100753 | FRANCE. World War II bronze Medal.
100753 | FRANCE. World War II bronze Medal. Issued circa 1940. The Prophet Elijah/Renault R35 Tank (58mm, 144.24 g, 12h). By E.-J. Vézien in Paris.
PROPHETE ÉLIE, the departure of Elijah: the prophet Elijah driving biga of rearing horses, consumed by flames, left unto heaven; LE JOURDAIN in exergue / A Renault R35 tank right, with stylized explosions in background; HONNEUR below. Edge: «cornucopia» BRONZE.
Choice Mint State. Pleasing yellow-brown surfaces, with exceptionally high relief. An immensely interesting Biblical/WWII hybrid type.
The exact meaning of these two types is not certain, though the time period during which the medal was made, along with the use of what appears to be a Renault R35 tank, would place it in the early stages of World War II–a time of great concern for Vézien's native France. The prophet Elijah was seen as a miracle worker and a harbinger of the Messiah, and so his depiction could allude to a hopeful France seeking a miracle in the wake of the Nazi onslaught. Meanwhile, the tank depicted on the reverse appears to be a Renault R35, or very similar, which would have seen use around 1940, though its slowness and inability to destroy other tanks made its effectiveness limited. In any event, a highly interesting piece of medallic art depicting a popular wartime implement.