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Mecklenburg - Griffin Order Commander Cross with Laurel Leaves and Swords

Mecklenburg - Griffin Order Commander Cross with Laurel Leaves and Swords

Mecklenburg - Griffin Order Commander Cross with Laurel Leaves and Swords

ITEM K-7282
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DESCRIPTion, DETaILS & Photos
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PERIOD 1870 — 1918
COUNTRY Imperial Germany
MATERIAL silver
DIMENSIONS 78 x 57 mm
MAKER
WEIGHT 35.7 g
LOT K-7282
EAN 2000000560113
LOT K-7282
PERIOD 1870 — 1918
COUNTRY Imperial Germany
EAN 2000000560113
MATERIAL silver
DIMENSIONS 78 x 57 mm
MAKER
WEIGHT 35.7 g
PERIOD 1870 — 1918
COUNTRY Imperial Germany
LOT K-7282
MATERIAL silver
DIMENSIONS 78 x 57 mm
EAN 2000000560113
MAKER
WEIGHT 35.7 g
Imperial Germany
Mecklenburg - Griffin Order Commander Cross with Laurel Leaves and Swords


Description

Cross in gilt silver and enamel.  

This prototype cross was made by Zimmermann in Pforzheim during World War I. Unlike every German state Mecklenburg had knowingly almost no order decorations with swords. The orders statues from September 15, 1884, mention that the grand cross could be awarded with swords. The Grand Duke may have felt compelled to extend honoring military personnel by creating new and more elaborate grades of the order.

The cross differs as follows from the normal commander decoration:

a) Reverse medallion with cypher FF IV for Friedrich Franz IV.

b) attached silver gilt swords through the cross center

c) laurel leaf within the crosses arms

It is extremely rare to encounter prototypes for any order decoration. Zimmermann was known to produce orders and decorations for a multitude of states before 1918 and had the means to create those very efficiently. Besides this commander cross, also Military Merit crosses are known to exist utilizing the same laurel leaf applications. The Order of the Wendish Crown was awarded with swords during WWI.


Condition
1
Historical information
Award period
1884 - 1918
OEK
Institution date
Instituted by

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.

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