Art Nouveau Gold Coins and Medals
At the turn of the 20th century Art Nouveau was system of aesthetics that encompassed painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, jewelry design, furniture design, etc. It was a global (western) movement that incorporated an ideal of the abstract flow of the lines and patterns of nature into a disciplined functional design. It was a marriage of beauty and use, and as such formed the basis of Modernism. And, as is always the case, the term Modernism echoed the precepts of Classicism. Art Nouveau expressed itself completely in the Art Nouveau Medal. Most of the great Art Nouveau sculptors, painters and designers were also Medallists. The form and substance of the medal was one of ultimate Use: They were created on round or rectangular planchets to celebrate specific occasions and accomplishments in identifiable metals all the while celebrating the artists' vision of natural beauty. Two world wars and a global depression gave rise to a total rejection of classical (Read: Modern) ideas of the marriage of "technique, beauty, and form and use." The rejection of Modernism gave rise to Post Modernism wherein the "The concept" was championed in "fine art," most often by those with minimal conceptual training, while form, use and beauty were consigned to "decorative arts." Nevertheless, some of these "decorative" artists are now being rediscovered in the new auction market, where their jewelry, watches, vases, etc are commanding record bids.

Mint Marks used at the PARIS MINT:

  • Plain Edge=> All medals before March 30th 1832 have plain edges and before 1841 for bronze or copper.
  • Antique Lamp=> from March 30th 1832 until October 21st 1841 (on gold & silver only).
  • Anchor=> from October 21st 1841 until September 25th 1842.
  • Ship Prow=> from September 26th 1842 until June 12th 1845.
  • Pointing Hand=> from June 13th 1845 until October 1st 1860.
  • Bee=> from November 1st 1860 until December 31st 1879.
  • Cornucopia (Horn of Plenty) => from 1880 until now.
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Jules Clement Chaplain
In 1877 he was named the official medallist of the French government; in 1878 he was named a chevalier of the Legion of Honor after having designed the medallions for the Universal Expostion, widely considered to be medallic masterpieces; and in 1881 was given the seat at the Académie des Beaux Arts. He was responsible for the official portraits of every president of the French Republic from Edme Patrice MacMahon in 1877 to Émile Loubet in 1899. He was commissioned to engrave the gold coinage of France; his gold medal commemorating the visit of Czar Nicholas and Czarina Alexandra of Russia to Paris in 1896 was thought to be one of the finest ever struck. And in 1896 he designed the medals for the first modern olympics.
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FRANCE Troisième république - 1878

The Universal Exposition, Paris, Gold Medal, 1878, signed by J C Chaplain, both sides. 50mm, (84.11g. .916 fine gold) Laureate head of Marianne left, rev Victory and child genius hover above the exhibition, named in plaque: Riviere and Cie

Very Rare in gold, and with the origianl box of issue - remarkable condition for a medal of this size and age. The Royal Society of Arts (Great Britain) published (in 1879) a comphensive review of the Artists and Artisans to show work in 35 catagories of industrial and fine arts. That number is perhaps indicative of the number of large gold first place medals struck. This medal design was used only at exposition of 1878. About 2.5 ounces of pure gold.

A rare and beautiful medal.

PCGS graded SP 61

pcgs 41923585

FRANCE IIIe République 1899

Essai-piéfort de 10 francs Marianne, Flan bruni (PROOF) 1899, Paris.
Av. REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE. Buste de Marianne à droite, avec bonnet phrygien et couronne de chêne ; signature J. C. C..
Rv. LIBERTE. EGALITE. FRATERNITE. Un coq accosté de 10 - Fcs ; à l'exergue (date).
GEM.275.EP2 - G.1017P - Maz.2117 - Fr.597 v. ; Or - 6,44 g - 19 mm

A very rare high grade pre-production Piefort (double thickness) Essai of the classic masterpiece by J. C. Chaplain.


NGC 6639741-015
FRANCE IIIe République 1879

Gold medal, 1879 (56.19 g) Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques Attribuée à Jules Claretie Commissaire Fondateur.

Jules Claretie was an playwrite, novelist, critic, journalist, author of three operas and founding director of the Theatre Francaise. This medal was engraved by Alphee Dubois, student of Jean Jaques Barre, and one of the premenint engravers of the third Republic.


FRANCE Troisième république 1888

Lloyd Rouennais Gold Medal for Saving Life at Sea, by Alphée Dubois, gold (83.89g), 46mm, French cornucopia and 'OR' marks stamped to the edge, reverse centre engraved 'Lloyd Rouennais au Captaine Lash 24 Janvier 1888',

Lloyd Rouennais, founded 1726, is a French society for the protection of both industrial and commercial marine vessels. It is the equivalent of the British Lloyd's Group, with the medals issued for similar actions of Bravery and Gallantry at Sea.

S.S. Suez, owned by Cie De Navigation d'Orbigny Et Faustin Fils, of La Rochelle, sank on 24 January 1888, after a collision with the German S.S. Dihmarschen off Cabo Espichel en route from Penarth to Marseille

Extremely rare, perhaps unique.

Only one gold medal has been issued by Lloyd's of London, according to the record of bravery awards at the Guildhall library and this is the only recorded example of this gold medal from Lloyd's of Rouen. The reason for the extraordinary gold issue of medals usually issued in silver and bronze is unclear.

Brilliant Uncircultated in case of issue


CHILE 1910

Gold Plaque for Chilean Independence.

Struck in FRANCE. 42x58mm (91.26 grams,18-Karat), by Rene Lalique.

Obverse: Female personification of the Republic, standing ‘midst wheat. Reverse: Landscape, divided diagonally by the staff of the national flag; arms below; the Andes in the distance. 

The company Lalique’s continuing output of crystal and jewelry is so well known, the medals by the founder Rene Lalique --issued through WW1-- are overshadowed by his other works. A rare 'FEMME AILÉE' SCULPTURE, sold at Christie's New York in 2018 for $492,500; a crystal Brandy Decanter designed by Lalique recently sold for $640,000 US in a Hong Kong auction. All of the medals he designed are quite rare. The design for this Chilean piece is one of the most exceptional among all art medals.

Eextremely rare original strike in high quality gold. The only specimen offered in the last 20 years. Restrikes in low quality gold are quite common.

in the original case of issue.

Belgium, 1913

Brussels Municipal Award of Honor (44grams of 18 Karat gold - noted on the holder)

Signed by the Artist J C Chaplain for Maurice Ansiaux, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Brussels, who wrote extensively - and presciently - about the use of Precious metals in the curbing of inflation and the prevention of Economic Crisis. Obv: St Michael, standing over slain devil.

Extremely Rare in gold and a unique design by master artist J.C. Chaplain.


pcgs 4594655


Monnaie de Paris, Piefort 5 francs, (38 gm. .920 fine gold)

From dies of the 1897 essai by Oscar Roty. Signed by the artist on the obverse.
Rare year.

From a mintage of 35 coins.

OBV: Famous Sower Lady (La Semeuse) image.