Military Maria Theresia Order, Commemoration Medals, Part I

This is the second of what will be a multiple part series of blogs on the Military Maria Theresia Order. Before reading this blog you may find it worthwhile to review the first blog in this series entitled Military Maria Theresia Order. Also this blog on the commemorative medals associated with the Military Maria Theresia Order is the first of two on this subject. It will be followed by a blog which will describe the Military Maria Theresia Order, 100 Year Jubilee Medal, the Prince Alexander von Hess on Rheine, Military Maria Theresia Order, Knights Cross Commemoration Medal and the Military Maria Theresia Order Folgaria Commemoration Medal. I hope you find this first blog in the two part series interesting and informative.

The Military Maria Theresia Order was founded on June 18, 1757 and the first awards were issued on June 22, 1757. The order continued to be issued until October 3, 1931.
During the 174 year history of the order there were commemorative medals issued on five occasions. These medals were issued to commemorate notable events or personages associated with the Military Maria Theresia Order. In this blog I am going to review the first two of these medals and what they commemorated.

1. Military Maria Theresia Order Foundation Medal

The first commemoration medal associated with this order is the Military Maria Theresia Order Foundation Medal (Militär-Maria Theresien Orden Stiftungsmedaille).

1.Military Maria Theresia Order Foundation Medal, obverse, Picture from the authors photo archive

Military Maria Theresia Order Gold Foundation Medal, obverse. Image from the author’s archive.

Date Issued: This commemoration medal was established on June 18, 1757 as part of the celebration of the founding of the Military Maria Theresia Order.

Reason Issued:  The medal was to be issued as an award to notable Austrian personages upon the occasion of the establishment of the Military Maria Theresia Order.

Classes or Types:  This medal was issued in three types:

  • Gold Medal
  • Silver Medal
  • Bronze Medal

Interesting Facts: It is reported that the silver medal could be issued as a table medal or as a wearable medal while the gold and bronze medals are only known in the form of a table medal. I have not seen an example of a wearable silver medal and only know of its existence from the literature. If any reader has a reliable reference to a wearable silver medal I would be delighted to see it.

Hallmarks:  None Known

Design:  A round medal with a raised rim

Obverse:

Gold Medal (figure 1) : The busts of Maria Theresia and Franz I facing to the right with Franz in the foreground. Maria Theresia is wearing a gown while Franz I is in armor and wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece. The edge of the medal is raised and has a second fine line paralleling the rim. There is an inscription around the top two thirds of the medal inside the inner line. The inscription reads: IMP. FRANC. AUG. ET.M.THERES. AUG. (Emperor Franz King and M Theresia Queen).  Below the busts is the name of the Medalist. M.D.F. (Matthaus Donner), (note that the F stands for Fabrikat = Fabricated, thus made by Matthaus Donner).

1.Military Maria Theresia Order Foundation Medal, obverse, Picture from the authors photo archive

Figure 1: Military Maria Theresia Order Gold Foundation Medal, Obverse, Image from the authors archive.

Silver and bronze medals (figures 2 & 3 respectively) : The busts of Maria Theresia and Franz I facing to the right with Franz in the foreground. Maria Theresia is wearing a gown while Franz I is in armor and wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece. The edge of the medal is raised and has a second fine line paralleling the rim. There is an inscription around the top two thirds of the medal inside the inner line. The inscription reads: FRANC. D. G. R. I. S. A. GE. IER. R. ET. M. THER. D.G.R.I.GE.HU.BO.REG. Below the busts is the name of the Medalist. I.WURSCHBAUER (Josef Wurschbauer)

Figure 2: Military Maria Theresia Order Foundation Medal, obverse, Picture courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 2: Military Maria Theresia Order Foundation Medal, obverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Figure 3: Military Maria Theresia Order Bronze Foundation Medal, obverse, Picture from the authors photo archive

Figure 3: Military Maria Theresia Order Bronze Foundation Medal, obverse. Image from the author’s archive.

