Figure 1: Forty Year Faithful Service Medal. Image form the author’s archive.

Introduction:

On August 18, 1898 occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the rule of the Emperor Franz Joseph I, a medal was established to honor those civilians who had labored forty years for one employer or those military personnel who had served forty years in the armed forces.  What follows is a description of that medal.

Date Issued: This decoration was issued from August 18, 1898 until the fall of the empire in 1918.

Reason Issued:  To honor, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the rule of the Emperor Franz Joseph I, those civilians who had labored forty years for one employer or those military personnel who had served forty years in the armed forces.  In all cases the service had to be continuous.  The award was issued without regard for rank, status or gender to all who had served faithfully and satisfactorily.  The medal for military personnel was awarded to all service personnel including military officials, physicians, clergy and the faculty of the military academies.

Classes or Types: This decoration was issued in two Types:

  • Forty Year Faithful Service Decoration for civilians
  • Forty Year Faithful Service Decoration for military personnel

Interesting Facts: None

Hallmarks: None

Design: A round medal with an attached wedge shaped eye at the top.

Figure 2: Forty Year Faithful Service Medal, obverse. Image courtesy of Dorotheum.

Obverse: A bust of Franz Joseph I, facing to the right and wearing the regalia of the Golden Fleece. Around the upper two thirds of the bust is an oak wreath.  Inside of the wreath is inscribed FRANC. IOS. I.D.G. IMP. AVST. REX. BOH. ETC. ET. REX. AP. HVNG.

Figure 3: Forty Year Faithful Service Medal, reverse. Image from the author’s archive.

Reverse:  The edge of the medal has a pearl pattern.  Inside the pearled edge are twelve stylized three-leaf plants.  Within the ring of plants is the inscription SIGNVM LABORIS FIDELITER PERRFACTI. (A sign of work faithfully done).  A fine line surrounds this circular inscription.  Inside the inscription is circle made of sun’s rays.  On the rays is the inscription XXXX / ANNORVM (Forty years) in two lines.

Weight: 19.7 grams

Size: 35 mm in diameter and 3 mm thick.

Type of Material: Bronze

Variations: These medals have been seen in polished bronze and in dull bronze

Designer: Unknown

Manufacturer:

  • Hauptmunzamt Wien (Imperial Mint, Vienna)
  • Josef Zimbler

Number Issued: Unknown

Case: Two types of cases are known to exist:

  • Case Type I: A blue case with pebbled exterior and the inscription EHREN MEDAILLE fur 40 Jahrige True Dienste in silver
  • Case Type II: A red case with the Habsburg coat of arms in gold on the lid. This case has a black cloth interior with a fitted space for the service medal and the maker’s logo in gold silk on the inner lid. This type case is known to have been used by Zimbler.

Figure 4: Type II Case exterior. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 5: Type I Case exterior. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 6: Type II Case interior with decoration as issued to military personnel. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 7: Ribbon issued for 40 years faithful civilian service. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 8: Forty Year Faithful Service Medal, military ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

Ribbon: For civilians the ribbon is 34 mm and is Ponceau (poppy) Red.   For military personnel the ribbon is golden yellow with 8 mm black edge stripes 3 mm from each edge.

  • A small rectangular ribbon for this decoration was introduced in October 27,1917.

Attachments: None

Miniature:  16 mm miniatures of this decoration exist.

Figure 9: Forty Year Faithful Service Medal, miniature on kette. Image from the author’s archive.

 

 

Figure 10: 40 year faithful Service Decoration Award Certificate. Image from the author’s archive

 

Figure 11: Archduke Joseph Karl Ludwig wearing the 40 Year Service Decoration. Image from the author’s archive.

Hope you enjoyed this blog. Until next time when, I hope you find joy in our shared interest

Rick

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