France. Charles VIII. 1483-1497.
|Sale: Nomos 5, Lot: 2. Estimate CHF30000.
Closing Date: Monday, 24 October 2011.
Sold For CHF34000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
Medal (Silver, 40.2mm, 14.86 g), by Louis Lepère (fl. 1456-1500), Jean Lepère (fl. 1492 -† c. 1534-1537) and Nicolas de Florence (†1499), Lyons, dated 1493 but probably struck c. 1502 or 1515. FELIX FORTVNA DIV EXPLORATVM ACTVLIT 1493 (a happy fortune brought him who we have sought so long
) On a field semé with fleurs-de-lis, crowned and draped bust of Charles VIII to right, wearing the Order of St. Michael. Rev.
R P LVGDVNEN (lion
)ANNA REGNANTE CONFLAVIT (=the Republic of Lyon cast the lion when Anna was Queen
) On a field semé with lis (to left) and ermines (to right), crowned bust of Anne of Brittany to right, wearing rosary. Armand I, p. 89, 24. Jones 13. Pollard 599 = Kress 526. M. Veillon, “Genèse et Essor de la Médaille Royale dans la France,” The Medal
50, Spring 2007, p. 18, fig. 5. Extremely rare, a contemporary striking with a lovely gray patina. Extremely fine.
Ex Numismatica Genevensis 4, 11 December 2006, 535.
Charles VIII arrived in Lyons in March 1494 (new style, the Julian date was 1493) on his way to his Italian campaign and was greeted in great style by the notables of the city. Queen Anne was presented with 100 medals of this type struck in gold, which were contained in a gold cup supported by a golden lion. Despite their beauty, all these golden gifts must have been rapidly melted down to support Charles’ military ambitions, but some of the medals were reissued in silver in 1502 and 1515; all surviving examples come from that group. The designs were by the court painter Jean Perréal and the dies were executed from them by Louis Lepère and his son and son-in-law. This is one of the most important and most interesting of all early French struck medals and it clearly shows how the French engravers were still stylistically torn between Renaissance realism and the formalism of the late Medieval world. The care with which these portraits were made clearly shows contemporary Italian influence, but the backgrounds are a regression to earlier practice. It is, in any case, a tour de force for the Lyonnaise engravers who produced it.