Saturday, July 07, 2012

Arnaud's framed photos on eBay

Two weeks ago, when I was in the midst of my discoveries about Joe Liebman and his descendants, I came a most surprising item up for bid on eBay. It was described as "Moulieur Arnaud Clerc Wristwatches Founder Photo Framed Reprint Store Decoration," and it showed an image of the items, which was clearly a set of three framed photographs of our Arnaud, including one shaking hands with Charles de Gaulle.

I mentioned the find and shared the photo in this item, but was intentionally cryptic about the source of the information because I hoped to buy the lot on eBay and didn't want to alert any competitive bidders. I'm happy to say that I won the auction for the minimum bid of $13 (plus shipping), and that the packaged arrived here yesterday.

They turned out to be pretty much what I expected and they do not provide any significant new information. However, it is a pleasure to hold these items in my hand that once hung in one of the Clerc stores. It is more than remarkable that they should have come up for auction at the very time I was seeking information about the Liebman-Clercs.

Here is the first item with comments. I'll share the other two images in the next post.

The other two images are framed original photos, but this is a photocopy of a collage of items. The collage includes a certificate proclaiming Arnaud Clerc as an honorary member of Monaco's Carabiniere du Prince, the principality's palace guard. The certificate is half covered by the photos at bottom. Here is an English translation of the legible part:
First Colonel Aide de Camp of H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, and Superiour Commander of the Police Force has the honor to inform Monsieur Arnaud Clerc ... offered by the officers, the non-commissioned officers, Campania to the Prince's Guard
At top is the insignia of the military unit. For more information on the Carbiniere du Prince, see the Wikipedia entry here. The other collage images are of the medal he evidently received and two photos of the occasion. The medal has an image of the crown prince of Monaco, with the lettering "Ranier III Prince de Monaco."

On the right, he is having the medal pinned to his chest by the company commandant. At right, he is enjoying a cigarette after the ceremony with Prince Ranier himself. And that is Princess Grace (formerly the actress Grace Kelly) standing in the background. For comparison, here is a photo of the prince and princess at the time of their engagement in 1956.

One point of interest is the military cap Arnaud is wearing. I am no expert on these things, but that looks to me like an American-style cap. We do know that Arnaud served in the U.S. Army (though he probably did not see any action), and also that he was active in an American veteran's organization in Paris. From the Wikipedia article, we learn that "Monaco['s] is one of the only militaries [in the world] that recruits foreigners."

So if I am right, isn't it interesting that Arnaud wears some of his American military regalia on the big day when he goes to receive a high honor from the government of Monaco?

One last point. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out what was meant by the word "Moulieur" in the eBay item description. Now that I have the item, I see that the certificate identifies the recipient as Monsieur Arnaud Clerc and that the mystery word must have been introduced in error by the eBay seller.

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