Reverse (Figures 4, 5 & 6)A standing winged, angel holding in its right hand the order badge suspended from a ribbon and in its left a palm frond. The angel stands on a field decorated with flags drums, cannon and the other trophies of war. Around the upper two– thirds of the medal and inside the fine line that parallels the rim is inscribed PRAEMIO VIRTVTI BELLICAE CONSTITVTO (Reward Virtue in War) below which is inscribed in two lines. MDCCLVII/ D. XVIII. IVN. (1757/D.18.JUN)

Military Maria Theresia Order Gold Foundation Medal, reverse, Picture from the authors photo archive

Figure 4: Military Maria Theresia Order Gold Foundation Medal, reverse. Image from the authors archive.

 

Military Maria Theresia Order Silver Foundation Medal, reverse, Picture from the authors photo archive

Figure 5: Military Maria Theresia Order Silver Foundation Medal, reverse.Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Military Maria Theresia Order Bronze Foundation Medal, reverse, Picture from the authors photo archive

Figure 6: Military Maria Theresia Order Bronze Foundation Medal, reverse. Image from the authors archive.

Weight:

  • Gold Medal: 139.6 grams
  • Silver Medal: 87 grams
  • Bronze Medal: unknown

Size: 

  • Gold Medal: 58 mm
  • Silver Medal: 58mm
  • Bronze Medal: 50 mm

Type of Material:  Gold, silver and bronze

Variations:  None known

Designer:

  • Gold Medal, obverse: Matthaus Donner
  • Silver and bronze medal, obverse : Josef Wurschbauer
  • Gold, silver and bronze medal, Reverse: Josef Anton Toda

Manufacturer: The Vienna Hauptmunzampt (The Imperil mint in Vienna)

Number Issued:  Unknown, however some notable recipients were:

  • Leopold, Count, Daun, Feldmarschall
  • Karl von Lothringen
  • Franz I Habsburg –Lorraine
  • Wenzel Anton Prinz von Kaunitz-Rietberg
  • Joseph Wenzel Prinz von Liechtenstein

Case:  Unknown

Ribbon (figure 7)For the silver medal it has been reported to have been the same as the Military Maria Theresia Order ribbon i.e. one third red, white, red

Military Maria Theresia Order ribbon, Picture from the authors photo archive

Figue 7: Military Maria Theresia Order ribbon, Image from the author’s archive.

 

2.  Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Jubilee Medal

The second commemorative medal issued was the Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Jubilee Medal (Militär-Maria Theresien Orden Erzherzog Karls Jubiläumsmedaille).  This medal was issued in 1843 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the award of the grand cross of the Military Maria Theresia Order in 1793 to Archduke Karl Ludwig Johann Josef Lorenz of Austria, Duke of Teschen.

Let me take a moment to explain why, of all the recipients of the award from its inception in 1757 to 1843, that Austria chose Archduke Karl Ludwig as the focus of this commemorative medal. Karl Ludwig the son of Emperor Leopold II and the younger brother of Franz II, the last Holy Roman Emperor (who later ruled Austria as Franz I) was born in 1771.  He began his military career as a 21 year old commander in the War of the First Coalition participating in the victory of Neerwinden for which he was decorated with the Grand Cross of the Military Maria Theresia Order.  By 1796 he was Chief of all Austrian forces on the Rhine and in 1799 led his forces to victories at Zurch, Ostrach, Stockach and Messkirch. Between this time and the war of the Fifth Coalition he reformed the Austrian Army into a modern fighting force. In the War of the Fifth coalition Karl inflicted a major defeat on Napoleon at Aspern-Essling saving Vienna. Thus Karl was at the time and is still considered to be one of Austria’s great military figures.

Date Issued: This commemoration medal was issued in 1843.

Reason Issued:  Issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the  award of the Military Maria Theresia Order, grand cross to Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria. It was presented to all living recipients of the order.

Classes or Types:  Three

  • A gold medal(Figure 8) was issued as a form of special recognition to Count Eduard Paar and to the Duke of Wellington
  • A silver medal (Figure 9) was issued to all living recipients of the order
  • A bronze medal (Figure 10) was produced for exhibition purposes only
Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Gold Jubilee Medal, obverse,Picture from the authors photo archive

Figure 8: Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Gold Jubilee Medal, obverse. Image from the author’s archive.

