Ask column from the Jan. 16, 2017, issue of Coin World:
Upon my father’s passing some 20 years ago, I received a number of
things he had collected in his lifetime, including some medals. One
medal appears to be bronze and bears designs military in nature.
I’ve attached images to help in its identification.
Charles Howerton / Via email
The 70-millimeter gilded bronze medal is indeed military in nature.
Designed, engraved and signed by Belgian engraver Pierre Theunis, its
obverse and reverse designs reflect effects of Germany’s 1914 invasion
of Belgium during the early stages of World War I.
The obverse depicts the city of Namur as a crowned woman standing,
her arms crossed in defiance, flanked by two nude female figures,
seated and resting. The seated figures personify the Sambre and Meuse rivers.
Inscribed around the top border is NAMUR BRAVE LES OBUS AUTRICHIENS,
which translates from French into English as “Namur braves the
Austrian shells.” A bridge and mountainscape are in the background.
The engraver’s signature, P. THEUNIS, appears above the exergue, in
which is inscribed 4–25 AOUT 1914 (August 4 to 25, 1914). A circled AM
monogram below the nude at right stands for the Amis de la Medaille d’
Art (Friends of the Art Medal). The dates mark the Aug. 4 start of
German forces shelling Namur, using heavy artillery on loan from
Austria-Hungary, and the end of the bombardment Aug. 25 with the
city’s last fort leveled, forcing the evacuation of Belgian forces to
Antwerp by way of Ostend.
On the medal’s reverse, in the left foreground a soldier stands
while another soldier sits at right; P. THEUNIS is below. In the
background, soldiers disembark from a military ship at right; the
tower of St. Paul’s Church of Ostend is seen at left. Inscribed around
is SA GARNISON DEBARQUE A OSTENDE (Garrison landing in Ostend). In the
exergue, in two lines, appears 2 ET 3 SEPTEMBRE / -1914. (Sept. 2 and
Uncirculated examples of the Belgian medal have sold on eBay for