1693 Louis XIV / Felicitas Domus Augustae Medal. As Betts-75. Gilt silver or vermeil, 40.9 mm. AU Details--Tooled (PCGS).359.9 grains. Rims 1.8 - 2.0 mm thick. An exciting example of this notable type, perhaps the survivor with the best claim to having been awarded to a Native American. Pale yellow gold surfaces are even in tone over both sides, preserving a strong measure of luster and finely detailed devices. The fields display areas around the perimeters that have been chased, scratched and tooled in a systematic if relatively crude manner. The visual appeal remains strong. Michael Hodder, who had the benefit of cataloging this piece while raw, noted a "test mark on rim" and stated this piece was "once mounted at the top for suspension." He stated: "the overall condition of this vermeil piece and its evidence of a hanger suggested it might have been an awarded medal."<p>Victor Morin wrote about this medal type in his book <em>Les Medailles Decernees Aux Indiens</em>, published in Ottawa in 1916. Though this medal exists in several sizes (Betts-75 actually refers to a larger 76 mm medal with an essentially identical design), he singles out a 41 millimeter medal - the same size as that offered here - in the collection of Laval University of Quebec that had been in the possession of an old Huron family from Lorette. Morin also published a letter dated October 17, 1723, from a nun in Quebec that pins down the presence of this exact type in Canada at that time:<p>"King Louis 14 had some rather large silver medals, having his portrait on one side and on the other side that of his son and the three princes, his children, to give to those who distinguished themselves in the war. Since then a flame-colored ribbon four fingers wide has been added, which is greatly esteemed by them."<p>Its difficult to believe a Canadian of the era would see a medal of the size of an ecu and call it "rather large." It is also hard to believe that a medal of this size would be hung from a ribbon as wide as four fingers (your catalogers three fingers cover the entire slab that contain this medal). So the nuns letter probably refers to a 76 mm example.<p>When Syd acquired this medal, Barry Tayman passed along a quote from Martha Hamiltons <em>Silver in the Fur Trade</em> which references an inventory of trade items held at Fort Frontenac in 1702. It counted "2 dozen large medals and 22 dozen small medals," which would seem to indicate 24 medals of the larger 76 mm size and more than 10 times as many - 264 - medals of this smaller size. There is a similar 36 mm medal as well, which may seem much different than a 41 mm medal to a numismatist but probably would have been seen as more or less the same by the guy whose job it was to count medals at Fort Frontenac.<p>So we know this type was in Canada, thanks to Sister Saint-Helenes letter, and we know this size was apparently the more commonplace one, thanks to the inventory. But what of this pieces unusual gilt or vermeil composition against the backdrop of mostly silver medals given to Native Americans?<p>Hamilton reports several instances when New Frances Governor General Marquis de Vaudreuil requested or mentions "medailles de vermeil" between 1708 and 1710, offering three documented references to this exact composition.<p>Medals of this type with any evidence of wear or use are highly unusual, though restrikes from the 18th century and later are relatively common. This has been owned by several thoughtful and research-oriented connoisseurs of Canadiana and medals distributed to Native Americans, cherished as a rare relic of the diplomacy between First Peoples and the French in the 17th century American interior.<p>.<strong>To view supplemental information and all items from the Sydney F. Martin Collection, click<a href="https://stacksbowers.com/sydney-f-martin-collection/"target=’_blank’> here.</a></strong>.From the Sydney F. Martin Collection. Earlier ex Victor Morin Collection; Gerard Lortie, by descent, 1960; sold at auction Hotel de Encans, September 1993, probably part of lot 467; John W. Adams Collection, via Warren Baker, September 1993; our (Stacks) Americana sale, January 2009, lot 5001; Joe Foster Collection, via Warren Baker. Acquired by Martin from Foster in April 2017.