Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


MOLART, Michel: France, 1638, Bronze, 73 mm
Obv: Bust of Louis XIII    LUDOVICUS XIII. FR. ET. NAV. REX.
Rev: Façade of Val-de-Grace    OB GRATIAM DIV DISIDERATI REGII PARTVS (For the Favor from God of the Delivery Desired by the King ) (i.e., The birth of a Child).
Exergue:  V SEPT. M. DC. XXXVIII
Signed:  MOLART. F.
Ref: Europese Penningen # 1645 (68 mm);  see also Jones Vol 2, p.23 (obverse); Weiss BW191

Louis XIII (The Just) (1601-1643), King of France (1610-1643), was the son of Henry IV and Marie de Medici. He became king at the age of nine on his father's assassination in 1610, with his mother assuming full powers of regent. One of Marie de Medici's major objectives at that juncture was to bring France into an alliance with Spain and Austria. She decided, therefore, that Louis was to marry Anne of Austria, the daughter of the Spanish king, Philip III, and they were, in fact, married in 1615. The relationship between the young king and his mother, however, was often hostile, as was his relationship with Cardinal Richelieu, his wife Anne's principal advisor. Richelieu, nevertheless, became the most important member of the king's council, and was in large measure responsible of directing France's policy. This policy, which was often openly hostile to non-Catholic members of the community, brought Louis into unremitting conflict with the Protestants. Through Richelieu's influence, Huguenot strongholds were captured, Italy was invaded and France entered the Thirty Year's War (1618-1649) against Habsburg Spain. Despite several attempts to reduce his power, Richelieu continued to retain his ascendancy over the king until the cardinal's death in 1642.  Louis and Anne had a child, the future Louis XIV, on September 5, 1638, the event celebrated by this medal.

The church of Val-de-Grâce, the facade of which is depicted on the reverse of the medal, is a French baroque church built in Paris from designs by François Mansart and Jacques Lemercier on the order of Anne of Austria in thanks for the birth of her son, the future Louis XIV, born when she was 37 years old.

The medal, though dated 1638, was likely struck at a later date, perhaps about 1690 (see Jones).

LINK to Biography and Portrait of Louis XIII (from Wikipedia)

LINK to History of the Thirty Years' War (from fortunecity.com)

LINK to church of Val-de-Grâce (from Wikipedia)