It isn’t often in one’s collecting
career that something of almost unique significance is
awards, although scarce, could conceivably be
encountered again later at some point in the
Figure 1: Obverse of
the pair of Officer’s awards
pair of awards was recently sold by a coin dealer.
One of the pieces is a gold cross and the other
is a gilded-bronze medal.
It is difficult to believe, but the gold cross
was actually destined for the smelter at one point, as
the coin dealer had seriously considered this option
prior to offering it for sale.
gold cross is a
Württemberg Golden Honor Award
for the 1815 Campaign.
This award was founded by King Friedrich I on
July 3, 1815 according to a proclamation of July 8,
1815; “…for those, who have distinguished themselves
in the present campaign a special decoration in three
classes is intended,...”.
The first class is a golden Maltese cross, and
the second class is a silver Maltese cross.
For the third class, a silver military merit
medal was considered.
The short campaign gave few opportunities for
deeds of honor to be performed.
Therefore, in only isolated cases did awards of
the Golden Honor Award to higher officers and the Silver
Honor Award to subaltern-officers occur.
There were only 52 known awards of the Silver
Honor Award. The
Honor Medal for the campaign of 1815 was awarded only 59
Dr. Waldemar von Hessenthal and George Schreiber
published their monumental work in 1940, no surviving
examples of the Golden Honor Award were known, an
example of the Silver Honor Award existed in the
collection of Mr. Schreiber, and in the State Mint
, a tin trial-strike existed.
dies for this award were made by medal-maker and
die-sinker Johann Ludwig Wagner of
(1773-1845) who also prepared the dies for the Military
Merit Medal and the Honor Medal for 1814.
From 1797 to 1837, J. L. Wagner was active at the
Stuttgart State Mint.
cross obverse has stippled arms with a smooth raised
border and the inscription “DER TAPFERKEIT UND TREUE”
(Bravery and loyalty) on the cross arms.
“DER” appears on the upper cross-arm, on the
left cross arm is “TAPFER, on the right cross-arm is
“KEIT”, and on the lower cross-arm is “UND/TREUE”.
At the center of the cross is a 14mm diameter
middle shield (which is not a separate piece from the
rest of the cross) also with a smooth raised border.
In this center is the crowned cipher “F R”
over a line, under which, is the date “1815”.
The gold content of this piece appears to be over
20 carats. With
such a high gold content, the piece is rather soft and
was easily susceptible to wear.
reverse of the cross is plain.
At the top of the cross is a pierced rectangular
suspension lug which was also formed as one piece with
the body of the cross.
Through this eyelet passes an un-fused
lesser-content gold (to make it stronger) round
suspension loop formed from flat stock.
An original period silk ribbon is found on this
ribbon is 36mm wide and has yellow, black, and red
ribbon is sewn together at the ends.
The cross is 35mm wide and 35mm high (not
including the suspension lug).
This cross weighs 21.4g (with the ribbon).
only other gold example that I have been able to find a
record of is featured on page 75 of the 2003 work by
Ulrich Klein and Albert Raff, and it is attributed to a
following is a listing of the 22 known recipients of
Friedrich Graf von Franquemont
Friedrich Wilhelm von Wimpfen
Ludwig Friedrich von Stockmayer
Carl August von Jett
August von Hügel
Prinz Carl von Hohenlohe-Kirchberg
Friedrich von Brand
Wilhelm Graf von Bismarck
Ferdinand Friedrich von Bartruff
Joseph Conrad von Bangold
Carl Wilhelm Graf von der Lippe
Graf von Koseriz
Imanuel Abraham von Schröder
Ludwig von Gaisberg
Wilhelm von Moltke
Ludwig Wilhelm Graf von Gräveniz
Lorenz von Buck
Ferdinand August von Finkh
2: Obverse of the Golden Honor Award for the 1815
Figure 3: Close-up of
the obverse of the Golden Honor Award for the 1815
Reverse of the Golden Honor Award for the 1815
The medal is a
Württemberg War Commemorative
for the war from 1793 to 1815.
The medal was founded by King Wilhelm I on
January 1, 1840 for all officers, military officials,
non-commissioned officers, and soldiers, who in
participated in a campaign and
thereby “had either entered the theatre of operations
or at least crossed the hostile border”.
Considered as individual campaigns were the war
years 1793, 1794, 1795, 1796, 1799, 1800, 1805, 1806,
1807, 1809, 1812, 1813 (after Saxony), 1813/1814
(against France), and 1815.
Theoretically therefore, 14 different types of
medals were struck.
However, examples for 12 or more campaigns are
not known to exist.
The dies for this medal were made
by Gottlob August Dietelbach (born 1806).
The medals were struck at the Stuttgart Mint from
metal (bronze) smelted from captured cannon.
Dietelbach worked at the Stuttgart Mint from 1837
until his death in 1870.
There are at least two die variations known.
