Paul Bosco Coins and Medals

Medals of Lafayette

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette is one of the most celebrated individuals in the world of personal medals, commemorated for his participation in the American Revolution and in the French Revolutions of 1789 and 1830 as well as in the formation of the modern French state.

Lafayette medals, with a few exceptions, are scarce or rare. They make few market appearances, even in France (where I often go to buy medals). The John J. Ford duplicates –not a powerful offering-- appeared in a Bowers & Merena sale in 1994; I was the underbidder on most of them; it turned out Ford bought them back. Neither they, nor his #1 collection, seem to have entered the market, which has probably kept the market for Lafayette understimulated, compared to, say, Betts medals.

We have an extensive collection of Lafayette medals in our stock, only a few of which are illustrated below. The four pieces offered here demonstrate the difference in grading between coin dealers (and NGC & PCGS) and medals specialists like Eimer, Margolis, CNG, Fearon and BOSCO. It is not unusual for pieces I sell as EF to get slabbed as MS63.  


Inv. 2935.  Medal of Lafayette by Benjamin Duvivier, 1790, silver 41 mm. The Avenger of Liberty Medal, from the Fuld Collection and the plate medal from the Melvin and George Fuld’s “Medallic Memorials to Lafayette.” After Lafayette fled from the Terror, the medalist Duvivier offered the die for this medal to the public executioner in place of the head of Lafayette. This specimen is engraved on the edge as a wedding commemoration for Michel Jean-Baptiste Jacques Aroux, a prominent judge in Rouen during the French Revolution and Empire, and Agathe Ignace Payenneville, July 29, 1790.

Silver, 41 mm, Nearly EF (Stack’s: “about uncirculated”). Fuld LA.1790.4. From the Stack’s Philadelphia Americana Sale, 30 Sept. – 2 Oct. 2010, lot 5489. Much rarer than silver strikes of 41mm Napoleon medals, but barely more expensive.


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Figure 1 Lafayette medal by Duvivier            Figure 2 Lafayette medal by Duvivier


Inv. 2936. Lafayette medal produced for Napoleon. In the month of Fructose, year 9 of the French Revolution (March 1801), the medalist A. J. Lienard presented to the First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte the five medals he had produced in his series of famous men of the French Revolution; the Lafayette medal was number 5. The reverse of the medal identifies Lafayette as the object successively of idolatry and hatred, remembered only for his misfortunes and services to the liberation of two worlds. The edge bears the inscription REVOLUTION FRANCAISE. PAR LIENARD. AN 9. NO 5.

Silver, 32 mm, EF (Stack’s: “about uncirculated”). Fuld LA.1792.4. From the Stack’s Philadelphia Americana Sale, 30 Sept. – 2 Oct. 2010, lot 5499.


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Figure 3 Lafayette medal by Lienard            Figure 4 Lafayette medal by Lienard                                                          


Inv. 2940. Barricades medal of 1830 featuring Lafayette. One of the medals of the street fighters in the July Revolution of 1830, which overthrew the Restoration monarchy of Charles X. This plain, white metal badge bears a legend “to the intrepid citizens of Paris, Barricades, 27, 28, 29 July”

White metal, 28 mm, looped. EF for this crude piece; it could not be much better (Stack’s: “uncirculated”). Fuld LA.1830.14. From the collection of Dr. George Fuld. From the Stack’s Philadelphia Americana Sale, 30 Sept. – 2 Oct. 2010, lot 5519.


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Figure 5 Lafayette barricades medal       Figure 6 Lafayette barricades medal


Inv. 2942. Mourning medal for Lafayette by Polish artist Wladislas Olesczynski, 1834. One of Lafayette’s last acts was his support for the national uprising in Poland in 1831 to 1832 against occupation by Austria and Russia. After his death in 1834 the French mint issued this medal depicting a figure of Polonia mourning at a tomb decorated with the image of a weeping American Indian princess. This early striking, with no edge mark, is from the collection of Dr. George Fuld. A rare and particularly desirable POLISH medal.

Bronze, 50 mm, tiny rim bruise 3:00 reverse, but still a Good VF overall (Stack’s: “choice, about uncirculated”. Fuld LA.1834.2. From the Stack’s Philadelphia Americana Sale, 30 Sept. – 2 Oct. 2010, lot 5536.


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Figure 7 Polish Lafayette medal                                  Figure 8 Polish Lafayette medal


Click here for a complete listing of our medals of Lafayette.

For information on these medals, or any others in our stock, email me at .