Author Topic: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain  (Read 11135 times)

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Offline bart

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France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« on: March 21, 2010, 11:05:57 PM »
In this thread I showed my acquisitions of today.
They contained 2 pieces of this rare coin.

It is known that more than 13 million pieces were struck, but they were never released as the Germans forbid it: they needed the nickel for their war industry. At the end of the war, in 1944, the German troups moved the whole mintage to Berlin to be remelted. The transport was done by river boat. The boat was hit by a allied bombardment while being on Belgian waters (I believe it was on the Samber river, but I found another source speaking of the Escaut river) It sunk and before the coins could be salvaged from the wreck by the German authorities, 2 sacks containing about 50,000 coins were taken out of the river by local inhabitants. As all the other coins have been remelted, these were the only surviving coins of this type.

Now about my coins: one of them looks alright (in XF condition), while the other shows a very pitted surface, especially on the side of Pétains effigy.
They both measure 22 mm and weigh 4 grams (3,98 and 3,92)

I looked on the internet for possible fakes, but found nothing. Could this coin have been cast? Or can the pitted surface be explained by interaction with chemicals (Belgian rivers are not the cleanest waters) or even explosives (the cargo was hit by a bomb). Or is careless storage to blame? These coins were kept in small boxes...

What are your thoughts?
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 10:23:33 PM by coffeetime »

andyg

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2010, 11:16:42 PM »
two very nice coins there, I don't immediately see anything wrong with either of them.
Some of my best purchases over the years have come from 'junk boxes'....

Online Figleaf

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2010, 11:47:56 PM »
Most Pétain coins are unc, but I have seen worn copies before.

The story I hear is that there were two shipments. One turned back and was re-melted, but a few copies escaped in official archives and pockets of workers. The other shipment was loaded in a barge, that was sunk. It seems that the wreck has been located and the content is slowly sold off so as not to affect the price. I am told that this second source also produces some worn coins. Maybe some cases burst open and the coins spread over the river bed.

Don't judge the finders too harshly. French law is backward and wrongly designed. Metal detectoring is made impossible by a combination of stringent laws, prefects who keep their head firmly in the sand and the usual clan of shortsighted archeologists (though there is the usual bunch of clever archeologists as well.) What you find is taken from you without compensation. The law therefore achieves a black market and no records for archeologists.

The main argument is that there's a lot of live ammunition in the ground. Sure, but that's the case in many other countries where detectoring is OK and you know what, detectorists actually don't want to blown to very small pieces, so when they do find something dangerous, they are careful! Who'd have thunk it.

As Marlène Dietrich put it: "When will they ever learn".

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Galapagos

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2010, 01:01:00 AM »
Fascinating pieces, and you're lucky to have found them. Watching propaganda film from that regime is poignant, as it always mentions "the defeat", and how the nation had to strive if it was to renew itself. Pétain had a thankless task - literally, but somebody had to do it. The Nazis used his prisoners of war, who were forced to undertake slave labour, to put pressure on France. Interestingly, the socialist post-war president, François Mitterrand, always laid a wreath at Pétain's grave every Armistice day. Truly I would not have liked to live in those dreadful times, so I make no judgement on Mitterand and his compatriots.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 02:26:46 AM by <k> »

Offline chrisild

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2010, 12:32:54 PM »
Now those two are great finds indeed, and truly bargains. :) Congratulations!

As for the wreath on Pétain's grave, other French presidents have done that before Mitterrand, basically whenever there was a "round" anniversary of 1918 (end of WW1). But he was the first one to do that in several (five or so) consecutive years.

In Germany there have been various debates regarding schools, streets, etc. that are named after Hindenburg. Also a WW1 "hero", he later became president of the (Weimar) Republic. A right wing authoritarian politician, but the candidate that several parties of the political center had agreed on in order to prevent a president Hitler. And yet Hindenburg was the one who in 1933 appointed Hitler chancellor, thus making the nazi regime formally legitimate. Should somebody like Hindenburg still be "honored"? Fortunately we do not have any streets named after him (in the city where I live) any more; elsewhere there still are a few.

