This Verdun coin, as my mother called it, has been in my family for
some time. I am not sure which of our line brought it back from
France, but it was likely my grandmother or her mother.
I understand that this is a medal, and suspect it is commemorative.
I don’t see a mechanism for wearing it on a uniform. It has been
stored in a pouch and seems in good shape, but how should I store it
to keep the leather pouch from deteriorating?
When and how many were made? How were they distributed? What is its value?
K. Atchley / Pauline, S.C.
The reader provided images of the 1916 Verdun medal, an official
issue of the city of Verdun that was struck by the Paris Mint.
The Battle of Verdun stretched from Feb. 21 to Dec. 15, 1916, and
was one of the most important battles of World War I — and certainly
the longest. French and German armies waged war north of Verdun in
northeastern France for an ultimate stalemate. When battle ended, the
toll on both sides was more than 250,000 dead and 500,000 wounded.
The medal was ordered Nov. 20, 1916, by the Municipal Council of
Verdun, in honor of the city’s defense.
The medal designer was sculptor Emile Seraphin Vernier, the prolific
artist whose name appears with the 1917 date on the obverse, along
with a personification of Marianne (representing the French
Republic).It also shows the phrase ILS NE PASSERONT PAS (“They shall
not pass”) from Gen. Robert Nivelle’s June 23, 1916, speech to his troops.
Castle turrets and the date Feb. 21, 1916, appear on the reverse.
The medal was originally to be awarded only to those on the Verdun
Front between Feb. 23 and Nov. 2, 1916, but it was eventually extended
to all those who fought anywhere in the Argonne and St. Mihiel sectors
between July 31, 1914, and Nov. 11, 1918.
As for storage, since leather is potentially corrosive, the medal
should be removed from its pouch and placed in a safer holder.
The medal is common in bronze, especially with loops for suspension.
Online sales suggest either version of the medal is worth between $15
More from CoinWorld.com:
million 11th century coin hoard discovered by metal detectorist in England
50th Anniversary 2014 Kennedy half dollars draw crowds: Top 10
Stories of 2014
are they going to open the Boston time capsule and see what's inside?
Trade dollar series remains one of the most heavily counterfeited
among U.S. coins
Mint making Proof 2015-W silver American Eagles available for more
customers during FUN Show
Keep up with all of CoinWorld.com's news and insights by signing
up for our free eNewsletters, liking us on
Facebook, and following
us on Twitter. We're also on Instagram!