When France received the island of Corsica in the Treaty of
Versailles in 1768, there was one little problem — the Corsicans
refused to submit to new rulers.
So French forces invaded the island off the southeast coast of
France and fought to gain governing power over the stronghold.
A jeton (like a medalet or counting token) issued to mark the
victorious French efforts in 1769 is an affordable offering from
Editions Victor Gadoury’s auction Dec. 2 in Monaco.
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The Italian state of Genoa had claimed control over Corsica, but
Corsicans had been allowed to run their show virtually untouched since
1755, when Pasquale (or Pascal) Paoli declared the Corsican Republic
an independent nation, even drafting a local constitution.
Mysterious zinc cent discovered in antique store.
A 1982 Lincoln cent and cent blanks encased in acrylic are
possibly employees’ souvenirs from when the Ball Corp. began
supplying the Mint with cent planchets.
Paoli was named commander-in-chief, and he and his troops, composed
of Corsicans and German or Swiss mercenaries, defended the island
against the armies of the King of France, Louis XV.
Initial French efforts in the fall of 1768 were met with strong
resistance as the Corsicans were victorious in the Battle of Borgo
France added more troops, and the May 9, 1769, Battle of Ponte-Novo
(in Corsica, Ponte Novu) was the Corsicans’ final stand. Paoli,
gathering troops nearby, was not present for the battle; he had
entrusted his soldiers to his second in command.
Author Voltaire famously wrote about the fight at the bridge over
the Golo River, noting the extreme bravery of the Corsicans
“The principal weapon of the Corsicans was their courage. ...
Bravery is found everywhere, but such actions aren’t seen except among
free people,” he wrote.
The island’s fall to French control was a foreign policy disaster
for Great Britain, which had been allied with the island’s government
for the strategic location it represented in the Mediterranean. Paoli
took refuge in Great Britain, which later intervened in the island
from 1794 to 1796, but then retreated, leaving the island for France
to regain control.
The silver jeton in the auction features the French King Louis XV on
the obverse, with a chained warrior seated with weapons (and
inscriptions regarding the 1769 battle for Corsica) on the reverse.
The piece, graded as Fleur de Coin by the auction house, has an
opening bid of €200 ($233 in U.S. funds).