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Notes from the Archivist – A Periodic Look at Monegasque History January 5, 2013

Posted by bjpayne2003 in Consul of Monaco, Consulate of Monaco, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Consular Corps, Monegasques in the USA, Principality of Monaco.
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A recent trip to Monaco afforded the opportunity to hunt for historic finds in and around the Principality. And indeed, an interesting piece was discovered – one that we thought we would share with friends of the Honorary Consulate in Las Vegas. At just over 2 ft. square and just shy of 200 lbs, this cast iron crest features the Principality’s coat-of-arms.

You may notice some subtle differences however, as this is a slightly earlier form and one most common prior to the 19th century. The piece is believed to have come from a collection in Menton, so it may originate from the area east of the current borders of the Principality. You may recall that prior to 1848 both Menton and Roquebrune were part of Monaco’s lands and the Principality was, consequently, significantly larger than what we know today – see the c. 1840 map below.

This type of cast iron plate was sometimes used as a ‘fireback’, set into the back of large chimneys in order to help radiate heat out into a room. This may indeed be what this piece is, but unfortunately we don’t have any idea where it came from. Another possibility is simply an architectural ornament, set into a gate or wall – it does show signs of having been exposed to the elements for at least some period of time.

As we continue to research the original context, we welcome the insight of anyone who may recognize the piece or one like it.

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