Gold Rush medal auction slated at Metropole

napoleon-gold-medal-gold-rush-lottery-leadMonnaies de Collection Monaco is about to offer at auction at the Hotel Metropole on May 20 an unusual gold medal with connections to the Californian Gold Rush. The medal of Napoleon III was issued by a French organisation that sponsored French settlers who sought a new life in the Gold Rush in the 1850s.

The large medal was minted in 1856 for the Société des lingots d’or, whose aim it was to send 5,000 unemployed Frenchmen to the gold mines of California and pay for their passage.

A lottery was held to choose the future settlers and registered applicants were selected randomly by the prefecture. The winners received a sum of money with a ticket to the United States. In order to attract attention, a jackpot was offered in the form of a gold ingot worth 400,000 francs, which was put on exhibition at Montmartre.

The medal in the auction was issued by the society at about the same time, but its purpose or role is unknown. The medal has an estimate of €30,000. Other artefacts connected to Napoleon III are being offered in the auction, which offers “perhaps the largest collection of Napoleon III patterns, including an exceptional set of uniface patterns from the 1 centime to the 100 francs,” MDC said.

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