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FS: PCGS64 - Finest Liberte Francoise medal -(A la Libertas Americana) flowing hair / liberty cap

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This medal is another of my favorite pieces. It too is up for sale in Heritage Central States world auction. It is PCGS-64 tied for the finest 👉(although it really is the FINEST certified of it’s variety - read below for more on that) https://coins.ha.com/itm/france/france-republic-cast-national-convention-medal-l-an-1-1792-ms64-pcgs-/a/3073-30919.s?ic2=myconsignmentspage-lotlinks-12202013&tab=MyConsignment-112816

Commonly referred to as the “Liberte Francoise” medal, this medal was made by French engraver Andre Galle in 1792. The obverse design clearly inspired by Dupre’s Libertas Americana medal. I’ve read (though sources were not noted) that this piece was Galle’s first significant work after his arrival in Paris. Allegedly, it was used in part to either help him secure a coining contract for the Paris Mint or help him gain employment with the Paris Mint.

For the grade hound:
As to why it’s technically the finest certified...This variety is Maz-318a (the slightly harder-to-come-by ‘double weight’ test variety). However, PCGS made an error labeling it calling it only Maz-318. The Heritage cataloger noted this in the lot description as well. They should have graded this as an SP-64, Maz-318a.

In my experience, the majority of both maz-318 or 318a come in XF-AU, fewer MS60-62, 63 is rare, and 64’s almost never, and there are zero 65s. They can suffer from unsightly porosity in all grades including 64. In fact, HA sold one such porous 64 back in 2010. The piece presently offered has superior surfaces.

Edited by conderluva1
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That is gorgeous!!! I bought my first medals in Pittsburgh at the ANA. I like that medals are way rarer than a coin from the same period, yet many are still somewhat affordable in high grades.

I have started collecting what I like instead of what everyone else places value on.  I'm sure that piece is going to make the new owner very happy.  

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I’ve never seen much mentioned about this piece or the artist so took some time to gather a bit of info.

About the artist, Andre Galle (1761-1844)

From a young age Galle worked with his father who was an engraver of corners and seals. By the time he was a teenager he demonstrated a strong aptitude for art.

He spent years as an apprentice in a Lyons button manufactory where he honed his artistic, mechanical and business skills. Eventually, he rose to become head of production at that company.

Galle became a master engraver in 1785 and worked for the province of Lyons under that capacity. The 1792 Liberte Francoise bell medal was his first project as an engraver of medals.

This medal was a proposition for the recycling of metal from church bells confiscated by the new government. It was a statement from Galle not only showing his skills but also his support for the cause of liberty in France. Simultaneously, he was relating what was happening in France with what happened a few years earlier in America, paying homage to Dupre’s and Franklin’s Libertas Americana medal.

It was a smart move by Galle. He gained favor with important people in government as a result.

Baron Dominique Vivant Denon, director of the Lourve Meuseum and Paris Mint later selected Galle to work on the medallic history of Napoleon series.

Interestingly, he also invented and in 1829 patented, the first mass produced roller chain - Galle chain / gear - varieties of which we use today in countless applications where loading, lifting and moving are necessary.

He continued to live and work in Paris until his death in 1844.

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The reverse suggests these medals were struck, though I’ve seen descriptions indicating they were actually cast medals - perhaps because of the porosity frequently seen on examples and possibly operating on the assumption that bell medal was too brittle to withstand striking. But, if that were indeed the case then I wonder why Galle didn’t choose “moule”, instead of “frappe”, for the reverse legend?

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Mazard-318 & 318a were made of recycled metal harvested from bronze bells. The alloy used in bell making is less than ideal for coining. Perhaps a consequence of metal composition and the tools/process used in manufacturing, many specimens suffer from a degree of porosity, noticeable at a distance. The piece presently offered has superior surfaces for this issue.

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