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WWI French Verdun medals


Sumserbrown
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Around 70% of all the French soldiers that were engaged in World War I participated to the battle of Verdun. Six or seven different designs were put forward for the medal but none were approved by the French Government and all remained unofficial awards that could not be worn on military uniform.

 

Originally intended to be “awarded to those who served on the Verdun front between 21 February 1916 and 2 November 1916, the medal was, in fact, awarded to those who served anywhere on the Argonne and St Mihiel sectors between 31 July 1914 and 11 November 1918 and can be found in some medal groups from non-French soldiers, eg US participants.

 

The medal is fitted with a loose ring suspender and a piece of 37 mm red ribbon that has blue-white-red edges.

 

The original, and most commonly found, version was by Vernier but since supplies of this medal were inadequate, others created Verdun medals and at least seven versions of varying rarity are known. Some of the versions themselves have different variants, eg on the suspension or the bar.

 

Starting with the Vernier version, ball variant with bar:

 

336 obverse.JPG

336 reverse.JPG

 

and then the ring variant:

 

337 obverse.JPG

337 reverse.JPG

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I've never seen all of the variations of this medal! Sure, I have encountered dozens of them in WWI groups and have seen dozens more for sale at shows and on line, but I never realized that there were so many variations. This is truly an impressive grouping of medals. Thank you for sharing them.

 

I am interested in knowing if there are other bars to the medal, and is the remembrance pin just something that someone has pinned to a ribbon, or was the medal designed to take other devices?

 

Allan

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Hi Allan,

 

the medal itself was not an official one from the French government but ordered and issued by the city of Verdun itself. Their official version was the Vernier medal, and this is by far the most common issued, most frequently seen now and cheapest of the medals here. If I recall correctly, all the WWI US groups I have seen with a Verdun medal have contained the Vernier version, I would be interested to know if you or anyone else has seen another version in a US group. The supply of Vernier medals did not meet the demand, so other suppliers brought out their own versions and you certainly see the other versions in French medal groups.

 

The Vernier medal was never issued with a bar; the Augier medal was always issued with a bar. For the other versions, I have seen them with a bar and without so I am not sure whether they always had bars, didn't always have bars, or the bars were optional.

 

The pins for sure were added later and not issued at the time. I suspect these were either sweetheart brooches or later souvenirs. There are various types which you sometimes see added to the Verdun medals. I really like the pin shown as it has the name of Verdun, the cross of Lorraine (area where Verdun is) and Lily of The Valley flowers to signify 'return to happiness'.

 

All of these medals above are seen for sale on sites (eg Ebay) and can be obtained fairly easily at varying prices (something like 30 - 350 USD) depending on the relative rarity of the medal in question.

 

The Rasumny medal is probably not one of the real Verdun medals but a souvenir. However, it seems rare so commands a high price. Even rarer are the Steiner and Dutemps (souvenir?) medals which I do not have yet in my collection. I was offered a Steiner medal several years ago for 600 USD but couldn't afford it at the time; I have not seen one for sale since.

 

Rob

 

 

 

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Looking through Silvert's book again, he lists and has pictures of the 7 bars that he knows (see PDF file attached).

I have just acquired another variant of the Prudhomme version; this one is the ball variant, the one I posted earlier being the knob variant. This ball variant has Silvert's bar type #7 by an unknown manufacturer.

 

 

702 obverse.JPG

702 reverse.JPG

Scan2023-01-13_141828.pdf

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...
Sumserbrown

Augier ring variation, with bar type 1

 

791 obverse.jpg

791 reverse.jpg

Prudhomme ring variant in silver

 

797 obverse.jpg

797 reverse.jpg

Prudhomme knob variant, with Silvert bar type 8

 

811 obverse.jpg

811 reverse.jpg

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  • 2 months later...
Sumserbrown

I have acquired a few more versions and variants of the Verdun medal which I will be posting here

 

This is a version by Dropsy

 

 

 

 

Dropsy obverse.jpg

Dropsy reverse.jpg

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stratasfan

Thanks for sharing all these. This is amazing to see all the variations! Just love French medals, so this has been interesting and fun to read through!

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Sumserbrown

 

Vernier type, in vermeil.

Vermeil is a style of French jewelry where the item is made in high grade silver and then electroplated with a veneer of gold. As this is a medal made from precious metals it has hallmark from the mint (lozenge shaped mark on the medal near where the planchet joins the ring). As you would expect, this version is a lot more expensive than the standard Vernier version in bronze.

 

 

Vernier vermeil obverse.jpg

Vernier vermeil reverse.jpg

Vernier vermeil obverse planchet.jpg

Vernier vermeil mint stamp.jpg

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Sumserbrown

I previously posted the Prud'homme version, ring variant in silver and this is the same ring variant but in bronze

 

 

Prud'homme ring bronze obverse.jpg

Prud'homme ring bronze reverse.jpg

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easterneagle87

Awesome article! Thank you for sharing. I have a US veterans uniform with a Verdun medal pinned on. Now I'm going to have to dig it out and see which one is one it. 

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Sumserbrown
1 hour ago, easterneagle87 said:

Awesome article! Thank you for sharing. I have a US veterans uniform with a Verdun medal pinned on. Now I'm going to have to dig it out and see which one is one it. 

 

I would be very interested to hear which medal you have on the uniform and also very interested to hear from anyone else if they have a Verdun medal in a group of other medals to a soldier. I have frequently seen the Vernier medal in groups, then less frequently a Prud'homme and then less frequently again the anonymous or Revillon versions. I suspect some of the medals above are 'souvenir' medals rather than 'awards', but I would love to be proved wrong and find some of the rarer ones to be actually part of a group of medals.

Rob

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  • 4 weeks later...
Sumserbrown

There are a surprising number of different bars on the Verdun medals. In his book 'La Medaille de Verdun', 2006, Thierry Silvert lists 8 bars, which I have put in his order in the image below. I have also added two more modern (but different) bars, all from my collection. I can't speak for the rarity of each type here but type 3 was the one that took me longest to find. Please let me know if you have any other bars not listed here.

Verdun bars list.jpg

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