World Coins

Pair of Napoleon medals sell at Spink auction in July

This gilt silver medal from 1840 celebrates the return of Napoleon Bonaparte’s ashes to the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris.

Images courtesy of Spink.

Napoleon has probably appeared on more different medals than any other political or historical figure.

Medals marking his milestones continued even after his death.

Napoleon medals are historically rich and eminently affordable artifacts. 

A pair of medals of the same design, issued in 1840 to mark the return of Napoleon’s ashes to the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris, sold separately in Spink’s July 19 auction in London. 

The medals were designed by the Baron of Montagny for Abbé J. Pourrat. 

Napoleon appears on the obverse, while on the reverse pallbearers deliver his casket up a flight of stairs to an awaiting Marianne. 

Both medals in the Spink auction were accompanied by a contemporary fitted case.

The gilt silver version weighs 72.7 grams and measures 55 millimeters in diameter. The auction house reported minor rim bumps and hairlines in the fields but assessed it as otherwise better than Very Fine.

The plain silver version weighs 69.28 grams and measures 53 millimeters in diameter. The auction house noted its condition as “hairlines in fields otherwise Good Very Fine or better for strike.”

Each medal separately realized a hammer price of €150 ($167 U.S.). 

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