Renowned medalists recognize battlefield achievements with high-relief art medals

Imagery captures impact from both sides of conflict
By , Coin World
Published : 10/20/14
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The following is a segment from Paul Gilkes' cover feature in the November Monthly issue of Coin World, dealing with World War I and the many numismatic collectibles that are related to that war. 

While World War I military decorations often recognize battle achievements, numerous examples of medallic art add to the accolades.

The Battle of Saint-Mihiel in France was fought against German positions from Sept. 12 to 15, 1918, by the 550,000-member American Expeditionary Force and 48,000 French troops under the command of U.S. Gen. John J. Pershing, a subsequent Medal of Honor recipient.

The United States Army Air Service (which later became the United States Air Force) played a significant role in this action. 

This battle, a victory for the Allies, marked the first use of the term “D-Day” to signify the start of a major combat offensive.

French sculptor, engraver and medalist Édouard Fraisse executed a 68-millimeter bronze medal to recognize the victory, during which 13,300 German prisoners were taken.

Examples of the medal can often be found for less than $200.

Gen. Hermann von Koevess was the final, albeit totally ceremonial, commander-in-chief of the military forces of Austria-Hungary. 

Von Koevess was near retirement when he was given the command post soon after World War I broke out.

Although relatively undistinguished during his final military assignment, von Koevess is recognized on at least two 33-millimeter silver medals from 1916.

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