Just 2 more years and half of this pin will be an antique! This French pin is made from two 50-centimes pieces. One is dated 1918 and the other 1919! The actual silver content of the coins is 0.067 troy ounces silver. The front of the brooch features Marianne, the symbol of the French republic, sowing wheat. This design, called the “Semeuse” or The Sower was created by Oscar Roty and was featured on French silver coins and stamps. Roty (1846 – 1911) was one of the most celebrated medallists of the Art Nouveau period. His name can be seen at the very bottom of each coin under Marianne's left foot. The Musee D'Orsay says Roty's "Semeuse" is "the most widespread work of art in France."* The pin is 2.75 inches long. As you can see in one of the photos, the 50-centimes coin is the size of the US dime. The pin is crooked but that doesn't affect its wearability. I have included a variety of photos, with and without flash and at a window of natural daylight. I used a silver polishing cloth on the front of the coins in the last photo. Marianne shines up quite nicely!
* A special thanks to the Musee D'Orsay for this information about Roty and his design of the Sower: "She originally dates back to 1887. This was the year when Roty designed a prize medal commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, but the project was not followed through. In 1896, when the Minister of Finance commissioned some new coins, Roty was one of the artists selected. He went back to the Sower of 1887 but transformed his robust peasant into a slim Marianne, wearing the Phrygian cap of Liberty. The traditional profile of the Republic was abandoned in favour of a more active, standing figure.
"This model provoked violent debate. The newspapers railed against it: "What is she sowing, this woman, with the fancy Phrygian cap? She is sowing disorder, anarchy, rye grass, hatred born of lies and immorality" (Le Moniteur, 28 February 1897). The allegory, however, is clear. "These seeds that she generously sows are the innumerable ideas that will germinate one day when we are no longer here." (La Liberté, 8 October 1898). The gesture is in fact more symbolic than realistic, because one does not broadcast seeds into the wind.
"Originally, The Sower was used on the fifty centime to two franc coins introduced in 1897 and 1898, before appearing on stamps in 1903. It is thus the most widespread work of art in France."
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