Tue, 14th Dec 2021 10:00

Fine Interiors - Two Day Sale - Live Online

  Lot 294


A Napoleonic gilt-bronze medallion in a fitted case

A Napoleonic gilt-bronze medallion in a fitted case,
19th century, depicting the emperor in profile, the red leather case inscribed in gilt lettering 'Donnee Par S. M. L'Empereur A Mr Roustam Ier Mameluc',
7.7cm diameter
case 9.5cm wide
9.5cm deep

The inscription on the case of this medallion suggests it was presented by Emperor Napoleon to Roustam Raza, Premier Mameluc.

Roustam Raza was Napoleon's Mamluk bodyguard and secondary valet. Having been taken into slavery from his home city of Tbilisi, Georgia, by the Egyptians, Roustam was gifted to Napoleon in 1798 by the sheikh of Cairo, following the successful French campaign in Egypt. He served the Emperor for 15 years until his exile. The use of the phrase 'premier Mameluc' in this inscription is notable and alludes to the fact that Napoleon had a second Mamluk, Mamluk Ali who joined his service in 1812, after which time Roustam would have referred to himself as the premier mamluk to denote his seniority. This may indicate that whoever inscribed the box knew of this arrangement and was probably following the owner's instructions, rather than someone simply inscribing a text.

A letter from the British Museum, Department of Coins and Medals, dated December 1964, suggests that this medal matches the description of one shown in both Trésor de Numismatique and Bramsen which is said to have been produced in December 1813.

Take advantage of our Sworders Delivery Service. Please see 'Shipping estimate' below.

Sold for £900

Condition report

the case is worn with damage to the hinge and loss to the surface leather, the medallion with light surface scratches, the case possibly made later to house the medallion



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Auction: Fine Interiors - Two Day Sale - Live Online, Tue, 14th Dec 2021

In-person bidding is available, please visit below to book or call 01279 817778.

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We will be offering viewing by appointment only, to be held at our Stansted Auction Rooms, Cambridge Road, Stansted Mountfitchet CM24 8GE..  One hour time slots will be available from:

Fri 10 Dec, 9am - 5pm 

Sat 11 Dec, 10am - 2pm

Sun 12 Dec, 10am - 2pm 

Mon 13 Dec, 9am - 5pm 

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