Christian

Galapagos

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2010, 04:12:15 PM »
Hindenburg was the one who in 1933 appointed Hitler chancellor, thus making the nazi regime formally legitimate. Should somebody like Hindenburg still be "honored"?

Christian

In honouring anyone you take the good with the bad. You honour Hindenburg foremost as a military hero, and only secondarily as a statesman. Given that he was in his 80s and somewhat senile when the Nazis came to power, it is difficult to blame him for his lack of acumen. He appointed Hitler on the advice of his younger fellow conservatives, who thought they could contain him. It was actually a coalition government that Hindenburg authorised. Unfortunately for the world, once in power, Hitler, lacking normal moral restraints, wielded it like a chessmaster.

Nobody could have foreseen that Hitler would make Machiavelli look decidedly tame. Though I doubt I would have liked Hindenburg's narrowly reactionary politics, which in any case belong to another era, I don't blame him for what happened in the 1930s.



BTW, does anyone know, was there anything to mark the border between the two zones, or was it just the case that you found German soldiers on one side and not on the other?
« Last Edit: April 19, 2010, 02:35:06 AM by Rupert »

Offline chrisild

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2010, 11:24:56 AM »
Don't want to equate Pétain with Hindenburg, of course. Yet they were national heroes according to how people thought in the early 20th century, and "good and bad" applies to both of them. Interesting, by the way, that there is also a 5 fr "essai" piece with Pétain on one side and scenes illustrating the "Travail - Famille - Patrie" motto on the other side: http://www.cgb.fr/monnaies/modernes/m09/images/image001e.html

Christian

Online Figleaf

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2010, 09:27:20 PM »
The "demarcation line" was quite real. Border crossers were checked. Here is a picture of a border post from Wikipedia. Note the armed guards. The sign says that jews may not cross the border. This was a superfluous measure, as jews were persecuted and killed on both sides of the border.



An oddity was the position of the castle of Chenonceaux, which is built across the river Cher. The front door of the castle was in the occupied zone, the back door in the free zone. This made the castle ideal for all kinds of people on their way to Spain and freedom from nazism.

Peter
« Last Edit: April 04, 2010, 09:59:02 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Harald

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2010, 08:57:46 PM »
Here is a genuine one, for comparison. It appears to me that the lettering is done in a somehow more sophisticated manner,
but maybe just the image is better.

Even if the coin is not so scarce as one might guess from the price, it's not one to be expected in junk boxes  :o


cheers
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Harald
http://www.liganda.ch (monetary history & numismatic linguistics)

Offline Prosit

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2010, 09:19:28 PM »
Actually Hitler was quite plain about what he intended for years before he came into control.
Dale


......Nobody could have foreseen that Hitler would make Machiavelli look decidedly tame.

Offline bart

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2010, 10:29:24 PM »
Thanks Harald, for the comparison picture.
I must say I don't expect myself to find such coins in junk boxes, so I get suspicious.

Bart

Galapagos

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2010, 05:32:48 PM »
Actually Hitler was quite plain about what he intended for years before he came into control.
Dale

True enough, but let's admit it, few politicians have managed to match their deeds so closely to their words.
And just think of all those jobs around the house that you promised your wife you would do, and she's still waiting...

Galapagos

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2010, 05:35:18 PM »
Thanks Harald, for the comparison picture.
I must say I don't expect myself to find such coins in junk boxes, so I get suspicious.

Bart

Bart, could you do a higher resolution scan of your coins? I can't see any difference between Harald's and yours.

Offline bart

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2010, 06:01:08 PM »
Here they are!

Offline Prosit

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Re: France 5 francs 1941 Maréchal Philippe Pétain
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2010, 06:05:34 PM »
And she will be waiting a looooooong time if I have my way  ;D

Dale

True enough, but let's admit it, few politicians have managed to match their deeds so closely to their words.
And just think of all those jobs around the house that you promised your wife you would do, and she's still waiting...