, and that you had nothing, I was relieved.
    thomas mozzillo likes this.
  14. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Well, I guess it turns out that I do know something you don't! You don't know what a Different is or why it is used or when the Monnaies de Paris started using it.

    So, tell me! Who in the heck is Bramsen? What is his connection to numismatics? Please enlighten me because I couldn't find too much on him/her. I'm very familiar with Gadoury and Mitchiner, but I've never heard of Bramsen.

    I'm not trying to make this a "Who is better....NGC or PCGS?" It's just that when a mistake is made, I have a tendency to question an attribution rather than blindly take someone's word for it. You say that there is no marking on the edge, so I can only assume that you were the person who submitted this medal to PCGS. Am I correct? ~ Chris
  15. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    I quick Google search found this:

    Bramsen, L. : Médallier Napoléon Le Grand, Paris-Copenhagen, 1904/13.
    This is the standard reference book on Napoleonic medals. Though lacking illustrations, it is the book and numbering system to which most collectors refer.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  16. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    No wonder I couldn't find it! My lousy Win10 uses Bing. It's just one more reason why I hate Win10. Can you give me a link for him? TIA! ~ Chris
  17. thomas mozzillo

    thomas mozzillo Well-Known Member

    @cpm9ball Maybe you can find something if you search his full name; Ludvig Ernst Bramsen
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  18. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Bing SUCKS! It only lists the genealogy for family members. Thanks, anyway!
    ~ Chris
  19. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    Bramsen's Napoleonic Medals

    The full title of this catalog is:

    Ludvig Ernst Bramsen
    Médaillier Napoléon le Grand ou Description des Médailles, clichés, répoussés et médailles - décorations relatives aux affaires de la France pendant le Consulat et l'Empire
    published in Paris 1904-1913

    lordmarcovan likes this.
  20. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    @cpm9ball - I do not own the Bramsen catalog. I did not submit the medal.
    Yep. You were right on that, at least. Congratulations.

    One thing that we can agree upon is that I too hate (well, at least strongly dislike) Win10 and Bing (except for the scenic screensavers, maybe). I had to fight hard with my new (cheap, small HP) laptop in order to install Chrome on it, and the display is still wonky. But I "jailbroke" it and can use Chrome and Google now.
  21. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Like I mentioned before, "Bing SUCKS!"

    I would love to learn more about this publication even though I don't specialize in Napoleonic medals, but Bing is useless. Is there anyone who can give me a link?
    ~ Chris
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