CNG Sale Offers Educational Swiss Rectangular Silver Medal
Medals commemorate a rich plethora of events and people, and provide an opportunity to educate those inclined to learn the lessons they contain.
Such a silver medal, issued in Switzerland, offers a history lesson about the then self-governing canton of Geneva.
The 1902 Tercentennial of L’Escalade Rectangular Medal by H. Bovy, C. Roch and A. Bailey, toned and near extremely fine, realized $177 inclusive of 18% buyer’s premium at Classical Numismatic Group E-Auction No. 518 on 15th June.
The medal is 41 millimeters wide and 61 millimeters high and weighs 59.78 grams.
On the obverse, Helvetia stands facing right, holding a long gun in her right arm and pulling back a stage curtain with her left hand. In one scene that has been revealed, soldiers of the Duke of Savoy attempt to scale the walls of Geneva. Below the stage appears a coat of arms above a banner translated in Latin for “light after darkness”. Other inscriptions indicate the 300th anniversary of the battle.
The reverse shows a scene from the battle at the gates of Geneva. A Geneva soldier brandishes a halberd at a Savoyard who raises his right arm to defend a fallen comrade. Another Geneva soldier at the gate fires an arquebus into the melee behind the gate. An inscription in French indicates the soldiers who surrounded the enemy on all sides.
The late 16th and early 17th centuries was a time of perennial conflict between Geneva and the Duchy of Savoy, and on December 11, 1602, Carlo Emmanuele, the hot-headed expansionist Duke of Savoy, besieged Geneva under cover of night. according to the auction house. The Duke’s plan was to launch a commando attack to distract and disorient the defenders and open the city gates. He ordered his heavily armored cuirassiers to dismount and scale the walls, but the Geneva militia vigorously repulsed them. The annual Festival l’Escalade celebrates the victory.
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