Figure 1: Maria Theresia Honor Medal Type I. Image form author’s archive.

Introduction: The reason for issuing the Maria Theresia Honor Medal (Maria Theresia Gnadenmedaille) was to reward for especially meritorious service to the Empress

Date Issued: 1740 –1754

Reason Issued: As a reward for especially meritorious service to the Empress.

Classes or Types:  Three classes with three subdivisions in the gold and silver classes

  • Large Gold, Gold and Small Gold Medal
  • Large Silver, Silver and Small Silver Medal
  • Bronze Medal

Interesting Facts:

  • Maria Theresia was the first ruler to issue clear regulations for the award of medals.
  • 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 Maria Theresia Honor Medal

Hallmarks: None Known

Design: An oval medal with a raised rim and an attached suspension eyes at the top.

Figure 2: Maria Theresia Honor Medal obverse. Image form author’s archive.

Obverse: Inside a raised rim is a bust of the Archduchess Maria Theresia, facing to the right and wearing a gown clasped at the shoulder. The empress is wearing a diadem and has long flowing curly hair. The medal has a raised rim. Paralleling the rim around the upper two thirds of the medal is the inscription: MARIA THERESIA D. CAR. CAES. FIL. HUNG. & BOH. REX. ARCH. AUST. On the bottom edge of the medal in smaller letters is the name of the medal engraver: M. DONNER. f. or D. Becker f. (the f stands for fabrikat = manufactured)

Figure 3: Maria Theresia Honor Medal reverse. Image form author’s archive.

Reverse: Inside a raised rim is the Lion of Bohemia with St. Wenzel’s crown on his head standing on a stylized platform. The lion holds in its right paw the Hungarian Patriarchs Cross. Its left paw rests on the Austrian Herald’s shield. Paralleling the top edge of the medal is an inscription: IUSTITIA ET CLEMENTIA (Justice and Clemency)

Weight:

  • Large Gold Medal = 29-50 Ducats (104-180 grams)
  • Gold Medal = 14-20 Ducats (50-70 grams)
  • Small Gold Medal = 12-15 Ducats (42-54 grams)
  • Large Silver Medal = 87.5 grams
  • Silver = 52.5 grams
  • Small Silver Medal = 26-35 grams
  • Bronze Medal = 75.5 grams

Size: 

  • Large Gold Medal = 68-69 mm by 60 mm
  • Gold Medal = 57 mm by 49-50 mm
  • Small Gold Medal = 48 mm by 42 mm
  • Large Silver Medal = 69 mm by 60 mm
  • Silver Medal = 48-57 mm by 42-50 mm
  • Small Silver Medal = 48 mm by 42 mm
  • Bronze Medal = 52-58 mm by 48-49 mm

Type of Material: Gold, silver, and bronze

Variations: 

  • Type I: As described above.
  • Type II: As described except with the following inscription on the obverse: MARIA THERESIA D.G. ROM. IMP. GER. HUNG. & BOH. RE. ARCH. AUST. And the makers name as M.D.f (Matthaus Donner with the f standing for Fabrikat) (The gold and silver medal have been seen in this variation)
  • Type III: As described above except the makers name appears as P. Becker f Philipp Christopher Becker with the f standing for Fabrikat)
  • Type IV: As described above except the makers name appears as Donner.
  • Type V: As described above except without suspension eye (table medal)

Designer:

  • Medals of all types = Matthaus Donner
  • Gold and silver medal = Philipp Christoph Becker

Manufacturer: Philipp Christoph Becker (1675-1743), Matthaus Donner (1704-1765), Giuseppe Toda (1710-1768, Anton Wideman (1724-1792) and Christian Vinazer (1747-1782).

Number Issued: Unknown

Case: Unknown

Figure 4: Maria Theresia Honor Medal ribbon. Image form author’s archive.

Ribbon: The gold medal could be worn on a gold chain or on a dark rose red ribbon while the silver medal was always worn on a red ribbon.

Figure 5: Maria Theresia Honor Medal Type II in gold on chain. Image form author’s archive.

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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4 Comments
  1. Hello Mr. lussier,

    I would like to know what sources you’ve got for the bronze and especially the silver medals.
    I haven’t been able to find anything.
    Thank you very much in advance.
    Frans

    • Dear Franz

      During my more than 40 years of research I have had the privilege to interact with other recognized experts in the field, the author of highly regarded books on the awards of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian and empires, Austrian government officials and those who serve as experts on the subject for major auction houses. I have also read all available literature published prior to 1920 they reference this material including numerous official documents and publications. My policy is not to accept anything as factual unless I have at least two valid and reliable sources for the information I include in my publications. Even with this rigorous process I continue to be open to learning new information about the subjects of my research and except the fact that one must remain open to new findings. This is why even after these many years I continue to research and learn about this fascinating subject. If you have any specific questions, you would like me to ask based on my research I will be happy to entertain them.

      Rick

      • Dear Rick,

        My previous message was worded poorly. I did not mean to ask in to question the validity of you work or expertise. Nor do I doubt the existence of these medal in gold silver and bronze, I have one in my personal colection for once. There is only one thing bugging me. In the 1782 book: ‘Schau- und Denkmünzen, welche unter der glorwürdigen Regierung der Kaiserin Königinn Maria Theresia geprägt worden sind’ only the two versions in gold are mentioned (being worth 50 and 30 ducats). I’ve been looking for a description or mention of the other (especially the silver) versions from the era, and that’s what I was hoping you could help me on.

        Kind regards,
        Franz

        • Dear Franz
          First let me say that I was not offended in any way by your inquiry. What I was trying to convey is that the sources of information for my blog are numerous and that I do not as a general rule track them at the award level. I do make every effort to assure the information I am sharing is accurate, however no matter how meticulous one may be there is always the possibility of making an error. One of the things I find so fascinating about my research is the continuous learning that is involved. If you are seeking to verify the information, I have provided in the blog (which I obviously believe is accurate) then I think you would be best served by doing what I continuously do in my research and that is to check with what have proven to be valid and reliable unrelated sources. In this instance for example two good ones would be Hermann Dikowitsch who can be contacted via the Austrian Government and who is very knowledgeable about the awards of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Another good source would be the in-house expert on Austro-Hungarian Empire awards at one of the major European auction Houses such as the Dorotheum. I hope if you decide to follow this strategy that you find the information, I have provided is accurate. However, if you find any information at odds with that which I have shared I would be delighted to hear about it as I am always eager to learn and also am always seeking to improve the accuracy of the information I share.

          Best wishes

          Rick

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