Tyrolean 1797 Commemoration and Merit Decoration

Figure 1: Tyrolean Commemoration and Merit Decoration in silver. Image from the author’s archive.

Introduction:

In this blog I am going to discuss the Tyrolean Commemoration and Merit Decoration (Tiroler Errinerungs und Verdienstdekoration). This decoration was issued by Emperor Franz II in 1797 to reward those Tirolean’s who took up arms in support of the Austrian army and who displayed exceptional bravery or merit in successfully defending the Tirol against the French.

Decoration Numismatics:

Date Issued:  July 9, 1797

Reason Issued: Issued by Emperor Franz II in 1797 to reward those Tirolean’s who took up arms in support of the Austrian army and who displayed exceptional bravery or merit in successfully defending the Tirol against the French.

Figure 2: Tyrolean Commemoration and Merit Decoration in gold, obverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Classes or Types:  Three

  • Large Gold Medal
  • Gold Medal
  • Silver Medal

Interesting Facts:

  • Receipt of this Decoration exempted the recipient or his wife and children in the case of his death from taxes
  • The large gold medals were unusually thick
  • Only 3 of the large gold medals are known to exist
  • The large gold medals were reserved for Corp commanders
  • In 1800 the large gold medal was awarded to the Royal and Imperial General Quartermaster, Feldzeugmeister (General ), Johann Gabrial, Marquis von Chastler De Courcelles
  • The gold medal was awarded to officers and the silver medals to all other military personnel

Hallmarks:  None Known

Design:  A round medal with a raised rim and a large flat attached circular suspension eye at the top

Figure 3: Tyrolean Commemoration and Merit Decoration in silver, obverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Obverse (Figure 3):  Inside a raised rim is the bust of Emperor Franz II, facing to the viewers right, with long flowing hair and a laurel wreath on his head. Around the edge of the medal is an inscription which reads: FRANZ.II. R. K. ERZH. ZU. OEST. GEF. GRAF. VON. TYROL. Translation: Franz II Roman Emperor, Archduke of Austria, Prince, Count of Tyrol. Below the bust is inscribed the name of the medalist I.N. Wirt F. (The F is not part of the signature of the medalist but stands for Fabrikat: manufactured)

Figure 4: Tyrolean Commemoration and Merit Decoration in gold, reverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Reverse (Figure 4):  A laurel wreath tied at the bottom with a slender bow. Inside the wreath in six lines is inscribed: DEN/ TAPFEREN/ VERTHEIDIGERN/ DES/ VATERLANDES/ MDCCXCVII. Translation: The/courageous/defenders/of the fatherland / 1797.

Weight:

  • Large Gold Medal = 35 grams (10 Ducats)
  • Gold Medal = 21 grams (6 Ducats)
  • Silver Medal = 18 grams

Size:

  • Large Gold Medal = 39 mm in diameter
  • Gold Medal = 35 mm in diameter
  • Silver Medal = 39 mm in diameter

Type of Material:  Gold and Silver

Variations:  None known

Designer: Johann Nepomuk Wirt

Number Issued: 

  • Large Gold Medal = 3
  • Gold Medal = Unknown
  • Silver Medal = Unknown

Case:  Unknown

Figure 5: Tyrolean Commemoration and Merit Decoration ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

Ribbon: a 30-40 mm wide golden-yellow ribbon with three 1 mm wide black stripes which are 5 mm apart.  The ribbon also has a 1 mm golden yellow edge.

Attachments:  None

Miniature:  None known

I hope you have enjoyed the description of this Napoleonic era Austrian Medal. Until next time I hope you find continued pleasure in our area of shared interest.

Rick

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