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Honor Cross of the Mecklenburg Griffin Order, silver gilded from the production of H. Rose in Schwerin. The cross arms under the translucent red enamel are finely cut by hand, the griffin in the medallion attached separately.
The Order of the Griffins was initially founded in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin by Grand Duke Friedrich Franz III only, as the Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Mecklenburg-Strelitz initially refused to join this endeavor. However, the Griffin Order was finally adopted in Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1904.
Only 15 of a total of 82 honor crosses were delivered by Rose to the Mecklenburg-Strelitz Order Chancellery; Mecklenburg-Schwerin awarded about 378 honor crosses with an estimated return rate of 53.7% making it a rare officers cross.
Grand Duke Friedrich Franz III. of Mecklenburg Schwerin notified Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Mecklenburg Strelitz in a letter dated June 10, 1884 about his plan to follow through with his father’s idea to create a new order to fulfill the need for awards to foreigners, the Griffin Order. He posed the question to whether he would follow suit to issue this order in unison with the house of Schwerin. Friedrich Wilhelm denied on June 23, 1884. Schwerin however created the order on September 15, 1884.
The order was finally adopted in Strelitz 20 years later on August 22/23 1904. The order could be awarded by either state or as a joined award. The order consisted of four grades, Grand Cross, Grand Commander and Commander Cross, Honor Cross, Knight Cross.
The Grand Cross could be awarded with swords for war merit as well as with diamonds. It could also be awarded with diamonds just as the commander cross. Awards of this kind are not known. The star of the grand cross was initially to be worn on the right chest but was moved to the left chest in 1902. The knight cross could be awarded with crown from 1904 on. The Cross is a Maltese cross in red enamel with a round center showing a griffin looking to the left. The star is either a silver eight (grand cross) or four-pointed one (grand commander) with a round center consisting of an outer wreath showing the golden motto over red enamel: ”Altor Adversis” (exalted over adversity) over a golden laurel leaf with a golden griffin in the center looking to the left.