Figure 1: Joseph II Honor Medal. Image from author’s archive

Introduction: This medal, the Joseph II Honor Medal (Joseph II Gnadenkmedaille, Virtute Et Exemplo), was Awarded to commanders of the imperial army and to all other persons who had performed with special merit

Date Issued: 1780-1790

Reason Issued:  Awarded to commanders of the imperial army and to all other persons who had performed with special merit.

Classes or Types:  There are five types of these medals.

  • Type I is known in four classes.

Gold Honor Medal

Small Gold Honor Medal

Silver Honor Medal

Small Silver Honor Medal

  • Type II is known in four classes.

Gold Honor Medal

Small Gold honor medal

Silver Honor Medal

Small Silver Honor Medal

  • Type III is known in three classes.

Gold Honor Medal

Silver Honor Medal

Small Silver Honor Medal

  • Type IV is known in four classes.

Gold Honor Medal

Small Gold Honor Medal

Silver Honor Medal

Small Silver Honor Medal

  • Type V is known in five classes.

Gold Honor Medal

Small Gold Honor Medal

Silver Honor Medal first class

Silver Honor Medal second class

Silver Honor Medal Third class

Interesting Facts:

  • This was the third version of this medal to be issued.
  • The word Gnaden (Grace) as used in the name of this medal had a different meaning when it was issued than it does today. Thus “grace” should be interpreted as “honor” therefore the title in today’s terminology would be the Imperious Joseph II Honor Medal
  • From 1764 when this decoration was established until 1790 when it was discontinued the 14 variations of the award were issued. The periods during which this decoration was issued are from 1764-1765 when Joseph II was the Roman King, 1765-1780 when Joseph II served as Emperor and Co-Regent and 1780-1790 when he was Emperor and ruled Austria.
  • This medal was issued as a wearable medal with a suspension ring and as a table medal.
  • Bronze medals are copies that were made for the collector’s trade.

Hallmarks: None Known

Design: A round medal with a flat attached suspension eye at the top.

 

Figure 2: Joseph II Type I Honor Medal obverse. with an unusual suspension. Image from author’s archive

Figure 3: Joseph II Type III Honor Medal. obverse. Image from author’s archive

 

Obverse: A youthful bust of Joseph II, facing to the viewers right. He is portrayed with long flowing hair in which is a laurel wreath near the temples. He is dressed in armor and wears the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Paralleling the rim around the upper two-thirds of the medal is the inscription: IOSEPHVS II. D.G . ROM. REX. S.A.GERM.REX.HVNG.BOH.& C.PRIN.HERED.A.A.&C. Near the lower edge of the medal is the signature of the medalist: A.WIDEMAN.

 

Figure 4: Joseph II Type II and V Honor Medal. reverse. Image from author’s archive

Reverse: The eye of God (a triangle with eye surrounded by a wreath of rays) overlooking a globe surrounded by clouds. Superimposed on the globe are a sword and a spade (some experts say a rudder) which are crossed. Both are interwoven with boughs of oak and laurel. Along the top margin of the medal, above the eye of God is the inscription: VIRTVTE ET EXEMPLO. Translation: by virtue, and example.

Weight:

Type I

  • Gold Honor Medal: 84 grams or 24 Ducats
  • Small Gold Honor Medal: Unknown
  • Silver Honor Medal: 54 grams
  • Small Silver Honor Medal: 35 grams

Type II

  • Gold Honor Medal: Unknown
  • Small Gold Honor Medal: Unknown
  • Silver Honor Medal: Unknown
  • Small Silver Honor Medal: 35 grams

Type III

  • Gold Honor Medal: 84 grams or 24 Ducats
  • Silver Honor Medal: 54 grams
  • Small silver Honor Medal: 35 grams

Type IV

  • Gold Honor Medal: 84 grams or 24 Ducats
  • Small Gold Honor Medal: Unknown
  • Silver Honor Medal :54 grams
  • Small Silver Honor Medal: 35 grams

Type V

  • Gold Honor Medal: 84-140 grams or 24-40 Ducats
  • Small Gold Honor Medal: Unknown
  • Silver Honor Medal first class: 50-54 grams
  • Silver Honor Medal second class: 35-40 grams
  • Silver Honor Medal Third class: 17 grams

