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Italy, Kingdom of Italy. Vittorio Emanuele III di Savoia (1900-1946). Gettone-Medaglia in bronzo dorato - 1915 "Croce rossa italiana"

Italy, Kingdom of Italy. Vittorio Emanuele III di Savoia (1900-1946). Gettone-Medaglia in bronzo dorato - 1915 "Croce rossa italiana"

Token (coin/medal) of the 'Croce Rossa' (Italian Red Cross), 24 May 1915 - V. E. III.
'Token of war' from the Italian Red Cross, issued in favour of the CRI.
Material: gilt bronze, with shield in enamels featuring a red cross on white background, mounted in a fine pendant in silver and enamels, in very good condition.
Mint: Johnson - Milan.
Engraver: Albino Dal Castagne.
Please look at the images for an accurate impression.
Tokens were often inserted in settings made of silver and enamels, either linear or floral, that were hung to the ribbon of the medal to the merit of the CRI, thus highlighting the pride at having contributed to the pious necessities of the homeland.
In 1915, the propaganda committee of Italian Red Cross, Milan division, in agreement with the central committee of Rome, commissioned the company Johnson of Milan, for charity, a 'War Token' commemorating the start of the Italian war adventure.
This token, the work of the sculptor Albino Dal Castagné, which immediately had extraordinary and unexpected public favour, was struck in the three canonical coin versions of gold, silver and bronze; the bronze one was often later gilded by the buyers. Unlike the other two versions, the gold one is numbered and was struck in six distinct emissions.
The 'Bollettino Italiano di Numismatica no. 4' from 1916 (pages 62-63), with regard to these beautiful strikes, reports: "There are also rings to make it into a pendant, bracelet or chain, or a large brooch for women. You just need to send a request with relative postal order postcard to the Italian Red Cross Administration, Via Berchet 2 or to the Registration Department, Piazza della Scala 3, Milan. None of our readers should miss the small work of art, in the name of medal making and Italian war charity!"
From 'Il Gigante' catalogue.
It wa Serafino Ricci (see above) to first write about this token in the specialised press, defining it a coin-medal. Later, Nascia, without indicating any source, included this token, in its three metal variations, in a list entitled 'coin tokens and pseudo coins', indicating that it was issued in favour of the Italian Red Cross and associating it, wrongly, to the 50 Lire (the gold one), 2 Lire (silver) and 10 Centesimi (bronze) coins. These theories were later picked up by Montenegro who, however, qualifies this token as a medal coin. However, these tokens were not issued 'in favour of the Italian Red Cross', as it is the Italian Red Cross itself that commissioned them; furthermore, unquestionably, they are tokens with no link with money, of which they did not have the function, not nominally, nor in the intentions or facts.
In this regard, below we report the sequence of events that determined the confusion with regard to what this token should be called. The token was presented in 1915 by Serafino Ricci, who, as we have already seen, indicates it as a token-coin. The following year, in an article written by the newsroom of the 'Bollettino Italiano di Numismatica e di Arte della Moneta', it is described as a token-coin, medal and token-medal. Later, in the same year and in the same magazine, also in an article in the name of the editorial staff, it is indicated as a medal (in the title) and as a token-coin (in the article). Still in the same year, Ricci corrects himself and calls it medal (in the title) and token (in the article), also underlining that: "The new piece can therefore not be called a coin, as it it could not before, and cannot now, be spent, and neither is it a war coin...". It was Stefano Johnson, owner of the medal making factory that carried out its production, who definitively clarified the nature of this emission, cataloguing it as a War Token commissioned by the Italian Red Cross. As far as we are concerned, the appropriate term for this emission of the Italian Red Cross from 1915, as for the one from 1918, is definitely token, also due to the fact that the client intended the coins to be remembered in the three canonical metals.

Country/province Italy, Kingdom of Italy
Ruler Vittorio Emanuele III di Savoia (1900-1946)
Denomination Gettone-Medaglia
Year/Period and Variation in bronzo dorato - 1915 "Croce rossa italiana"
Condition Ungraded
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