jump to navigation

Notes From the Archivist: A Historic Weekend in Monaco February 20, 2013

Posted by bjpayne2003 in Consul of Monaco, Consulate of Monaco, Grace Kelly, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Consular Corps, Monaco Royal Wedding, Monegasques in the USA, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Princess Grace of Monaco, Principality of Monaco.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
trackback

A rare silver 1/6 écu of Honoré II dated 1658

With wide ranging options for first-class entertainment, dining and shopping it sometimes can be easy to forget the historical side of a visit to Monaco. While the most visible link to the past, the Prince’s Palace, is a must-stop on any itinerary, this site along with a few landmarks on le Rocher may be all the casual visitor gets to see of Monaco’s history. If your historical interest runs a bit deeper, you may be curious to hear a bit about a less well known but very tangible link to Monaco’s past – the history of the Principality’s early coinage.You may not suspect a nation of Monaco’s size to have such a numismatic legacy, however Monaco’s early Princes were eager to assert the independence of the Principality and a key part of this was the right to mint their own coinage. Not coincidentally, the first Prince, Honoré II, was also the first to begin minting in Monaco in 1640. With just one significant break in the period from 1735-1837, Monaco has continued to issue a varied and rich series of coins into the modern era.

A 1674 écu of Louis I bearing the arms of the Principality

For anyone intrigued by this part of Monaco’s history, a weekend in December 2012 provided something of a treat. Three major events over two days allowed a rare glimpse at Monaco’s past. The centerpiece of the schedule was a very special exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of the wide recognition of Monaco’s independence. Featuring items loaned from the Palace Archives as well as several European museums, visitors were granted the opportunity to view items that are rarely, if ever, on view. These included correspondence of Monaco’s early rulers (the title Prince first being used in 1612), as well as the 1512 decree from France’s Louis XII recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Monaco.

The exhibition was hosted at the Musée des Monnaies et Timbres (The Coin and Stamp Museum), a small but exquisite museum tucked away in Monaco’s Fontvieille district. Though the exhibition provided an added bonus, a visit here anytime is fascinating; the Princely Collection housed here is unrivaled in the world.

On Saturday, December 1st, the well known Monaco firm of Éditions V. Gadoury (www.gadoury.com) organized a superb auction of rare coins from ancient to modern times. A highlight of the sale was a collection of rare early Monaco pieces, one of the largest such collections to come to auction in a century. From the earliest coins of the Honoré II through the centuries to the likeness of the iconic Princess Grace, the collection was a history of the Principality in miniature. All of Monaco’s early coinage is scarce and most of the denominations and years are extremely rare; the auction featured several coins of which 2 or fewer examples were known to exist.

A 1966 piece celebrating the 10th wedding anniversary of TSH Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace

Rounding out the events was the annual Monaco coin fair on Sunday, December 2nd. Dealers from around Europe saw brisk sales in all areas of coin collecting. Additionally, postcards, early photographs and paper items were to be found. Happily, this event is now on annual basis and will be held again in 2013 in conjunction with another auction by Éditions V. Gadoury. The auction is scheduled for Saturday, November 30th with the coin fair to follow on Sunday, December 1st.

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: