Honor Medal, 1805-1809

Figure 1: 1805-1809 Silver Honer Medal, obverse: Image from the author’s archive.

Introduction:

In this blog I am going to discuss the 1805-1809 Honor Medal (Ehren Medaille). This was the fifth and sixth medals issued by the Austrian Empire specifically as a bravery medal. In this and subsequent blogs I am going to take the reader through the evolution of the bravery medals from the first one issued in 1789-1790 by the authority of Emperor Joseph II (see previous blogs) to the last of this type of medal issued in 1917-1922 by Emperor Karl I.

Decoration Numismatics:

Date Issued:  1805 – 1809

Reason Issued:  As a reward for Acts of bravery or gallantry in time of war by non-commissioned officers and soldiers who were not otherwise eligible for the Order of Maria Theresia

Classes or Types:  Two

  • Gold Bravery Medal
  • Silver Bravery Medal

Interesting Facts:

  • Issued for the war with France from 1804 until the treaty of Vienna on October 14, 1809
  • Often called by Austrians the soldiers Maria Theresia Order
  • When this medal was issued the regulations were changed so that recipients could no longer wear multiple awards but only the highest award received. Thus gold medal winners who had also won the silver medal could only wear the gold medal.
  • The name was changed to Bravery Medal in 1810
  • From 1789 to 1918 there were 30 different versions of the bravery medal. This is version 5 and 6
  • This decoration in all of its variations was up to the issuance of the Karl Troop Cross in 1916 the most issued decoration in the armed forces

Hallmarks:  None Known

Design:  A round medal with an attached round flat suspension eye.

Obverse (Figure 1): Inside of a raised edge is the bust of Emperor Franz II with long flowing hair facing to the right, with a laurel wreath on his head. Around the bust is inscribed: FRANZ KAISER VON OESTERREICH. Below the bust is inscribed I. Harnisch. F. (the F is not part of the signature of the medalist but rather stands for fabrikat or in English fabricated).

Figure 2: 1805-1809 Gold Honer Medal, reverse: Image from the author’s archive.

Reverse (Figure 2):  Inside a raised rim is a laurel wreath which is tied at the bottom with a bow. The wreath is superimposed on a stand of six crossed flags. Within the wreath in a space above the flags is an inscription in two lines: DER/TAPFERKEIT. (For bravery)

Weight:

  • Gold Medal = 8 Ducats (28 grams)
  • Silver Medal = 17 grams

Size:  40 mm for both medals

Type of Material:  Gold and Silver

Variations:  None known

Designer:

  • Obverse, Johann Harnisch
  • Reverse, Johann Nepomuck Wirt

Manufacturer: Hauptmunzamt Wien (Imperial Mint Vienna)

Number Issued:  Unknown

Case:  Unknown

Figure 3: The War Ribbon from which all awards of this decoration were suspended . Image from the author’s archive.

Ribbon: A 40 mm wide dark rose-red and white laddered ribbon with a 21 mm horizontal striped center portion and 4.5 mm red side stripes and 5 mm wide white edge stripes

Figure 4: An unofficial clasp which could be worn on the 1805-1809 Honor Medal. Image from the author’s archive.

Attachments:  A rectangular gold clasp with oak leaf borders on the top and bottom. Inside of a raised edge at the top and bottom is frame of laurel inside of which is a raised image of Emperor Franz I with long flowing hair and a laurel wreath on his head facing to the viewers right. These clasps were unofficial and were worn based on the personal taste and preferences of the recipient.

Miniature:  None known

I hope you have enjoyed this publication and look forward to sharing again with you in the near future

Rick

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