Probably not a Paris Crew Medal after all…

Yesterday’s entry about John Elton’s medal created a little stir. Rowing historians Bill Miller and Tom Weil both contacted me and wanted to ‘down grade’ Elton’s medal. Bill writes that, ‘It’s my belief that this is not a Paris Crew medal.’ As the medal has no inscription it’s probably ‘a participants’ medal which were dozens and possibly it was given to one of the English crews (Oxford/London RC) [at the regatta]’, Bill writes. And Tom agrees: ‘I concur completely with Bill’s comments’, Tom writes. He continues to give descriptions of two medals in his collection at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley, one of which John mentioned yesterday. Tom writes:

1867 Gold colored circular medal with Guivre stamped on edge. [obv] crown with four towers above elaborate shield with fleur de lis in upper panel and five-oared galley with sail on lower panel, with “FLVCTVAT NEC MERGITVR” on ribbon below [rev] cattails and anchor over crossed oars device “Societe des Regates Parisiennes” and marked “Hamel a Rouen.”  Inscribed “Bois de Boulogne/ 1er Prix 1867″ Diam 2.25” 10/02.

1867 Bronze circular medal [obv] “Napoleon III Empereur” [showing bust] [rev] outer band “Exposition Universelle”; interior field “Concurrent des Regates Internationales de 1867″  Diam  1+7/16” 10/02.

Tom then writes, ‘The former is the medal described and shown in the HTBS entry, except that, as best I can tell, the HTBS one has a blank field on the reverse where mine is inscribed “Bois de Boulogne/ 1er Prix 1867”. So the HTBS medal may be a stock strike that was never awarded to anyone for anything.

Tom continues, ‘Were one of the two to be a “Paris crew” race medal, it seems to me that it is more likely the second one listed, which is inscribed “Concurrent des Regates Internationales de 1867”, but the word “Concurrent” is a bit ambiguous, and the medal itself does not confirm that it is a prize, much less that it was won in a particular event or by a particular crew.’

HTBS’s Greg Denieffe has this to add:

Here are links to the two medals that Tom Weil has lent to the RRM – 1867 Napoleon III Empereur medal (reverse) & 1867 Gold colour circular medal (obverse).

And here is a Bronze medal commemorating the Paris Exhibition 1867: Emperor Napoleon III, Emperor of France (1808-1873) in the National Trust collection. This may have the same obverse as the RRM medal but the reverse is completely different. And another.

There are plenty more examples of the Napoleon III medal on the web, so it looks like it was the medal (with different reverses) awarded throughout the exhibition as prizes and awards

HTBS’s Hélène Rémond writes, ‘the medal featured on HTBS was not a prize. The word “concurrent” means the rower has taken part in the race, that he was one of the competitors. Thus, I agree with Bill and Tom, it must be a participants’ medal.

‘By the way, there is a Napoléon III medal available for sale (Exposition universelle Paris 1867 Concurrent des régates internationales de 1867, bronze, engraver: Hamel diametre : 31mm, very good condition) at € 40 on this website.

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