Erik Kwakkel, a medieval book historian at Leiden University, unearthed this old envelope in a box of archival remainders — in other words, very old scraps. The envelope is 19th century rather than medieval like the other papers in the box, and originally contained a medal presented by Napoleon III (who ruled France from 1852 – 1870) to an old soldier who served in the army of that other, more famous Napoleon during the wars that engulfed Europe during the early 1800s.
Erik wrote: “The envelope is really not supposed to exist anymore: it is a miracle that it was not thrown out. I like to think it was received with a shout of surprise, opened up and put aside, while the medal was fixed to the recipient’s coat.”
How it ended up in a box of medieval scrap paper is anyone’s guess, but thank you, Erik, for finding it and sharing it on your blog. Read more about Erik’s find here.