Figure 1: Officer’s Military Service Decoration, First Class, 1849-1890, obverse. Image from author’s archive.

Introduction:

Well folks we are about to continue on a really interesting adventure. With this blog I am going to continue the discussion of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian service crosses. Before I am finished with this task I will provide information on the full range of service crosses issued from 1849 – 1918. In this blog I will continue the discussion of the Officer’s Military Service Decoration, first class (Militärdienstzeichen I Klasse für Offiziere ) which was issued from 1849-1890 At which point it became the Officers Service Cross Third Class. Let me remind you that in 1849 when this cross was established the classes were the reverse of what one would normally expect, that is to say, that the second class cross was issued for 50 years’ service and the first class cross was issued for 25 years’ service. I have already discussed the second class service cross in a previous blog and will now continue the discussion of the  First Class Cross which was issued for 25 years’ service, which I begun in the previous blog.

Designer: Unknown

Manufacturer:

  • Hauptmunzamt Wien (Imperial Mint, Vienna)
  • Josef Zimbler
  • Vinc Mayer and Sons
  • Carl Freidrich Rothe

Number Issued:

  • Officers Service Cross First Class = Unknown
  • Officers Service Cross Third Class 1890-1918 = 13,500
  • Officers Service Cross with diamonds =  1 known

Order of Precedence: Number 62 after the Officers Military Service Decoration, Second Class and before the Franz Joseph Cross, third class

 

Figure 2: Officer Service Cross, first class, case 1849-1890, interior. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 3: Officer’s Military Service Decoration, First Class, 1849-1890 case Type I, exterior. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 4: Officer’s Military Service Decoration, First Class, 1849-1890 case Type II, exterior. Image from the author’s archive.

Case:

  • Case Type I: A red cloth covered case with the Habsburg coat of arms in gold on the lid. The interior is black plush and fitted while the inner part of the lid is white silk and often has the makers logo in gilt. Cases of this type were known to be made by Josef Zimbler and Vinc Mayer and Sons
  • Case Type II: A red cloth case with the Habsburg coat of arms in gold on the lid. The interior is black plush and fitted while the inner part of the lid is white silk and often has the maker’s logo in gilt.

Figure 5: Officer’s Military Service Decoration, First Class, 1849-1890 case Type IV, exterior. Image from the author’s archive.

Figure 6: Officer’s Military Service Decoration, First Class, 1849-1890 case Type IV, interior. Image from the author’s archive.

  • Case Type III: Decorative cases for engraved awards have been noted. They have been in the regiment’s colors with fancy engraving and other ornamentation.
  • Case Type IV: A red leather case with the inscription VON DEM KAMERADEN on lid and a dark blue plush interior. This is a privately produced presentation case.
  • Fitted cases for multiple decorations have also been seen in which one of the decorations is a service cross.

Figure 7: Officer’s Military Service Decoration, First Class, 1849-1890, ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

Ribbon: Originally 43 mm wide, lemon yellow with two 9.5 mm wide black side strips at a 1.5 mm distance from the edges: later 38 mm wide, golden yellow with 10 mm wide black side strips at a 3 mm distance from the edges.

  • A small rectangular ribbon for this decoration sometimes issued with small attachments to indicate specific awards was introduced in October 27,1917.

Attachments: None

Figure 8: Officer’s Military Service Decoration, First Class, 1849-1890, Miniature Image from author’s archive.

Miniature: Miniatures of this decoration exist.

  • Th illustrated miniature is 18 X 16 mm and 2.4 grams

 

Hope you enjoyed this blog. Until next time when I will commence my description of the Officer’s Military Service Decorations issued from 1890-1918, I hope you find joy in our shared interest

Rick

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