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Medal for the future king Leopold I of Belgium


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I am making now an inventory of the collection of medals I have. A very interesting part of this are the medals from the Belgian De Hondt, living in Bruges from 1786 to 1862. I have nearly his all work and I want show here one of the first medals, made for the future king Leopold I. He was living in Great Britain and was asked to become the first king after the independence in 1830. On the way to Brussels, he was in Bruges on the 18° of july, where he received a gold medal, made by De Hondt. I have 2 gilded and 1 silver medal fron this one.



Gilded : 47.5 mm, 62.8 gr

Silver :  48 mm, 48.4 gr.

Ref. : Guioth, RG 73.

The obverse shows a brust of the king on a supporting base with the shields showing the arms of the provinces, at left a lion. The personification of the city of Bruges crowns the king with a laurel wreath. The inscription : LEOPOLDUS  I. BELGARUM REX ELECTUS. In exergue : MDCCCXXXI and the name of the engraver F.DE HONDT.

The reverse shows a wreath of a laurel and oak  branch with inside : LIBERTAS BELAGARUM ASSERTA : the freedom of the Belgian people is corroborated.


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I have a problem with the weight of this gilded medal.I am told it is a brass medal gilded. This brass medal weight 48.4 gr, the same as my silver. The gilded medals weight 62.8 and 61.3 gr. Is the difference in weight : 62 - 48.4 = 13.6 gr gold, used to gild the medal ? I also do not understand that there is no gilded medal in the numismatic collection of Brussels or Bruges. A golden medal has been offered to the king and it seems to be a unique one made. I have one other gilded medal of De Hondt, that looks totally different :




obv : AUG.JOS.RIJCKEWAERT POPER.CAN.TIT.ECCL.CATH.GAND.SEMI.PRAESES : AUGustinus JOSephus RIJCKEWAERT POPERingensis CANonicus TITularis ECCLesiae GANDensis SEMINarii PRAESES : Agustinus Josephus Rijckewaert, born in Poperinge, chamoine (?) of the church of Ghent and president of the seminary

rev : aeruditione / acerrimaque / fidei; defensione; / conspicuus / obuit / an; mdcccxxxvi / aet. lxvi : conspicuous by his very precise ingenuity and defensor of the faith, he passed away in 1836 on the age of 66 years.

42,5 mm , 34 gr, Guioth,RB 238.

I have 2 silver medals of Rijckewaert with the weight of 31.6 and 32 gr and the bronze one weights 32 and 31.6 gr (not mine). Here the difference for gilding is only 2 gr. Why ? Anybody has an explanation ?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I contacted the museum of Bruges and had an answer today : the conservator wrote the medals of Leopold I are 14 carat yellow gold : 'Als de zilveren versie van de kroningsmedaille effectief vervaardigd is uit sterling zilver (Ag 925, soortelijk gewicht 10,4) of eerder zilver Ag 835 (soortelijk gewicht 10,2), zou een medaille met exact dezelfde afmetingen, maar een hoger gewicht kunnen gemaakt zijn uit geelgoud van 14 karaat (Au 585, soortelijk gewicht 13,7). Die 14kt geelgouden medaille zou immers 63,75 gram moeten wegen. Aangezien uw medaille een halve millimeter kleiner meet, zou dat het lichte verschil kunnen verklaren' The silver medal is sterling silver (AG 925, 10.4 specific weight)- or sooner AG 835 (s.w. 10.2), a medal with exact the same dimensions, but a higher weight can be in yellow gold of 14 carat (Au 585, s.w.13.7). This yellow gold medal would weight 63.75 gr. Your medal is half a millimetre smaller, what would explain the difference.

I don t have to say I was very happy with this answer. The contact was very good and as I had more problems with this collections, she is very interested. I hope one day to visit and see the objects they have from De Hondt.

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