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France 1684

Description: Medal of Michael Le Tellier (1603 - 1685) dated 1684 by the Danish medallist Anton Meybusch.
Obverse: Draped bust of Le Tellier right wearing a skull-cap, "• MICHAEL • LE • TELLIER • FRANCIAE • CANCELLARIVS •" ="Michael le Tellier Chancellor of France" "ANT. MEYBUSCH" in small letters.
Reverse: Justice, seated on a plinth embellished with the Le Tellier arms, being crowned by Minerva and Veritas (wisdom and truth), "FORTVNATAE VIRT • VTI •" In Exergue, "FILIORVM PIETAS/ MDCLXXXIV" (1684)
Statistics: Bronze 61mm, 109.7gm
Reference: T N pl. 23 5
Comment: Die crack in field before le Tellier's mouth.


Anton Meybusch (1645 - 1702) was a Danish medallist, die-cutter and wax sculptor of German or Dutch origin. He probably learnt the trade of die-cutting in Copenhagen, where from 1667 onwards he worked for King Frederick III and King Christian V. In 1674 he moved to Stockholm and received a licence to produce medals, among which were several of Charles XI of Sweden and Queen Ulrike Eleonore. From 1674 to 1684 he was employed as a die-cutter at the Swedish Royal Mint, at the same time working as a goldsmith. In 1681 he accepted an invitation to the Mint in Paris, where he was given the title of Medailleur du Roi de France: he brought with him coining presses of his own invention. Meybusch returned to Stockholm in 1690 but moved back in that same year to Copenhagen, where in 1692 he received a post at the Danish court.

It was in these nine years in Paris of 1681 to 1690 that he produced French medals such as this one.

Le Tellier was born in Paris to a Parisian magistrate and his wife. He entered the public service and became maitre des requetes, (a higher level lawyer, or 'procureur') in 1631 for Louis XIII of France. In 1640 le Tellier was appointed Intendant of Justice for the French military stationed in Piedmont, Italy. In 1643, owing to his friendship with the head French minister Cardinal Jules Mazarin, he became Secretary of State for Military Affairs (known as 'Secretary of State for War' during that era), and was known as being an efficient administrator. He was active in the troubles associated with the aristocratic Fronde uprising, remaining loyal to Cardinal Mazarin and to the state.

In 1677 he was made Chancellor of France. One of his major contributions as chancellor included his transformation of the royal army into a considerably larger, more professional force that helped impose the absolute rule of Louis XIV, helping to ensure France's dominance of Europe.

Le Tellier, who despised Protestantism, was one of those who influenced Louis XIV to revoke the Edict of Nantes which had previously provided religious freedoms to them. He further encouraged the persecution of the Huguenots. He died a few days after the revocation had been signed.

Le Tellier also amassed great wealth during his life and left two sons, one being famous statesman Louvois who also served France as Secretary of State for War, and who ultimately became one of the most powerful officials of the regime under his father's tutelage. Michel's other son Charles Maurice Le Tellier became the Archbishop of Reims.

Michel le Tellier's correspondence reside within the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris

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