The first-type reverse has a narrower shield and
the obverse has a wreath composed of 30
laurel-leaf-bunches with the leaves being smaller.
Inside of this wreath is a larger crown.
On the obverse of this medal is a
crowned “W” inside of a bundled wreath made-up of 20
larger laurel-leaf-bunches. Inside of this wreath is a
crown smaller than that of the first-type.
On the ribbon binding the bottom of the wreath
are the initials “A D” for August Dietelbach.
This indicates that this was a later die-type
than that mentioned above.
It is believed that this die may have been used
to make replacement pieces for first-type award pieces
that were lost. The
original first-type dies may have cracked to the point
where they were not usable, or they shattered.
Such damage to dies was not uncommon during this
On the reverse of this medal is a
shield with three upper points, with small lion’s or
dog’s heads (they have been described as either in
existing literature) at both outer points.
At the center point of the shield is an
ornamentation composed of leaves.
At the center of this shield is the inscription
“für/treuen Dienst/in/zwei/feldzügen.” (For
faithful service in two campaigns).
It should be noted that the letters in the
inscription on this second-type medal are somewhat
larger than those on the first-type.
Die variations have also been noted without a
period at the end of the inscription.
Behind the shield are two crossed swords with
their blades pointing downward.
Draped from the sword blades are what appear to
be ribbon ornamentations.
This medal is 30mm in diameter and
has been gilded. Gilding
was a rather common practice for officers of this period
as one didn’t have to polish the medal to keep it
looking proper once it was gilded.
The gilding was privately done at the cost of the
the top of the medal is a suspension eyelet soldered to
the edge of the medal.
Through this eyelet passes an un-fused ribbon
ribbon for this medal is an original period silk 33mm
wide light-red ribbon with three black stripes (with one
in the middle and two at the edges).
Each stripe is 6mm wide and the edge stripes are
1.5mm from the edge of the ribbon.
to the end of November 1840, a total of 9,796 war
veterans had received the medal for two campaigns.
Altogether, 26,686 medals for various campaigns
were known to be struck.
It should also be noted that award documents for
this medal are known to have been conveyed to
documents indicated the specific campaigns that the
veteran participated in.
Unfortunately, these documents are now seldom
Figure 4: Reverse of
the pair of Officer’s awards
The pair of awards
Of the 22 recipients listed above,
only one is believed to have participated in only two
recipients participated in a significantly higher number
of campaigns. Of
18 recipients whose campaign totals are known, the mean
is approximately 6.5 campaigns.
Oberstleutnant Wilhelm von Moltke only
participated in campaigns in 1814 and in 1815 as far as
is known. It
is therefore probable that these awards are some of the
very ones which were awarded to him.
Wilhelm von Moltke was born on
September 25, 1791 in
. He began
his military career on September 26, 1807 when patented
as a Secondelieutenant .
He was later patented as an Oberleutnant on
February 27, 1810, as a Hauptmann 2. Klasse on June 28,
1812, as a
Hauptmann 1. Klasse on January 29, 1813, as a Major on
June 3, 1813, and as an Oberstleutnant on June 12, 1814.
His last known patent was as an Oberst on
September 26, 1830.
He was also known to have received the Kingdom of
Württemberg Military Merit Order Knight’s Cross on
February 8, 1814, The Golden Honor Medal for the Battle
on February 1, 1814 at Brienne, The Golden Honor Medal
for the Battle on March 30, 1814 at Paris, the
Württemberg Service Award 1st Class for
Officers, and the Russian Order of St. Anna Knight 2nd
1836 he was the commander of the 2nd Cavalry
If these are indeed v. Moltke’s
awards, it is nothing short of a miracle that they have
survived, and it is a shame that his other awards have
not been kept together with these.
Of course, one cannot be certain that the medal
was awarded to the same recipient as the cross, or that
von Moltke was the recipient of these awards.
It seems however that such a conclusion is
likely, based upon the facts at hand.
v. Hessenthal, Waldemar Hesse Edlen Dr. und Schreiber, Georg. Die
tragbaren Ehrenzeichen des Deutschen Reiches. Verlag
Uniformen-Markt Otto Dietrich. Berlin, 1940.
v. Heyden, Hermann. Ehren-Zeichen (Kriegs-Denkzeichen,
Verdienst- und Dienstalters-Zeichen) der erloschenen und
blühen- den Staaten Deutschlands und
Österreich-Ungarns. Kommissions-Verlag von
Brückner & Renner, Herzogl. Hofbuchhandlung.
Klein, Ulrich und Raff, Albert. Die
Württembergischen Medaillen von 1797-1864 (einschließlich
der Orden und Ehrenzeichen). Verlag der Münzen- und
Medaillenhandlung. Stuttgart, 2003.
Van Uythoven, Geert. Wurttemberg
Officers Serving During the Napoleonic Wars (before
(8 November 2007).
© Lorin E. Stapleton 2007