101073 | GERMANY & FRANCE. Satirical bronze Medal.
101073 | GERMANY & FRANCE. Satirical bronze Medal. Possibly issued circa 1980. "Verdun" (59mm, 78.31 g, 12h). Likely by Guido Goetz, after Karl Goetz.
VERDVN, Death, smoking a pipe, advancing left, leading a restrained Marianne by her neck, her hands tied behind her back / Bleeding heart, surmounted by Phrygian cap made from a modified Adrian helmet, pierced by scepter surmounted by head of Otto von Bismarck; torch and laurel branch in background; in three lines in exergue, VND • RVHIG / FLIESST • DER / RHEIN (and the Rhine flows calmly). Edge: Plain.
Cf. Kienast 196 (for prototype); cf. Jones, Dance of Death, 18 (same); cf. Hirsch 272, lot 3822 (for a similar later issue, though described as a 'worked' cast, and which realized a hammer of €360 [plus buyer's fee]). A haunting, popular, and very rare type.
The Battle of Verdun, lasting the better part of an entire year from 21 February to 18 December 1916, was ultimately a French victory over the Germans. A part of the Western Front, the battle—the longest of the war—would come to be seen as emblematic of French resistance against the German aggressors, with each side estimated to have lost over 300,000 during its entirety—a staggering figure. On this medal, Goetz presents a more one-sided view, with Death leading a symbol of France away in bondage, yet the Germans fared an even worse fate than their adversaries at the end of the conflict.