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Boxed Unofficial Type WWI French Victory Medal

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Military Medals94 of 364WWI Italian War Merit Cross with SwordPossibly French? Sharpshooter? Any ideas?
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    Posted 5 years ago

    (310 items)

    I was first attracted to the box this medal came in when I saw it on eBay a few years back. It was different, and the box looked different, so I took a chance out of curiosity. This is certainly not an official issue French Victory medal, but I don’t believe it’s a modern fake but instead a contemporary medal manufactured by a non-government contractor for sale to veterans. This was certainly not unusual. Veterans might store the issued medal as a keepsake and wear a copy, or they might not bother with the hassle of requesting theirs through the government.

    The box itself is actually gold colored with a dark purple leather textured paper top panel and side trim glued to it. The planchet is just a tiny bit smaller than the issue one, but the image actually is the same size, crowded against the edges, the “A.Morlon” signature of the artist near the bottom is resting right on the edge. More interesting is the lack of a mint mark on the back. Official issues carry the mark of the Paris mint (circled) this copy omits that. Otherwise the mark would be resting on the edge like the “A.Morlon” does in front.

    So, why do I think it’s an older unofficial type and not something modern meant to deceive? Well, these medals are common (about 2 million made) so there wouldn’t be too much pay off for the effort, but also – why copy the medal down to the artist signature on front, but leave off the mint mark on back unless you felt bound to acknowledge the artist but not to mis-represent yourself as the Paris mint?

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    1. Caperkid, 5 years ago
      Do the do unofficial medals innthe USA?
    2. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
      I think the government has tightened up the rules about who can manufacture medals these days, but in the past many unofficial copies were made for sale to veterans, and one of the more well known companies was Studley. I posted an unofficial issue of the Indian Wars Medal here:

    3. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
      As clarification, I'm using these terms as follows:
      Unofficial - manufactured by non-government contractors for sale to the public without intention to deceive.
      Official - government manufactured or manufactured by a company contracted by the government for government use.
      Fake - Something made to fool someone into thinking it's original.
    4. Militarist Militarist, 5 years ago
      I would bet that the Paris mint could not produce enough of the medals fast enough and for that reason subcontracted some of the work. Both would be official issues.
    5. Caperkid, 5 years ago
      Thanks for the info Chris.
    6. Gracay2004 Gracay2004, 5 years ago
      I think the reason is simply that as 2 million medals were required the Paris mint could not strike all of them. It is true that there are unofficial medals but they are of a different design on the obverse.
    7. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
      Militarist and Gracay2004, that could be true.

      For years the "Bible" of victory medal collectors has been A. Laslo's "The Interallied Victory Medals of WWI". That reference does not show any other official issue but the Paris Mint issue. Unfortunately, that reference was written before the internet became what it is now, and collectors find and discuss online versions of the victory medal that Laslo never identified in his monograph.

      The only problem I have with the possibility that this is a non-Paris Mint official version is the smaller planchet and squeezed in image. One thought I have had is that this could have been die cast instead of struck, and the edge ground smooth to get rid of the seam. If it is die cast, then I don't think it would be official. I do not, however, see any other evidence of die casting
    8. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
      As for the unofficial versions of the French Victory medal with different designs, The French took till 1923 to begin the producing the final approved version and I believe those other designs "jumped the gun" and started being produced prior to the official design becoming well known. After that I think other unofficial versions were likely manufactured that closely matched the official version.
    9. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 5 years ago
      Thanks for the love vintagelamp, Manikin, fortapache, blunder, ttomtucker, Militarist, officialfuel, racer4four, ho2cultcha and Caperkid.

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