Slide Show of Heymann Objects Discovered at the Musée de Cluny

Dr. Alfred and Madame Heymann evidently had a close relationship with this particular museum in Paris. The largest portion of the Madame Heymann Collection, especially all the early eyeglass cases and eyeglasses, was bequeathed in 1925 after her death (to become n° inventory Cl. 21022 to Cl. 21095). However in 1988 everything but inv. Cl. 21095, the 16th century jeton, was transferred to the Musée National de la Renaissance. The jeton is by itself a world class object, because it is one of only two in existence.

Originating in France, jetons, or rechenpfennigs in German, were used for accounting purposes on a board. Later they were also used in games and acquired the value of chits. One of the oldest jetons depicting spectacles was reproduced by Rouyer. This was illustrated or photographed by him in his 1901 publication. He apparently did not make physical reproductions but may have made a plaster cast of it. This was a common practice by numismatic scholars at that time. This same specimen was also published by von Pflugk in 1921 who stated in his description that it was in the Verchaly Collection in Angers, France.

Jetons were not found in the Brettauer Collection in Vienna or in von Pflugk's Collection now in the Zeiss Museum in Jena. They are also not represented in the British Optical Museum Collection in London. One may possibly be in the Bibliotec National Collection in Paris but if so it is an uncatalogued jeton.

French jetons from the 16th century showing spectacles are very, very rare. The Cluny piece indeed looks like an original jeton and it matches item 4 in Heymann's book of 1911, plate #13. This example was rediscovered in storage at the Musee Cluny in Paris in 2008. Specimen Cl. 21095 also does not quite match the one depicted in the von Pflugk article.

(Move your mouse over any of the pictures below to see a larger image.)


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