Kay O. Freeman writes:
This is gold medal with a good story. It came to me via the All-Things Napoleonic newsletter from which I belive I sent an item before. Their site has links to a huge amount of French library material online.
Beautiful! Below is some text excerpted from the web page.
The medal celebrates above all the new union that now existed between these once bitter enemies. Symbolising the sincere friendship that united the two sovereigns, the obverse features the right-facing effigies of Emperor Napoleon III and Queen Victoria, crowned with laurel wreaths and depicted in profile. This friendship was strengthened by Napoleon III's first state visit to Britain in 1855, a gesture that was returned by Victoria later that year on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition in Paris.
Inscribed on the medal's reverse are the names and dates of the various victories with, at its centre, a trophy constructed from flags and oriental weapons, depicted in front of a mosque. The dedication A la gloire des armées allies (In honour of the allied armies) surmounts the image.
A number of bronze and silver medals minted to commemorate the Crimean War exist,(1) but this particular example, made from gold, is exceptional. The medal comes to us via Jean Julien Sacaley (1800-1875), who was the right-hand man to Jean-François Mocquard, chief of staff to the Prince-President (and indeed emperor). Sacaley went on to become first attaché - a natural progression - after which, from 1864, he served as the emperor's deputy chief of staff. He remained a loyal and close associate to Napoleon III until the fall of the empire.
The medal was handed down through the family, and it currently sits on display at the Musée du Cabinet des Médailles et Antiques, at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The circumstances in which it was minted are still to be fully explored, whilst the hypothesis that a second example, also in gold, was once in the possession of Queen Victoria remains to be verified.
To read the complete article, see:
Crimean War commemorative medal: "In honour of the allied armies"
Wayne Homren, Editor
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