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WWI French Verdun medals


Sumserbrown
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Sumserbrown

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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Sumserbrown

Rene version

 

353 obverse.JPG

353 reverse.JPG

 

Rene version with Verdun bar and an extra Verdun remembrance pin

 

506 obverse.JPG

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Sumserbrown

 

Revillon version, ball variety

 

497 obverse.JPG

497 reverse.JPG

 

Revillon version, ring variety

 

333 obverse.JPG

333 reverse.JPG

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Allan H.

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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Sumserbrown

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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Sumserbrown

I also thoroughly recommend buying this book if you can find a copy. It's in French, but it is a very comprehensive guide to the Verdun medals, souvenirs, pins certificates etc

Rob

Scan2023-01-09_182155.pdf

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Sumserbrown

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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