Figure 1: West Galician Commemoration Medal, obverse on ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

Introduction:

The West Gallaecian Commemoration Medal (Medaille zur Huldigung von Westgalizien) was instituted in 1796 by Emperor Franz II to commemorate the celebration in Krakow on August 17, 1796 at which the people of Western Galicia swore an oath of elegance to Emperor Franz II.

Date Issued: August 17, 1796

Reason Issued: This medal was authorized to commemorate the celebration in Krakow on August 17, 1796 at which the people of Western Galicia swore an oath of elegance to Emperor Franz II.

Classes or Types: Two

  • Silver commemoration medal
  • Tombak (German bronze alloy of zinc and copper)  commemoration medal 

Interesting Facts: 

  • The representative of the emperor at this calibration was Prince Karol von Auersperg
  • This change in elegance was brought about by the third partition of Galicia in 1795
  • The main ceremony took place in St. Mary’s church where thousands of nobles, representatives of the middle class and academia swore homage to the emperor.
  • This medal was issued in both a wearable and non-wearable form

Hallmarks: None Known

Design: A round medal with a raised rim and an attached flat round eye.

Figure 2: West Galician Commemoration Medal, obverse. Image from the author’s archive.

Obverse:  The bust of Emperor Franz II in profile, facing to the right, with long flowing hair and a laurel wreath on his head. Around the edge of the medal is an inscription which reads: IMP. CAES. FRANCISCO II. HVNG. BOH. GAL. ET. LOD. REGI Translation, Franz II, Emperor and King of Hungary, Bohemia, Galicia and LOD . Below the bust is inscribed the name of the medalist I.N.Wirt F. (The F stands for fabrikat ,(fabricated)

Figure 3: West Galician Commemoration Medal, reverse. Image from the author’s archive.

Reverse: A plain background on which is inscribed in two lines Fides Galiciae Secundae Jureiur Obstricta Cracouiae die XVII Augusti MDCCXCVI .

Weight:

  • Silver Medal = 45.3 grams
  • Tombak medal = 2.61 grams

Size: All medals are 48.5 mm in diameter

Type of Material: Silver and Tombak

 

Figure 4: West Galician Commemoration Medal, in Tombak obverse. Image courtesy of National Museum in Transylvania.

Figure 5: West Galician Commemoration Medal, in Tombak reverse. Image courtesy of National Museum in Transylvania.

 

Variations: None known

Designer: Johann Nepomuk Wirt

Manufacturer: Vienna Hauptmunzampt (Mint Imperial Mint)

Number Issued: Unknown

Case: Unknown

Figure 6: West Galician Commemoration Medal ribbon. Image from the author’s archive.

Attachments: None

Miniature: None known

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

Rick

7 Comments
  1. Hello, this medal is not for a campaign against the French in Western Galicia, it has more to do with the Partitions of Poland and I believe might be something with Krakow being formally incorporated into the Austrian-Hungarian Empire on that date. It looks as if you copied the exact Latin text from an Emedals sale because the same misspellings are there.

    What is actually written on the back is in Latin: FIDES GALICAIAE SECVNDAE IVREIVR OBSTRICTA CRACOVIAE DIE XVII AVGVSTI MDCCXCVI

    Online translators are horrible for Latin, and one word will not translate properly, but roughly it says:

    Faith in Galicia, the second Ivreivr subjected to Krakow on August 17 1796
    or
    RELIANCE GALICAIAE SECVNDAE IVREIVR subjected to Krakow 17 DAY AVG 1796

    In August of 1796 there were no French forces in Central Europe (i.e. Krakow, Western Galicia), instead they were fighting the Austrians on the Rhine and in Italy. My suggestion is to find someone who is trained in Latin to properly decipher the wording to get a clear understanding of what this medal truly is.

    If it is related to the Polish Partitions I would be very interested to own such a medal! 🙂

    • Tom

      Thank you for your interesting and informative comments. I am always eager to learn more and to eliminate mistakes from my research. Please provide me with an source material you have from which you were able to deduce that “this medal is not for a campaign against the French in Western Galicia, it has more to do with the Partitions of Poland and I believe might be something with Krakow being formally incorporated into the Austrian-Hungarian Empire on that date.” if you will provide this information I will review it and also see if I can find any additional data on this medal and will edit my entry accordingly. As regards the Latin translation, I agree with you that it is hard to find a reliable translation source. I will see what can be done to refine the translation I used as it appears that your translation is also a good attempt but from your comments it appears that it is not definitive. I look forward to any additional data on this medal you can provide or if there is a written source of data available on line feel free to direct me to it.

      Rick

  2. Rick,

    My pleasure to provide more info and help, as it covers a couple of areas and topics near and dear to my heart.

