World of Coins

Other tokens and medals => Advertising, propaganda and numismatic artefacts => Private countermarks => Topic started by: Henk on March 19, 2021, 09:37:37 PM

Title: Counterstamp: VIVE | LE DUC | D’ORLÉANS
Post by: Henk on March 19, 2021, 09:37:37 PM
I have an Argentine two centavos coin dated 1894 counterstamped with: VIVE | LE DUC | D’ORLÉANS. The counterstamp was made with a single punch. Googling I found the same counterstamp on two other coins:
Spanish 10 centavos 1879
French 10 centimes 1853

I found the following information about the Duke of Orleans, thanks to Wikipedia:
The counterstamp refers to Philippe, duke of Orleans (1869–1926) the the grandson of King Louis-Philippe of France. His family lived in exile in England after the expulsion of King Louis-Philippe in 1848. They returned to France after the fall of the Second Empire in 1871 after the French-Prussian war but were exiled again in 1886 when they were forbidden to ever return to France. Philip became famous by returning to France in 1890 and presenting himself to an army recruitment Bureau in Paris to perform his military service. He was however arrested and condemned to two years in prison. However he was expelled from France after a few months. The medal (courtesy CGB) was issued to commemorate his return to France. When his father died in 1894, Philippe became the Orléanist claimant to the French throne. He was known to monarchists as Philippe VIII. (information from Wikipedia).

The counterstamp also refers to the "Dreyfus Affair" which erupted the same year Philippe “ascended” the thrown tainted the positions of conservative and liberal factions in France and saw the Royalists and Philippe, take an anti-Dreyfus and even anti-Semitic stance on the affair which lasted up to 1906 and even further on. The medal shown was also issued in relation to the Dreyfus Affair. Three dates are known for this medal: 1899, 1900 and 1909. The text on the medal: Je ne vengerai que les injures faites a la patrie and Je replacerai mon pays au premier rang des nations avec le concours de tous les vrais francais (I will only avenge the insults done to the homeland and
I will replace my country in the first rank of nations with the help of all true French people).
Although the Argentine 2 centavos has the same specifications (Bronze 30 mm and 10 grammes) as the French 10 centimes coins it is strange that it would circulate in France, as is suggested by the counterstamp.
Title: Re: Counterstamp: VIVE | LE DUC | D’ORLÉANS
Post by: Figleaf on March 20, 2021, 07:25:06 AM
While there is no doubt that Orléans was a an anti-semite (as most French kings had been), he is indeed best characterised as a nationalist-conservative. This particular strain of politics lives on. Orléans would probably felt right at home in today's populist parties. In his days, the radical opposition was formed by the anarchists, who were eventually subsumed by the communists, when the socialists had broken away to form a moderate stream of politics.

The nationalist-conservative-royalist branch of politics lived on tenaciously in the French army. It brought forth Marshal Philippe Pétain, who acquired military fame in the first world war and political shame as he became a collaborator in the second world war, notably and not coincidentally by providing active help in rounding up jews for transportation to the nazi death camps.

So the question remains what that counterstamp is doing on an Argentine coin. I think the answer can be found in Napoleonic times. The French revolution was a source of inspiration for South American countries, fighting for independence from Spain. As independence was achieved, the French model was held up as a counterweight to US influence. Both trade and cultural relations with France flourished. The coins of South America in this period reflect this. Many were designed by French artists, realised by French die sinkers, even struck at the Paris mint.

The coin in question is a good example. Liberty in its Phrygian cap comes straight from French revolutionary coins and the liberty pole on the reverse is another device that points to the French revolution. This coin may well have travelled to France with a trader, but it wasn't universally welcome there. Royalists and conservatives must have hated the revolutionary symbolism. One of them turned those symbols of the radical left into a medal to promote the radical right.