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1690 Quebec Preserved Medal, Original Strike, Betts-68, Br-34/35, Leroux-306/306a, XF.

1690 Quebec Preserved Medal, Original Strike, Betts-68, Br-34/35, Leroux-306/306a, XF.


Bronze. 41mm. 29.9 grams. The Quebec Preserved medals were ordered by France’s King Louis XIV to commemorate the French defence of Quebec City, the capital of New France, in 1690. The city came under siege by Sir William Phips, the British-American general from Massachusetts, in October. Phips and his troops had successfully taken Port Royal in Acadia in May 1690 and believed they could do the same at Quebec. The English government authorized Phips to send 34 ships and more than 2,000 soldiers to Quebec in late August. They arrived in early October, but the expedition was a colossal failure. A smallpox outbreak devastated the Massachusetts colonists, who also faced difficult weather conditions, inadequate munitions, and a larger-than-expected French contingent at Quebec under Count Frontenac. Within a week Phips and the Bostonians were turned around, their return voyage nearly as disastrous as their ill-fated attack. At least three ships were wrecked, burned, or lost. Additional reading on the 1690 Battle of Quebec is highly recommended.

The obverse depicts a right-facing portrait of King Louis XIV with the maker’s mark I MAUGER F with stops in between under the bust. The reverse features a seated female figure emblematic of Quebec or France seated on rock with flags bearing the arms of the British and a French royal shield. A beaver is seen facing left on the rock, symbolic of New France. The river god of the St-Lawrence is seen at right and pine trees behind. The legend above FRANCIA IN NOVO ORBE VICTRIX translates to France Victorious in the New World. The exergue shows KEBECA LIBERATA MDCXC (Quebec Liberated 1690).

The Quebec Preserved medals usually offered are almost invariably restrikes, identified by differences in the maker’s name, differences in the production quality, namely the rims, and even differences in the portrait. This is one of the rare original medals. Cuds appear around the rims on each side, and a planchet flaw runs near (MA)GNUS RE(X) to the edge. The chocolate-brown surfaces are smooth and glossy with a trace of field reflectivity. Partial mint red color glows around the legends. The beaver and shield display a bit of friction, and there are a few scattered marks. Flecks of aqua residue are also present within some of the devices and legends.

Similar original strikes recently offered at auction include:

  • John W. Adams Collection (Heritage, 1/2013), lot 3631, where it brought $2,820 USD;

  • Canadian Numismatic Auction Sale (TCNC, 4/2019), lot 578, where it brought $1,785 CAD.

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