    The first is to know Napoleonic battles and history, no French soldiers operated in that part of Europe in 1796, nor is there any French, Austrian or other battle that took place on the inscribed date. There’s an incredible breadth of information on this topic, but note on a map where Krakow, Poland is compared to Vienna and the Rhine. French soldiers didn’t get to that part of Europe until years later with when under Napoleon he was crushing the Austrians, Prussians and Russians. Also an Austrian campaign medal from 1796 would turn up in some text or book as it would have been highly unusual for something like this to exist, as medals were not yet being given out for campaigns at that time (not until the end of the Napoleonic Wars did everyone start doing so).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhine_campaign_of_1796

    Next is to understand what happened during the Polish Partition years with 1795 being the 3rd and final partition of Poland which wiped it off the map of the world for 123 years. This was preceded and a direct result of a failed uprising in 1794-1795 that was led by the great American Revolutionary War general and founder of West Point, Tadeusz Kościuszko who had returned home to Poland to fight for its freedom and independence. In 1796 Austria took formal, official and total control of Krakow and Galicia, and there were no rebellions or uprising that year, so this medal could not be for any battle or campaign based on its inscription.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partitions_of_Poland
    and
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ko%C5%9Bciuszko_Uprising

    Next is to search for the words Crakov and the date Aug 17, 1796, that’s really the key to all this search, this item gives a specific location and date of something that happened in Cracov (Krakow) and Galiciae (Galicia). Using Google Poland (all pages easily translate to English using Google) this was found:

    https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratusz_w_Krakowie

    Which revealed “…the Krakow Market Square was immortalized in three paintings by Michał Stachowicz , two of which concerned the Kościuszko Uprising, and the third march in the Market Square on the day of the homage of Father Karol Auersperg on August 17, 1796”

    So there’s a painting of this event and it’s not Father Karol but rather Prince Karol of Auersperg and then it all comes together with this:

    https://dziejekrakowa.pl/index.php/25-wiek-xviii/76-wiek-xviii-1776-1800.html

    “1796 VIII 17 – Prince Karol von Auersperg as the commissioner commissioned by the Austrian emperor, accepted a solemn homagium from the inhabitants of Western Galicia and an oath of allegiance to Emperor Franciszek II. The central ceremony took place inside St. Mary’s Church. when thousands of nobles who came to the former capital of the day, along with the bell of Sigismund, together with representatives of the middle class and even the Academy, paid tribute to Prince Auersperg representing the Austrian Emperor. We read in the novel that: In the evening […] the whole city was illuminated, and in the Cloth Hall prince Auersperg gave a great ball, where they had fun until the morning. The congress was so great of both Galician [i.e. East and West] that the Cloth Hall could not embrace all the guests. Nearly six thousand noblemen enjoyed playing with them. Toasts were fulfilled at the table with great enthusiasm, at the sound of cannons …”

    Furthermore, it’s not a medal but rather a coin was issued of that day, when Krakow and Galicia swore an oath to the Austrian Emperor. It can be found here:

    https://coinquest.com/cgi-bin/cq/coins.pl?coin=13884
    and
    https://www.pegasusauctions.com/h36-austria-francisc-ii-jeton-of-20-kreuzer-1796-cracow-poland-s

    Therefore in sum, what you have is a coin (later converted by someone to a medal) that was issued on Aug 17, 1796 to commemorate the total incorporation of Polish Galicia into the Austrian Empire, where a ceremony was performed that day in the Krakow town hall and they swore an oath to the Austrian Emperor. It was immortalized by the painter Michał Stachowicz but I am unable to find this painting online.

    I would still be interested in this item if you are to part with it. 🙂

    -Tom

    • Tom

      Thank you for taking the time to provide me with the data that has led to your conclusions regarding this medal. As I am sure you know there is very little data available about it from reliable or original medal collecting sources. It will take me a while to research the data you have provided and to attempt to clarify what can be states about this medal with some confidence. I am anticipating that this may take a week or two or even three given that we are in the holiday season and I like many others will have family obligations. However let me assure you that I am very appreciative of your interest and your willingness to provide information that I can use to commence this research. If you check back at the beginning of December you should find two things. First whatever changes I have made to the entry regarding this medal based on the data you so kindly provided and I will also write a response on this message string to share with you what I have learned and been able to verify and thus what data I have used for whatever changes I have made and not made in this entry. Let me conclude by thanking you for your time and effort. As I said I have been doing research on this topic for 30 years but am always eager and happy to learn something new about this subject and to refine my work by eliminating errors.

