Bill Myers published a short piece in the May 8, 2023 MPC Gram about an interesting defaced coin.
I was rummaging through a junk box of coins and found an aluminum Vichy 1942 1 franc coin (K902.1, SB126a1) that was very worn and damaged. The junk box should have been its final resting place, but I rescued it and took it home. It was the damage that caught my eye. Someone has taken a sharp edge object like a chisel and placed grooves around the top of the double headed ax in the form of a square and a vertical line and an X inside the square.
To me it is obvious the marks were to deface the Vichy symbol. I wondered when this was done. The coin shows significant wear, and the grooves are stained black and the edges of the grooves are rounded. I feel the coin circulated after the grooves were stamped into the coin due to the wear. This have could have been done during World War II but would not have been something I would think would be smart to carry or spend this coin. It did not take much to get a visit by the Gestapo. I feel it was done after the liberation of France. France started minting coins without the Vichy ax in 1944 but until they circulated the Vichy coins would have to be used. By defacing the Vichy ax may have made the coin more acceptable.
The wear on the edges of the grooves shows that the coin circulated for a significant time after the grooves were punched into the coin. I cannot verify this is what happened to the coin but I feel it is a reasonable explanation. This coin has found its way into my collection.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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