Medal. Portrait medallion commemorating the French expedition of the corvettes GEOGRAPHE and NATURALISTE, commanded by Captain Baudin, to Australia and the Pacific during the years 1800 – 1804.

Peripheral die break on obverse, reverse with “Die 1” (with ‘C’ over ‘A’), extremely fine. Obverse: Portrait of Napoleon “Bonaparte Permier Consul de La Rep. France” Reverse: ‘Les Corvettes Le Geographe et le Naturaliste, Commandees par le Capitaine Baudin’.

SKU SF000692 Category


On the course of the voyage Baudin died. The portrait is of Napoleon, first consul of the French Republic. There are various references to the presence of such medals on the expedition (as Peter Lane has pointed out in the Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia, volume 8); for example, off the coast of Le Havre an English captain went aboard the GEOGRAPHE, and Baudin later wrote about the incident in his journal, ‘upon his departure I begged him to accept a medal struck to commemorate the voyage, he did with pleasure, and then we parted’. At King George’s Sound in Western Australia, Baudin found two monuments erected by natives, either side of a stream. They were surrounded by eleven finely tapered spears painted red at the tips with eucalyptus resin. Baudin speculated that what he had found were two warriors’ graves and he forbade anyone to deface them. He then placed two medals and some glass beads on each one.

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Pierre A Montagny