      Rick

  3. Hi Rick,

    Again, my pleasure to help and let me streamline my response to help you as well as I provided a ton of background history and the how the research was conducted, that may overload you. Couple quick things, I’m Polish and my family is from Galicia, I also have been an amateur student of the Napoleonic era for many years, as such know Galician/Polish and Napoleonic battle history well, which is why I can with 100% certainty and accuracy tell you this medal (coin) has nothing to do with a French campaign in Western Galicia and is in fact a coin/medallion for when the newly annexed Western Galicia formally swore an oath to the Emperor of Austria in Krakow. There is incredibly detailed historical proof of that happening on that date, where the entirety of the Polish nobility and government showed up to the old capital in Krakow. This link shows the most important events in Krakow history (Cracoviae) and is the best to get right to the meat and potatoes. As you’ll note the date inscribed and what the Latin inscription states (Fidelity translates to loyalty/oath) to be an exact match and there were no recorded battles/campaigns:

    https://dziejekrakowa.pl/index.php/25-wiek-xviii/76-wiek-xviii-1776-1800.html

    For some reason the 2-3 English references to this medal/coin that I found online keep referring to some West Galician / French campaign on that day but with no proof, and it is 100% incorrect that something like that happened or ever existed. I would put the onus on those references to prove something like a ‘West Galician / French campaign” took place, for instance what generals/units took place, perhaps a roll call, even a specific battle location… which they won’t be able to provide as it didn’t happen. To be honest, it doesn’t even make any sense from any historical or geographical perspective, the only thing I can think of is that people are confusing this with Spanish Galicia, but then again, there were no Galician/French campaigns of any kind (Spain or Poland) taking place at that time. The French/Spanish alliance was fighting the British in 1796 in Spain, and the French were fighting the Austrian in N. Italy and the Rhine.

    Also, to complete the front inscription of the coin you have, where it says GAL. ET. LOD. REGI. , that means Galicia and Lodomeria

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Galicia_and_Lodomeria

    I look forward to your corrections and please feel free to ping me if you have any questions, I truly enjoy the research and discussions of this time and place in history.

  4. Well I’m disappointed my last post was removed, not sure why anyone would do that. I stumbled upon this coin again while shopping on Allegro.pl and came back to share it. So I did another quick google search of the correct Latin that I provided (not what eMedals provides) and came up with multiple more examples of this coin stating it is related to Galicia swearing loyalty to the Austrian Emperor. Emedals did not provide correct research and information when selling this to you:

    1. From the National Museum in Transylvania:

    http://clasate.cimec.ro/detaliu.asp?k=67BACF6F09FA4972B8836E40B87CD91D

    “Medal (token) dedicated to the oath of fidelity by Galicia to Francis I”

    2. From Allegro in Poland:

    https://archiwum.allegro.pl/oferta/1795-galicja-medal-przysiega-krakow-1796r-rzadki-i6713722442.html

    “18th century medal minted on the occasion of the oath of allegiance made by the inhabitants of Galicia to Emperor Franciszek II in Krakow”

    3. An Ebay sale of this token coin for $56:

    https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ebayimg.com%2Fimages%2Fg%2FKOkAAOSw6GJaRlLM%2Fs-l300.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.ie%2Fitm%2F1796-Poland-Austria-Francis-II-Silver-Emperor-s-Visit-to-Krakow-Medal-R-%2F372178890396&tbnid=4MRL3gC1SdnjdM&vet=12ahUKEwirh8rq6JTmAhVTmp4KHQWtBTUQMygFegQIARAk..i&docid=Sg3-Rl0xynYiDM&w=300&h=289&itg=1&q=FIDES%20GALICIAE%20SECVNDAE%20IVREIVR%20OBSTRICTA%20CRACOVIAE%20DIE%20XVII%20AVGVSTI%20MDCCXCVI&ved=2ahUKEwirh8rq6JTmAhVTmp4KHQWtBTUQMygFegQIARAk

    “1796, Poland/Austria, Francis II. Silver “Emperor´s Visit to Krakow” Medal. R!”

    4. From an auction in France where it sold for 35 Euros:

    https://www.cgbfr.com/autriche-jeton-de-commemoration-de-la-visite-a-cracovie-1796-ttb,fwo_348180,a.html

    “Jeton de commémoration de la visite à Cracovie”
    (“Token commemorating the visit to Krakow”)

    Good luck…

    • Tom, I have approved and replied to all of your messages and if one was not posted I am unable to explain how that may have happened. However I would like to once again thank you for your time and effort to help clarify the history of this medal and to improve the accuracy of my blog post. As I promised I have spent the last week doing additional research on this medal and although data is very hard to find my research along with your very helpful data has resulted in my modifying this entry. I concur with your research that this medal was issued to commemorate the homage celebration in Krakow. I however do not agree that this is a modified coin. The Austrians in this era often issued wearable and non-wearable medals to commemorate important occasions. I think this is such a medal. However as I said before that my opinion can be changed whenever I encounter additional reliable data. I thank you for your contribution to my research and your advice which I think has resulted in improving this blog entry.

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