?From the beginning of the early modern period and the coinciding Enlightenment in Europe, many new learned societies and government agencies dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge emerged. Among these was the French Ministere de L’Instruction Publique des Cultes et des Beaux-Arts, a governmental ministry that ran the public education system in France and sought to impel progress in all aspects of the arts and sciences. In this role, the ministry during the 3rd French Republic would hold competitions and provide grants to the winners for best proposed research project. The winner would be entitled to a grant and a gold medal. In the February Collectors Choice online auction, Stacks Bowers Galleries is delighted to present one of these medals for sale, awarded to Franz Schrader in 1879.
Schrader was a mountaineer and geographer who was dedicated to climbing and mapping the Pyrenees mountains between Spain and France. Schrader was the first to produce a comprehensive map of the entire Pyrenees range. He also invented the orograph, a device that could precisely measure mountains via a telescope and attached pen that could record the movements of the telescope. It was Schrader’s plan to create his general map that led to his receiving the grant and medal in 1879. He finally completed this task in 1891. Schrader’s legacy lives on today, as a mountain in the Pyrenes, the range where he spent so much time, is named after him, Pic Schrader.
The medal presented to him displays a stunning obverse relief with Ceres in profile left and an inscription honoring his proposal on the reverse. It is graded MS-62 by NGC. Finding another example of this type appears to be exceptionally challenging as only one other piece, an 1875, has appeared recently. A significant portion of the balance was likely melted in the intervening years. A true beauty, and certain to be one of the highest highlights of the February 2022 CCO auction.
We are always seeking world and ancient coins, medals, and paper money for our auctions, and are currently accepting consignments for our Spring 2022 Hong Kong auction and our Collectors Choice Online (CCO) auctions. If you would like to learn more about consigning, whether a singular item or an entire collection, please contact a consignment director or email [email protected] today and we will assist you in achieving the best possible return on your material.