 

Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Silver Jubilee Medal, obverse, Picture from the authors photo archive

Figure 9: Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Silver Jubilee Medal, obverse.Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Bronze Jubilee Medal, obverse, Picture from the authors photo archive

Figure 10: Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Bronze Jubilee Medal, obverse. Image from the author’s archive.

Interesting Facts: Official medals were named on the rim (See Figure 11)

Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Silver Jubilee Medal, edge inscription, picture courtesy of eMedals

Figure 11: Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Silver Jubilee Medal, edge inscription. Image courtesy of eMedals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallmarks:  None known

Design:  A round medal

Obverse (Figure 12): The bust of Karl Ludwig von Habsburg, facing to the viewers left, in a field marshal’s uniform and wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Order of Maria Theresia grand cross star. The bust is in high relief and the edge of the medal is raised. Around the bust is inscribed, KARL LUDWIG ERZHERZOG VON OESTERREICH. (Karl Ludwig Archduke of Austria). Below the bust is inscribed in smaller letters GEB.V.SEPT.MDCCLXXI. (Born in September 1771). On the shoulder of the bust is inscribed the name of the medalist: I.D. BOEHM F (Josef Daniel Bohm), (note that the F stands for Fabrikat = Fabricated Thus fabricated by Josef Bohm)

Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Silver Jubilee Medal, obverse, Picture from the authors photo archive

Figure 12: Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Silver Jubilee Medal, obverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Reverse (Figure 13)A wreath composed of oak boughs crossed at the bottom and tied with a ribbon which forms a bow.  In the center of the wreath is a grand cross star of the Military Order of Maria Theresia.  There is an inscription filling the space between the wreath and the raised edge of the upper half of the medal.  It reads FUNFZIGJARIG GEDAECHTNISSFEIER  (Fifty Year Commemoration) at the bottom of the medal is inscribed MDCCCXLIII. (1843).

Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Gold Jubilee Medal, reverse, picture from the authors photo archive

Figure 13: Military Maria Theresia Order Archduke Karl Gold Jubilee Medal, reverse. Image from the author’s archive.

Weight:

  • Gold Medal: Unknown
  • Silver Medal: 80 grams
  • Bronze Medal: Unknown

Size: 

  • Gold Medal : 52 mm in diameter
  • Silver Medal: 52 mm in diameter
  • Bronze Medal: Unknown

Type of Material: Silver, gold, bronze

Variations:  None known

Designer: Joseph Daniel Boehm

Manufacturer: The Vienna Hauptmunzampt (The Imperil mint in Vienna)

Number Issued:  Unknown

Some known recipients were:

Gold Medal

  • Generaloberst Eduard Graf Paar
  • The Duke of Wellington

Silver Medal

  • Feldmarschall Ignaz Freiherrn von Lederer
  • Admiral Retsey von Retse
  • General Sir James MacDonnell, G.C.B., K.M.T., K.C.H., Coldstream Guards
  • Archduke Karl von Habsburg
  • Johann von Hapsburg, Archduke, General of Cavalry

Case:Unknown

I hope you have enjoyed this discussion of the commemorative medals associated with the Military Maria Theresia Order. Part II of this discussion will be posted soon

4 Comments
  1. Interesting. Apart from your notes on the silver version of the Foundation Medal, are these all ‘table’ medals rather than wearable ones?

  2. Megan, yes all of the medals described above other than the Silver Foundation Medal were table medals. And even in the case of the Silver Foundation Medal I do not have absolute verification that it was issued as a wearable medal. There are reports of this in the literature but I have never seen a wearable example so consider the report of a silver wearable medal as a possibility but not a verified fact.

  3. Hi,I have just received this medallion as a donation to our charity. I would appreciate your thoughts as to its value please.

    • M. Boyde, I am unable to make any judgement about the item you shared because the picture is not clear enough to be assured of identifying the item correctly on my part. If you can provide a high quality clear picture of the item I will endeavor to identify it and if I have data on past sales of the item will share that with you. Thank you for your inquiry and if you can provide a clear picture I will do what I can to assist you.

      Rick

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