Red Cross Decoration, Part IV

Figure 1: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class, Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 1: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class, Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Introduction:

In this blog I am going to discuss the Red Cross Decoration (Ehrenzeichen vom Roten Kreuz), second class with and without war decoration in some detail. Readers may wish to review the previous blogs I have published on the Red Cross Merit Star, Red Cross Decoration first class and the Red Cross Decoration, officer cross prior to reading this one. The previous blog titles are Red Cross Decoration; Part I, Part II and Part III. Reading this blog may help to place this discussion in context.

Decoration Numismatics:

Date Issued:  This decoration was authorized on August 22, 1914 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the ratification of the Geneva Convention in 1864 and was issued until 1923.

Reason Issued:  This decoration was issued for meritorious service in support of the Red Cross, in time of war.  The insignia with war decoration was an award for actions in support of the humane efforts of the Red Cross.  The insignia without war decoration were issued for significant donations to the Red Cross in support of the war effort. The class of the decoration received was determined for those with war decoration by the rank of the recipient and for those without war decoration by the amount of the donation.

Classes:  The Red Cross decoration was originally issued in three classes with the Officer Class added in 1915 to make the decoration a 4 class award.

  • Red Cross Merit Star with and without war decoration
  • Red Cross Decoration First Class with and without war decoration
  • Red Cross Officer Cross with war decoration (July 22, 1915-1918)
  • Red Cross Decoration Second Class with and without war decoration

Interesting Facts:

  • Emperor Franz Joseph was the Proprietor of the Red Cross and thus of the decoration
  • The second class decoration could be authorized by the Acting Patron of the Red Cross: General of Cavalry Archduke Franz Salvator von Habsburg
  • The awards without war decoration were given to recognize a donation to the Red Cross in support of the war effort. The Red Cross Decoration Second Class was issued for a contribution of 100 Krona total or 50 Krona per year
  • Award Diplomas for the second class decoration were signed by the Acting Patron: General of Cavalry Archduke Franz Salvator von Habsburg.
  • Recipients of the Red Cross Decoration second class with war decoration were usually volunteer health workers, members of the Red Cross, or staff of the War Medical Bureau.

Hallmarks: 

  • The Vinc Mayor and Sons hallmark
  • The 1872-1922, 900 fine silver hallmark
  • The hallmark of the Vienna Assay Office
  • The Rothe & Neffe hallmark
  • The 1872– 1922, 800 fine silver hallmark
  • The hallmark of G.A. Scheid

Design: A silver and enamel Latin cross

Figure 1: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class, Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 1: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class, obverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

 

Obverse

Red Cross Decoration second class with war decoration (Figure 1): A silver Latin cross with chased edges.  Inside the edge of the cross is a 2 mm wide band of opaque white enamel.  Inside the white portion of the cross is the body of the cross, which is enameled transparent red.  A fine chased line of silver separates the white and red portions of the cross.  In the center of the cross is a circle of silver edged transparent red enamel in which is inscribed in silver letters PATRIAE AC HVMANITATI (Patriotism and Humanity).  Inside the circle is a silver edged transparent red enameled Geneva cross on a white opaque enameled background.  Attached to the arms of the cross is an enameled wreath.  It is composed of oak leaves on the viewers left and laurel on the right.  The wreath is tied at the bottom with a silver bow.  The wreath is enameled transparent green with red berries.

Figure 2: Red Cross Decoration, second class, Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 2: Red Cross Decoration, second class, obverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Red Cross Decoration, Second Class (Figure 2): A silver Latin cross with chased edges.  Inside the edge of the cross is a 2 mm wide band of opaque white enamel.  Inside the white portion of the cross is the body of the cross, which is enameled transparent red.  A fine chased line of silver separates the white and red portions of the cross.  In the center of the cross is a silver edged circle of transparent red enamel in which is inscribed in silver letters PATRIAE AC HVMANITATI (Patriotism and Humanity).  Inside the circle is a transparent silver edged red enameled Geneva cross on a white opaque enameled background.   The eye at the top of the cross is a stylized wedge.

Figure 3: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class, reverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 3: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class, reverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Reverse:

Red Cross Decoration, Second Class with war decoration (Figure 3): A silver Latin cross with chased edges.  Inside the edge of the cross is a 2 mm wide band of opaque white enamel.  Inside the white portion of the cross is the body of the cross, which is enameled transparent red.  A fine chased line of silver separates the white and red portions of the cross.  In the center of the cross is a silver edged circle of transparent red enamel with a 10 mm white enameled center medallion within which are the dates 1864 and 1914 in silver, one above the other. Applied to the obverse arms of the cross is a wreath the reverse of which is plain silver.

Figure 4: Red Cross Decoration, second class, reverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Figure 4: Red Cross Decoration, second class, reverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum

Red Cross Decoration, Second Class (Figure 4): A silver Latin cross with chased edges.  Inside the edge of the cross is a 2 mm wide band of opaque white enamel.  Inside the white portion of the cross is the body of the cross, which is enameled transparent red.  A fine chased line of silver separates the white and red portions of the cross.  In the center of the cross is a silver edged circle of transparent red enamel with a 10 mm white enameled center medallion on which are the dates 1864 and 1914 in silver, one above the other.