Size:

Type I

  • Gold Honor Medal: 45-50 mm in diameter
  • Small Gold Honor Medal: 46 mm in diameter
  • Silver Honor Medal: 45-50 mm in diameter
  • Small Silver Honor Medal: 46 mm in diameter

Type II

  • Gold Honor Medal: 40.5-46 mm in diameter
  • Small Gold Honor Medal: 33 mm in diameter
  • Silver Honor Medal: 40.5-46 mm in diameter
  • Small Silver Honor Medal: 33 mm in diameter

Type III

  • Gold Honor Medal: 46-50 mm in diameter
  • Large Silver Honor Medal: 46-50 mm in diameter
  • Silver Honor Medal: 33 mm in diameter

Type IV

  • Gold Honor Medal: 50 mm in diameter
  • Small Gold Honor Medal: 46 mm in diameter
  • Silver Honor Medal: 50 mm in diameter
  • Small Silver Honor Medal: 33 mm in diameter

Type V

  • Gold Honor Medal: 50 –60 mm in diameter
  • Small Gold Honor Medal: 39 mm in diameter
  • Silver Honor Medal first class: 50.2 mm in diameter
  • Silver Honor Medal second class: 46 mm in diameter
  • Silver Honor Medal Third class: 39 mm in diameter

Type of Material: Gold and silver

Variations: 

  • Type I medal as described above.
  • Type II medal as described above except the obverse inscription reads: IOSEPH II.D.G.R.IMP.G.ET H.REX.COR.ET HERES RH.B.A.A.D.B.ET L.M.D.H &C.&C
  • Type III medal as described above except the obverse image is of the emperor wearing a toga clasped at the shoulder with a broach. The inscription reads: IOS.II.D.G.R.IMP.G.ET.H.REX COR.ET HERES R.H.B.A.A.D.B.ET L.M.D.H & C. near the lower edge of the medal is the signature of the medalist: F. K. Wurth F. (the F stands for Fabrikat which translates as fabricated). On the reverse of this type of medal near the bottom rim on either side of the clouds is found the letters E and IV.

Figure 5: Joseph II Type III Honor Medal. reverse. Image from author’s archive

Type IV medal: The same as described above except the obverse is inscribed IOS II. D. G. R.I MP. S.A.GER.HVN.BOH.REX.A.A.BVR.LOT.D Below the bust on some of these medals appears the makers mark C, VINAZE. F. (the F stands for Fabrikat which translates as fabricated) on the silver medals and C.Wirt. F. (the F stands for Fabrikat which translates as fabricated) on the gold medals.

Figure 6: Joseph II Type V Gold Honor Medal. obverse. Image from author’s archive

Figure 7: Joseph II Type V Gold Honor Medal. reverse. Image from author’s archive

  • Type V medal: A youthful bust of Joseph II, facing to the right. He is portrayed with long flowing hair in which is a laurel wreath near the temples. He is portrayed with bare shoulders. Paralleling the rim around the upper half of the medal is the inscription: IOSEPHVS II . AVGVSTVS.  Near the lower edge of the medal is the signature of the medalist: I. N. Wirt F. (the F stands for Fabrikat which translates as fabricated). The reverse of this type medal is the same as the Type III medal.

Designer:

· Type I Medals: Anton Wideman

· Type II Medals:  Anton Wideman

· Type III Medals:

Gold Medals: Franz Xaver Wurth

Silver medals:  Christian Vinazer

· Type IV Medals

Gold Medals: Johann Nepomuk Wirt

Silver medals: Christian Vinazer

· Type V Medals: Johann Nepomuk Wirt

Manufacturer: The Imperial Mint in Vienna (Hauptmunzamt Wien)

Number Issued: Unknown

Case: Unknown

Figure 8: Joseph II Honor Medal ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

Ribbon: The gold medal could be worn on a gold chain or on a 39-40 mm scarlet red ribbon while the silver medal was always worn on a red ribbon

Attachments: None

Miniature: None known

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

Rick

 

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