101139 | FRANCE & GERMANY. Corbara, Corsica silver Trench Art.
101139 | FRANCE & GERMANY. Corbara, Corsica silver Trench Art. Engraved on an undated French Franc (23mm, 4.47 g, 12 h).
ANDENKEN AN DEN KRIEG (souvenir of the war) / • 1914 CORBARA 1918 •, façade of the tower at the Couvent Saint-Dominique de Corbara, with a view toward the Mediterranean Sea / REPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE, Marianne advancing left, sowing seeds; rising sun in background. Edge: Reeded.
Cf. KM 844.1 (for host coin). Engraving & host coin: Choice Extremely Fine. Pleasing deep gray toning.
We associate the internment of citizens during wartime as a WWII aspect with Japanese-Americans, but the practice in fact existed during WWI as well, with France using the practice toward 'enemy aliens' on the island of Corsica and utilizing the convent at Corbara represented on this interesting piece of trench art from the first world war.
Being borrowed from the early 18th century practice in Great Britain, and being related to even earlier forms of engraving on European coinage, "love tokens" were an extremely popular form of sentimental art that saw their high point in the United States in the mid-to-late-19th century, whereby coinage was smoothed down on one or both sides, and some form of initials, a message, and/or imagery was engraved so that it may be presented to a loved one. The most commonly encountered 'canvas' in the United States was the dime, and usually one from the Seated Liberty series. At their height, the U.S. Mint blamed an alleged shortage of dimes—a staple of most late-19th century transactions—on this craze. Rising again in the early-mid 20th century during the depths of despair that were the world wars, this form of coin art, usually referred to in this context as "trench art," would see another revival, offering soldiers a brief chance at escapism through sentimental creativity.
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