June 25, 2011 at 12:10 am #11851
I would be curious if anyone could shed some light on the rather ornate St. Helena Medal on the left hand side of the posted photo verses the standard "chocolate drop" version on the right. I might assume that many of the French Officers were not too pleased with the award as issued and may have embellished theirs in some way, shape or form. I would also be interested in seeing pictures of other variations that forum members might have access to.
Thanks in advance,
St. Helena Medals – Reduced.jpgJune 25, 2011 at 7:49 am #13257
Good topic !!
This medal is very interesting and there exist several private variations.
We have to keep in mind that the St Helena Medal has been instituted in 1857 by Napoleon III, at a time when veterans of the napoleonic wars were legions !! This probably explains the choice of this chocolate bronze, cheap to produce in big quantities…
But, as often, the veterans have given this medal a real value… They were proud to wear it, and some probably estimated the quality fo the medal itself could have been more valuable as a symbol of the glorious campaigns they made. They upgraded it…
The official medals made by the mint were all in bronze. They have been upgraded in two manners :
1. Some private medals made by jewellers in silver, or gold, or both. Some have even been produced in aluminium… They don’t display the official mark (anchor) of the maker of the Paris Mint, Mr Barre.
2. Some privately improved medals by the wearer or local jewellers, with paint, silver, gold… They are artisanal…
I don’t have myself one of these medals, so can’t post photos right now. They are often seen for sale on eBay, or in catalogs of auction houses.
Ch.June 29, 2011 at 5:55 pm #13317July 2, 2011 at 10:09 am #13494ed_haynesParticipantJuly 2, 2011 at 10:11 am #13495Frank DutilParticipant
Here’s mine on original ribbon.
Glad to see yours is also intact, by that I mean the little cross on top of the imperial crown is still there. Many vets, declaring after the fall of the Empire that "there is no God!", broke off the crosses off their medals. Hence the great many damaged crosses on the market.
MDAILL~1.JPGJuly 2, 2011 at 10:12 am #13496
Hi to all,
I’m sorry but I don’t think this is the right explanation. In another Forum, we got a debate amongst French collectors a few months ago about this broken crosses on the top of the Medal of St Helene.
Indeed, nothing is sure : how to make the past talk ? And today, who has evident and reliable sources about this story occuring at the end of the Empire ? A period document or testimony would be interesting…
This said, this hypothesis is still possible, and maybe some recipients did it…. But, statistics on observed figures let think that 1 cross upon 15 has the cross removed or broken.
We should observe the same proportion with some variants of the Legion d’Honneur, should’nt we ? And this is not the case…
The main output of the debate we got is that the crosses have been damaged or broken because of a weakness in production. Several hundreds thousand crosses have been produced, and each of them has been "finished" with a file, at the end of the process. Probably done manually. The crosses are sometimes thiner on some crosses than others. This is in my opinion, the most realistic explanation… a technical one.
Ch.July 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm #13516
Back to upgraded St. Helena medals…
Be careful, as it is very easy to upgrade a basic one, some got the idea…
As an example, here is what you can find on eBay… Are they real ? Difficult to answer, without getting them in hand. What is sure is that the eagles on the ribbon look like brand new !!!
Ch.July 12, 2011 at 3:28 am #13766
Thought I would share a picture of a St. Helena Medal along with its box of issue. I have seen a few of these boxes over the years, but the survival rate must be pretty low.
Can anyone shed some more light on the box of issue?
St. Helena Box D.jpgJuly 12, 2011 at 11:47 am #13767felixMember
This the official cardboard box, if the medal is common, the box is very rare. Is it yours ?July 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm #13764
This particular example is mine. While collecting French medals is not my focus, the St. Helena Medal’s connection to the Napoleonic Wars is why I have always had a fascination with it.
ChrisJuly 12, 2011 at 10:13 pm #14158
This the official cardboard box, if the medal is common, the box is very rare. Is it yours ?
And what is even rarer is the advertising green paper that was inside the box… Quite difficult to find as most people threw it…
Ch.July 13, 2011 at 6:40 am #14201August 1, 2015 at 7:49 pm #17543nexus-sixParticipantDecember 12, 2019 at 8:32 am #38316Jay StoneParticipant
Does anyone have access to the excellent article on the Saint Helena Medal in OMSA? I have a copy of it but can’t find it. Thanks.December 12, 2019 at 4:45 pm #38339Jay StoneParticipant
Please disregard my last post. I found it. It was written by Kendall L. Witt, OMSA # 5595.
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