E-Sylum readers have come thru in spades
in response to Tom Garver’s inquiry about Paris Mint medal
catalogs. Thanks! -Editor
David Gladfelter writes:
Regarding Tom Garver’s inquiry about Monnaie de Paris
catalogues, there are probably a number of them. The one I have
is titled "Catalogue Général des Médaille".
Paul Bosco writes:
The Catalog General de la Monnaie (=Mint) de
Paris is a series of paperbound books, about 8 1/2 x
11". I have them and I think they were done in the
1960s-70s. Vols. 1 & 2 are early issues; essentially these
are catalogs of what the Mint restruck. The very important Volume
3 covers the great art medals periods, 1871-1945. Most of these
medals, though produced at the Mint, have not been available for
decades. Volume 4 was published in multiple parts --I have
three-- and it is like Volume 3, but covers the less popular
modern artists, and the late work of some "Volume 3
artists." I paid something like $125 for my set in the 1980s
(to Dick Johnson?) Good luck if you want the books now. Also,
like Krause-Misher catalogs, they become frayed. They are rather
like the Kenneth Failor catalog of US Mint medals, If there was
no Juilian and if the US Mint made five times as many medals.
Scott Miller writes:
The Paris Mint has been issuing catalogues for 200 years or
more. I have several issued over the years, the earliest being
from 1817. In addition to a number of specialized exhibition
catalogues issued post World War II, including the ever popular
La Medaille en France de Poscarme a la fin de la Belle
Epoque from 1967, there is a multi-volume catalogue of medals
that can be thought of as seven phone books. The Catalogue
General Illustre des Editions de la Monnaie de Paris is a
five volume work in seven parts, though I have heard there may be
another additional volume. The seven are
1. De L’Antiquite a Louis XVI
2. De la 1ere a la 3e Republique
3. La Troisieme Republique
4* De 1945 a nos jours (A-D)
4** De 1945 a nos jours (E-O)
4*** De 1945 a nos jours (P-Z)
5. Index thématique
Please forgive me for not including the appropriate accent
marks. The post-1945 volumes list medals published through the
David T. Alexander writes:
I suspect that Tom Garver may be thinking of the Catalogue
Generale Illustre des Editions de la Monnaie de Paris, a
six-volume paperback set, each book measuring 20.2 x 29.5 cm
(11-5/16 x 8-3/16 inches). These books list, describe and
illustrate by black and white halftones nearly all medals struck
by the Paris Mint since the reign of King Louis XI, ca. 1468.
Added are listings of medallic copies of ancient coins, seals,
coin weights and every imaginable kind of quasi-medallic item
offered by this historic Mint, whose collection of working dies
includes some 125,000 die pairs.
Volume 1 covers Antiquity through the Constitutional reign of
King Louis XVI; vol. 2 chronicles the Revolution through
Napoleon, the restored Bourbons, Louis Philippe, Second Republic
and Napoleon III. Volume 3 covers the Third Republic from 1870
until 1940. All medals introduced since 1945 are divided
alphabetically by artist, and covered in three even thicker
volumes described as Volume 4*, 4** and 4***. I obtained my set
some 30 years ago, and am not certain whether they are still
offered by the Mint.
The amount of information contained is staggering. Artists,
sculptors, historical figures of every kind are included. To use
these books required understanding of the ground rules. The Paris
Mint routinely strikes all of these medals today, regarding all
types as open-ended and intended for re-issue. The term Restrike
is never used. Consider the Comitia Americana series commissioned
by America’s Continental Congress during our Revolution. All are
available today. For more than a century the Libertas Americana
medal was not offered but examples from copy dies can now be
Modern strikes are identifiable by their very newness and by
their patina. Most medals bear Edgemarks including Privy Marks
that first appeared in the 1830s and provide approximate dating
for strikes made before the 1970s. These marks state the actual
metal, such as OR (Gold), ARGENT (Silver), CUIVRE (Copper) or
BRONZE. Today an actual date of striking appears on the edge in
Hope this info is of use. If desired I could submit a list of
the relevant Edgemarks. Try cataloguing a Napoleonic collection
without knowledge of these marks!
Dick Johnson writes:
If Tom Garver is inquiring about the Paris Mint Catalog I can
add some details. While collectors call it the "Paris Mint
Catalog" its official title is Catalogue General Illustre
des Editiones de la Monnaie de Paris.
It is five volumes bound in seven (volume 4 covering the 20th
century requires three volumes). The entire volume 5 is an index.
It is self contained in heavy paper covers. All total there are
First three volumes are by periods of French history. Volume 1
covers medals up to the 18th century. Volume 2 is the First and
Second Republics. Volume 3 is the Third Republic. And that volume
4 (in three) is the 20th century. The work of 815 artists are
listed in volume 4.
Every medal is illustrated. This is not a catalog of all the
medals struck by the Paris Mint. It is a catalog of all the
medals the Paris Mint has for sale! The Paris Mint, it appears,
has never discarded a die. It has kept dies since the 15th
century. These are still serviceable (although some of the early
dies can only strike soft tin to prohibit breakage).There is a
name for these tin restrikes but the name eludes me for the
I don't have a count for the total number of medals
covered in the catalog. I estimate it is between 15 and 18
thousand. If they don't have any particular medal in stock
when you order, they will retrieve the dies and restrike. This
has given rise to the collector term "Paris Mint
Whether you like or dislike restrikes is a matter of opinion.
It is, perhaps, a typical French cosmopolitan concept of
long-standing heritage. It is a way the French honor their
history with numismatic issues, making these medals available for
all time. I personally don't find these restrikes offensive.
They are not surreptitious copies -- they are official issues
from a national Mint of great reputation.
When obtaining a Paris Mint medal on the secondary market it
is not impossible to learn when it was struck by the use of the
Paris Mint's mintmarks (subject of another article). It may
not be as exact as a collector may desire as the cornucopia
mintmark was is use from 1880 until late in the 20th century.
Recently, however, the Paris Mint has been adding the year
restruck on the edge.
This massive, magnificent catalog is a tribute to one man,
Pierre DeHay, a one-time Director of the Paris Mint. The seven
volumes were published 1977 to 1981 during DeHay's
administration. He was undoubtedly the instigator and overseer of
this work. One wonders, however, how many French writers,
photographers and editors -- government workers -- he had to hire
to create this comprehensive illustrative publication.
The catalog is so important I have two sets in my library. I
have dog-eared some 20th century pages. I have record of 228
medals the Paris Mint made of American interest. Remember, it
struck America's first national medals, including the
Libertas Americana Medal -- and thanks to Benjamin Franklin --
the American Committa Series (which the Philadelphia Mint later
restruck American versions). It has also honored American
historical events, as well as French, such as Lindbergh's
flight and America's space flights.
As long as I am interested in medals I never want to be
without a copy of the Paris Mint Catalog!
Tom Garver adds:
I knew that these had been issued, and have seen reference to
them, but wondered if an enduring reference such as this might
have been issued on CD as have the volumes of Forrer's
Digitized versions of these catalogs would
indeed be a marvelous resource. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
FROM E-SYLUM READERS: AUGUST 31, 2014 : Query: Monnaie de Paris
Commemorative Medal Catalog
Wayne Homren, Editor
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