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The cross is made from silver and enamel. Medallion and swords are gilded. A beautiful cross of highest possible marksmanship by Scharffenberg in Dresden. The cross is marked as such on the 3 lower cross arm edges: “Scharffenberg”, “S” and “Dresden”. The “S” mark indicates the decorations being made from gilded silver instead of gold.
11081 crosses in gilded silver were awarded during WWI. Only 18 golden awards were made beforehand during colonial times.
December 31, 1850, the Abert Order was created by King Friedrich August of Saxony. The main purpose of establishing the Albert Order was to honor those partaking in the revolts of 1848/49. Everybody that served meritorious, virtuous in civilian life, in science and art was eligible to receive this order. The order was named after Albert the Courageous as founder of the Albertinian Line from the House of Wettin to honor his death anniversary of 350 years.
Initially, there were five classes: a) Grand Cross (Großkreuz), Commander Cross 1st Class (Komturkreuz 1. Klasse), Commander Cross 2nd Class (Komturkreuz 2. Klasse), Knight Cross (Ritterkreuz) and Small Cross (Kleinkreuz). Those classes provided the basis for a series of changes made over the whole existence of this order. The cross was designed as a christian cross in gold with white enamel showing a oak leaf wreath through the arms of the cross and surmounted by a crown in case of Grand Cross and Commander. The Medallion is white enameled with the bust of the former ruler (two types) and encircled by a golden blue enameled ring showing the orders motto: “Albertus Animosus” terminated on the bottom with a floral agraf. The reverse medaillon is white enameled as well with the saxon coat of arms attached. The blue medallion ring shows a floral design being terminated on the bottom with the year of its foundation: 1850. The four (Grand Commander) and eight (grand cross) pointed star shows the same medaillon in the middle as the cross.
On March 18, 1858, the Small Cross was renamed to Honour Cross (Ehrenkreuz). On March 26, 1861 the gold and the silver Albert Medal (Verdienstmedaille) was added. In conjunction with the war of 1866 swords were added on 29th of October. On December 9, 1870 the Swords on Ring followed for those a) receiving a decoration with swords to an already received identical class without swords or b) those that received a civil upgrade to an existing military award (for example a) being awarded a knight cross with swords to an existing knight cross without swords or b) being awarded a Commander Cross 2nd Class without swords over a knight cross with swords).
Finally on January 26, 1875, it became apparent that the Albert Order had been awarded for 25 years with the wrong ancestral bust and was corrected quietly. Instead of Albert the Courageous Johan the Consistent had been shown by mistake, worse, being even from the Ernestine lineage.
1876, possibly based on the above mentioned mistake, the statues of the order were extensively overhauled. On February 2, 1876, the Knights Cross was split into two classes, the knight cross 1st class and the knight cross 2nd class. Further, the Honor Cross was abandoned and could be traded for the newly created knight cross 2nd class. In addition the golden and silver Albert medal were dropped from the lineup and no longer awarded; recipients of the golden medal were allowed to trade for the newly created Albert Cross (Albrechtskreuz). All classes would be awarded with and without swords from now on.
From April 30, 1883, on, the golden star to the Grand Cross was added and awarded on the sash of the House Order of the Crown of Rue framed in two white stripes. This was changed on April 21, 1893, when the golden star could be awarded on special occasions on the regular Albert Order sash.
Already June 11, 1890, the Officers Cross (Offizierskreuz) was added, ranking between the Knight Cross 1st class and the Commander Cross 2nd class, followed by the establishment of the Knight Cross 1st Class with golden Crown on July 26, 1901.
The Silver Crown was added to the golden star of the Grand Cross on August 24, 1903, creating the highest grade of the Albert Order.
On January 18, 1907, clarity was finally given to the Swords on Ring. Saxony followed the mainstream rule, when Swords on Ring were shown upgrading an existing military decoration with swords to the next higher class awarded for civil merit without swords.