Weight:

  • Red Cross Decoration Second Class with war decoration = 21 grams
  • Red Cross Decoration Second Class = 20 grams

Size:

  • Red Cross Decoration Second Class with war decoration = 45 mm in height and 37 mm in width not including the attached eye.
  • Red Cross Second Class = 45 mm in height and 37 mm in width not including the attached eye.

Type of Material: Silver and enamel

Manufacturer:

  • Vinc Mayor and sons
  • Georg Adam Scheid
  • Christian Friedrich Rothe and Neffe

Variations: There are no known variations.

Number Issued:

  • Red Cross Decoration Second Class with war decoration = Unknown
  • Red Cross Decoration Second Class = Unknown
Figure 6: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration second class case. Image from the author's archive

Figure 6: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration second class mens case, exterior. Image from the author’s archive

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Figure 7: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class case interior. Image from Pinterest

Figure 7: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class mens case interior. Image from Pinterest

Figure 8: Red Cross Decoration, second class case interior. Image from the author's archive

Figure 8: Red Cross Decoration, second class mens case interior. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 9: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration second class as awarded to women case. Image from the author's archive

Figure 9: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration second class as awarded to women case exterior. Image from the author’s archive

Figure 10: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class case interior, as awarded to women. Image from author's archive

Figure 10: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class case interior, as awarded to women. Image from author’s archive

Case (Figure 6-10): Cases are rectangular for men and square for women and are red simulated leather or red cloth covered on the top and sepia on the bottom. They are fitted inside with a plush simulated velvet interior which may be either black or white. The interior of the lid is white satin and often has the maker’s logo. They have embossed decorations on the top which are gilt filled and also have an inscription: (Patriae/ ac /Humanitati/ 1864-1914). Translation: Patriotism and humanity 1864-1914. Those for second class badges with the war decoration also have the letters K.D. in gold below the inscription.

Figure 11: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class on tri-fold ribbon as awarded to men. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 11: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class on tri-fold ribbon as awarded to men. Image from the author’s archive.

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Figure 12: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class on bow as awarded to women. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 12: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class on bow as awarded to women. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 13: The small rectangular chest ribbon for this decoration sometimes issued with small attachments to indicate specific awards which was introduced in October 27,1917. Image form the author's archive.

Figure 13: The small rectangular ribbon for this decoration sometimes issued with small attachments to indicate specific awards which was introduced in October 27,1917. Image form the author’s archive.

Ribbon: Red Cross Decoration Second Class = The men’s decoration was suspended from a 37 or 40 mm wide white tri-fold ribbon with two 3 mm wide red stripes, which are 3 mm from the edge of the ribbon and 3 mm apart (Figure 11).  The woman’s ribbon is the same size but is in the form of a bow (Figure 12). In addition a small rectangular ribbon for this decoration sometimes issued with a small attachments to indicate the class of the award or that it was issued with war decoration was introduced in October 27, 1917 (Figure 13).

Figure 14: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration,second class, miniature. Image form the author's archive.

Figure 14: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration,second class, miniature. Image form the author’s archive.

Figure 15: Red Cross Decoration,second class, miniature. Image form the author's archive.

Figure 15: Red Cross Decoration,second class, miniature. Image form the author’s archive.

Miniature (Figures 14&15): There are a wide range of miniatures of this decoration

Some notable recipients of the Red Cross Decoration second class:

  • The first award of the Red Cross Decoration second class without war decoration was on September 10, 1914
  • The first woman to receive the award was Anna Tamesy de Fogaras, the wife of a Lieutenant General on September 10, 1914
  • The first man to receive the award was Dr. Heinrich Hoffling on September 10, 1914
  • Another notable recipient was Dr. Leon Ritter von Bilinski the Minister of Finance

Recipients of the Red Cross Decoration second class with war decoration

  • The first award of the Red Cross Decoration second class decoration with war decoration was on November 16, 1914
  • The first recipients of the award were Dr. Heinrich Kolacny, Commander of the Reserve Hospital 2/5 and Dr. Artur Man of Hospital 15

Award Certificates: These decorations were accompanied by an award certificate (Figures 16 and 17)

Figure 16: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class. From the author's archive.

Figure 16: Red Cross Decoration with war decoration, second class certificate. From the author’s archive.

Figure 17: Red Cross Decoration, second class certificate. From the author's archive.

Figure 17: Red Cross Decoration, second class certificate. From the author’s archive.

 

Figure 18: A Military Chaplain wearing the Red Cross Decoration Second Class with war decoration. Form the author's archive.

Figure 18: A Military Chaplain wearing the Red Cross Decoration Second Class with war decoration. Form the author’s archive.

 

Figure 19: Medal Bar with ten awards including the Red Cross Decoration, second class with war decoration. Image from the author's archive.

Figure 19: Medal Bar with ten awards including the Red Cross Decoration, second class with war decoration. Image from the author’s archive.

I hope you enjoyed this discussion. Soon I will describe the Red Cross Merit Medals

Rick

 

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