decorations are pretty common. Looking at the Kingdom of
Prussia, one will see rather quickly, that there were
uncountable numbers of the Order of the Crown awarded. Since
orders were given for long service, there were certain
officials that couldn't get around being awarded a certain
type and class of order. Especially the Order of the Crown
seems to be used for those purposes. Everyone collecting
Imperial German orders will have a number of these order
decoration in his collection, on a medal bar or as a single
After reading the first
paragraph one would say, "Not a very interesting piece".
However looking deeper into this topic will bring variations
to the surfaces that are everything than common. Swords for
example were given infrequently, the Red Cross decorations for
1870/71, the cross attachment for the members of the order of
St. John and the long service or jubilee numbers.
are all decorations of the first model, awarded in the form
with the small crown until approx. 1864.
What is the
difference between the first and the second type one will ask,
to make sure he acquires the right piece for his collection.
As easy as that: The small crown.
As easy as that? No. Other details may be easily overlooked.
The cross body follows the "handwriting" of the jeweler who
made a particular decoration. This means that the Wagner made
piece from before 1864 looks exactly like the cross body made
by Wagner after 1864 - hollow made, scratch mark "W" on the
lower cross arm. The definitive clue is the medallion. The
smaller crown in the first model, of course, is very different
in design than the crown of the second model. A very high
relief and somewhat three-dimensional design was used. The
background of the first model medallion is finer pebbled than
its successor - very fine struck.
model / right 2nd model
Furthermore the medallion center plate showing the crown is
smaller than that of the second model. The second and
important difference is that the medallion's wreath is broader
and is dark blue enameled.
According to my article about
electroplating I would like to introduce the reader to a
modern fake that I obtained several years ago - a 2nd Class
badge of the first model of the Prussian Order of The Crown. I
will just focus onto the detail, which made me aware of the
fact, that I had bought this fake. Looking at medallions
pictured below, one will see that the pictured center isn't as
fine struck, as it should be. The medallion wreath also seems
to be the one that should be from a second model, it is the
smaller and light blue enameled.
My first thought
was that perhaps the piece was restored between 1900 and
1864 using a contemporary medallion circle (Second model).
However I wondered about the bad quality of the center
plate. I took the piece apart. This was easy because orders
are fixed together using a resin that melts at lower
piece apart, made the answer clear. The Piece was completely
assembled. A cross body and nice but not good enough made
front and back center plates. These don't really fit into
that larger diameter medallion ring. The close up picture
shows in detail the gap on the medallion plates. Original
plates were fixed into the order in the way, which is shown
in the picture below. The center rim was bent to the middle
and attached from the back. This enabled the jeweler to fit
the center plate like a spring-ring into the center and used
less material. The modern copier didn't have to care about
this, since the material is cheaper these days than in the
19th century, were the material was more worthy that the
labor someone would put into assembling an order like this.
Needless to say, that none would have done such a sloppy job
on an order that had to pass the control of the Orders
Chancellery and the jeweler master himself.
Let me say this
again, there is nothing more important than knowing about
the way material was worked on to make those wonderful order
decorations we all collect today.
© A. Schulze Ising, VI/01