Order of the Legion of Honor / Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur

Orders & Medals Society of America Forums French Medal Collecting French Orders post-1870 Order of the Legion of Honor / Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur

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    The Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur / Order of the Legion of Honor is France’s highest award.

    It has been instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte on 29 Floreal an X (19 May 1802). It has been established as a national order open to both officers and soldiers, and civilians, for outstanding services.

    The insigna itself has only been created on 1st July 1804, with a 5 arms, 10 pointed star, the star of conquerors. The badge did not change a lot in more than 200 years, even if each French political regime more or less modified it until 1870. The actual insigna of the Legion d’Honneur is very close to the one chosen in 1870, with the end of the Second Empire (Napoleon III) and the institution of the 3rd French Republic. Most books or websites describe these changes, and the OMSA Medal Database contains a lot of nice pics…

    Only 4 classes existed at the beginning : Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandants (Commander), Grand-Officier (Grand-Officer). The higher class, "Grande-Décoration" (also called "Grand-Aigle") has been established on 30 January 1805. It now corresponds to the Grand-Croix (Grand Cross). On 1st March 1808, Napoleon I re-established nobility in France (Noblesse d’Empire), and the recipients of the Légion d’Honneur became Knights.

    Napoleon III is the first having decorated women, and artists (writers, authors, theatre players…). A new Code of the Légion d’Honneur has been implemented by General de Gaulle on 28 November 1962, and it is still in use. It limits the number of Legion d’Honneur members : 75 Grand-Crosses, 250 Grand-Officers, 1250 Commanders, 10,000 Officers and 113,425 Knights.

    Attached is a pic of an insignia of Knight of the Légion d’Honneur – 5th French Republic (actual).


    Pic : Ed Haynes – OMSA Medal Database.

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    You can find the complete code of the Légion d’Honneur, Médaille Militaire and Ordre National du Mérite, here :

    viewtopic.php?f=44&t=228 (post #2)

    or directly here :

    http://www.legiondhonneur.fr/shared/fr/ … ation.html




    Could any collector help me identify what type of legion of honour and period this medal is?

    Kind Regards
    Matthew Tredwen
    The Fallen Eagle Militaria

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    Your Knight class of the LOH dates from 2nd Republic (1848-51). It is proper for this type to lack the crown suspension.
    Hope this helps,
    Kris Johnston,



    Three documents from my collection from the 2nd Empire.

    1. Knight:

    2. Commander (2 documents whit the same name):

    I have no decorations for this documents. But I hope to buy them next year.

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    Hello All,
    I picked up a cased French Legion of Honor, that has a type of ribbon I haven’t seen before. It is very similar, in color and size, to a German Braunschweig ribbon, OEK #145. It is 39mm wide, and has a European looking black painted safety pin at the top. Before I rip it off and replace it with an all red ribbon, is this a correct French ribbon? The red replacement ribbon I got from the ribbon bank is 38mm wide. Thank you, Richard Strotjost

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    The ribbon looks very similar to the ‘Order of St. Ferdinand’ – Spain.

    Hope this helps.


    Paul H.


    jim barker

    It could be the ribbon from the Order of the Dragon of Annam (French Indochina) or the Veitnam National Order.


    jb floyd

    Or Vatican Order of St. Gregory the Great.



    However Jim’s suggestion has the greatest (only?) logic behind it. It could also be the Sena Ram Sahstri from Dewas (Senior). But, you know, somehow I doubt that.


    Frank Dutil

    Just to make things CRYSTAL CLEAR Richard.

    It is DEFINITELY NOT the proper ribbon. Go ahead and change it. At no time in its entire history did the Légion d’Honneur have a ribbon like that.



    Hallo Frank,

    Quite right!!!


    Paul H.



    I am a new OMSA member, I am french and of course french medal collector.
    First forgive me for the fault that I made in english, I confirm what have been told previously the ribbon is wrong (from the order of the Annam dragoon, colonial period, but as it looks perfect I think that it is an new one).
    Do not hesitate to change it with a proper one, I collect Legion d’Honneur and in 20 years I never see one with un proper ribbon, its re ribbon is as famous as the medal itself

    If you have some identification or questions on medals you own, do not hesitate I will do my best to help you



    Good afternoon all,

    Recently I have bought a document and a Legion d’Honneur. In the document somebody is named that he was awarded the knights class.
    The document is dated 1857:

    Now I have also a Knights class of the Legion d’Honneur. Does somebody knows of this order is of the same time period as the document?

    The order:

    The order came in a dark brown box with LEGION D’HONNEUR / CHEVALIER in 2 lines on the top.

    And what means the black line on the ribbon? And the button, is that a private made suspension?

    Many Thanks in advance.

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    to bad, I just heared it is a version of the 3rd republic (1870).

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