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Original French Saint Helena Medal, Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815 Campaigns For Sale


Original French Saint Helena Medal, Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815 Campaigns
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Original French Saint Helena Medal, Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815 Campaigns:
$99.00

The Saint Helena Medal (or Médaille de Sainte-Hélène in French) is the first French campaign medal, established in 1857 by a decree of emperor Napoleon III. The medal recognizes participation in the campaigns led by emperor Napoleon I, who never instituted commemorative campaign medals for his soldiers.
In time, many veterans of these campaigns, sometimes called the “débris de la Grande Armée” (“remnants of the Great Army”), began meeting within various new veterans’ associations. Keeping alive their war memories and the myth of Napoleon in popular culture, they issued many unofficial commemorative and associative medals. It would be forty two years after the exile of the emperor to the island of Saint Helena called for the need to adequately and officially recognize the service of these combat veterans.
The Saint Helena Medal was awarded to all French and foreign soldiers, from the land armies or naval fleets, who served the Republic or the Empire between the years 1792 and 1815 inclusive.
The Saint Helena Medal is of irregular (round) shape and struck in bronze. It measures 2 cm in diameter and its medallion is surrounded by a 50mm wide laurel wreath tied with a bow at the bottom.
Atop the medal there is a 2 cm wide Imperial Crown. The obverse bears the relief image of the right profile of Emperor Napoleon I surrounded by the relief inscription “NAPOLEON I EMPEREUR”. A ring or small orbs separates the central medallion from the wreath. Just below the image of the emperor, a small anchor, the privy mark of the award’s designer, Désiré-Albert Barre.
The reverse is identical except for the medallion which bears the relief circular inscription within a narrow 20mm band “CAMPAGNES DE 1792 A 1815”. In the centre, the relief inscription on nine lines “A” “SES” “COMPAGNONS” “DE GLOIRE” “SA DERNIÈRE” “PENSÉE” “STE HÉLÈNE” “5 MAI” “1821” (English: “TO HIS COMPANIONS IN GLORY HIS LAST THOUGHT ST HELENA 5 MAY 1821”).
Design: Désiré-Albert BarreManufacturer: Barre (his mark as small anchor under the portrait).


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