Order of Albert the Bear, Gold Medal of Merit

SKU: 01.ANH.0101.109.01

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  • Gold Medal of Merit (in silver gilt) Obverse
  • Gold Medal of Merit (in silver gilt) Obverse
  • Gold Medal of Merit (in silver gilt)) Reverse

Attributes

  • country
    Germany
  • date of institution
    November 18, 1836

Physical Description


A circular medal constructed of bronze gilt, silver gilt, or gold. The obverse bears the image of a crowned bear ascending a wall with a door, encompassed by a border with the inscription "FUERCHTE GOTT UND BEFOLGE SEINE BEFEHLE". The reverse bears the split coat of arms of the house of Anhalt-Köthen, Anhalt-Dessau, and Anhalt-Bernburg, encompassed by a border inscribed with "ALBRECHT DER BAER REG: 1123 BIS 1170". On a loop for suspension, with a red and green striped ribbon.

Medallions from gold were only made in the early years and given out rarely. From 1838 to 1860 only 39 were awarded. However, recipients had to return them and they were later melted down. As such, they are quite rare.
There are examples of the Gold Medal of Merit with a surmounting crown.

History


The Order of Albert the Bear was founded by Prince Sigismund I of Anhalt-Dessau around 1382 and was named after Albert the Bear (1110-1170), the first Ascanian Margrave of Brandenburg and the Count of Anhalt and Ballenstadt. The order was forgotten after Prince Sigismund I’s death in 1405. On November 18, 1836, the order was renewed and madea joint House Order by Duke Henry of Anhalt-Köthen, Duke Leopold IV of Anhalt-Dessau, and Duke Carl of Anhalt-Bernburg. The Order of Albert the Bear was awarded by the Dukes to meriotus subjects as a token of honour and distinction.

The Order of Albert the Bear originally featured three main grades and two merit medals, which included: Grand Cross with Grand Cross Breast Star, Commander, Knight, Gold Medal of Merit, and Silver Medal of Merit. In 1848, the grade of Commander was expanded into I Class Commander with I Class Commander Breast Star and II Class Commander. In 1854, the grade of Knight was expanded into I Class Knight and II Class Knight. From 1863, the reigning DUke of Anhalt was the order’s Grand Master. Non-Christians were not eligible for the order until after 1863.

The Order was amended on July 18, 1864, to incorporate crossed swords as a possible addition for wartime merit. The crossed swords, which are added between the top of the medal and the suspension ring, indicate a Military Division award. The absence of crossed swords indicates a Civil Division award.

In 1901, a surmounting gold-coloured crown was added to the grades of Grand Cross, I Class Commander, II Class Commander, and I Class Knight. A surmounting silver crown was added to the grade of II Class Knight. According to the statues, it was possible for a Grand Cross to be awarded with the combination of a crown and swords, however, no such medal was officially produced.

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Versions

  • Price

    $130 USD

  • Composition

    Bronze gilt

  • Inscription

    Obv: FUERCHTE GOTT UND BEFOLGE SEINE BEFEHLE Rev: ALBRECHT DER BAER REG: 1123 BIS 1170

  • Size

    31mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

    This version is constructed of bronze gilt. A total of 40 were awarded between 1838 and 1860.

  • View Item
  • Price

    $175 USD

  • Composition

    Silver gilt

  • Inscription

    Obv: FUERCHTE GOTT UND BEFOLGE SEINE BEFEHLE Rev: ALBRECHT DER BAER REG: 1123 BIS 1170

  • Size

    31mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

    This version is constructed of silver gilt.

  • View Item
  • Price

    $1,000 USD

  • Composition

    Gold

  • Inscription

    Obv: FUERCHTE GOTT UND BEFOLGE SEINE BEFEHLE Rev: ALBRECHT DER BAER REG: 1123 BIS 1170

  • Size

    31mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

    This version is constructed of gold. Medallions from gold were only made in the early years and given out rarely. From 1838 to 1860 onl...

  • View Item
  • Price

    $700 USD

  • Composition

    Bronze gilt

  • Inscription

    Obv: FUERCHTE GOTT UND BEFOLGE SEINE BEFEHLE Rev: ALBRECHT DER BAER REG: 1123 BIS 1170

  • Size

    31mm; 16x13mm (crown)

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

    This version is constructed of bronze gilt and bears a surmounting crown. The gilt surmounting crown was added as an attribute in 1901.

  • View Item
  • Price

    $700 USD

  • Composition

    Silver gilt

  • Inscription

    Obv: FUERCHTE GOTT UND BEFOLGE SEINE BEFEHLE Rev: ALBRECHT DER BAER REG: 1123 BIS 1170

  • Size

    31mm; 16x13mm (crown)

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

    This version is constructed of silver gilt and bears a surmounting crown.

  • View Item

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