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Legion d'Honneur Awards from the First Empire

Napoleonic Wars First Empire

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#61 Bison

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:56

I am afraid that Delande has replicated a mistake published in 1927 by Bourdier in "Les Ordres Français et les Récompenses Nationales".

What is noted as a Type 6 in Delande stands for a Type 4, and is in fact a "Présidence" model.

This confusion between the type 4 and the Présidence model has been made by Bourdier in 1927 in his book :
Attached File  Bourdier.jpg   47.22KB   48 downloads
His daughter Colette Bourdier, in a reprint of the book of 1977 corrected it by stating the two crosses of Knight and Officer were in fact from the "Présidence" period, and not from the First Empire.

The Bourdier's book, like the Delande's are based on one of the most extended collection known is the 20's which was the famous "collection Brouwet". This collection is today in the Royal Army Museum of Brussels.

I recommend, in addition of "L'Insigne de l'Honneur" quoted several times above, and for those who are really interested in the Légion d'honneur, to get "Les Distinctions Honorifiques de La Collection Brouwet" from Guy Deploige, edited in 2006 by the Royal Army Museum of Brussels. Guy Deploige and the Museum have made a huge study and precise examination of this collection and have rectified the mistakes made previously.
Below is a highlight of this book describing a mere Type 4 of the First Empire:
Attached File  Deploige.jpg   43.42KB   49 downloads

Edited by Bison, 11 March 2012 - 09:02 .


#62 g_deploige

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 09:52

I confiirm the input from Bison abouth this subject

Guy

Edited by g_deploige, 11 March 2012 - 09:53 .


#63 Bison

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 11:20

Here is an illustration on how we could confuse a Légion d'honneur from the Présidence period (1851 - 1852) and a Type 4 (circa 1809) from the First Empire.

According to the illustrations of Delande and Bourdier (see above), this model offers all characteristics of a Type 4:
Attached File  Presidence 1.jpg   40.85KB   24 downloadsAttached File  Presidence 2.jpg   41.33KB   27 downloads

But, with a good magnifier, we can observe two hallmarks, one on the ribbons at 6hrs, one on the cross on the top of the crown.

NB : That doesn't mean that all Présidence model have these hallmarks, this is just an interesting example. One can find all combinations of hallmarks and even no hallmarks at all.

The first one is a head of hare, which indicates a guarantee of silver after 1819:
Attached File  Presidence 3.jpg   7.22KB   19 downloadsAttached File  Lièvre 1819.jpg   4.11KB   15 downloads

The second is a head of boar, which indicates a guarantee of silver after 1839:
Attached File  Presidence 4.jpg   7.35KB   14 downloadsAttached File  Bélier 1838.jpg   4.93KB   7 downloads

The conclusions are obvious:
1. This model is NOT from the first Empire, but responds to the late regulation of the Présidence period which re established the Type 4;
2. The star was made before 1839, that is during the Restauration period.

This kind of assembly of different spare parts was very common during the period comprised between 1816 and 1852 due to the fact that the general shape has changed at least five times. Therefore some 'Legionnaires' have modified their insignia instead of buying a new one.

Some malignant or ignorant sellers have taken advantage of this (even in inventing a "Cent Jours" model which has never existed in my opinion).

In fact the price between a Type 4 and a Présidence model is absolutely not the same... and many collectors have been screwed, believing they have bought a genuine First Empire medal... And this idea is supported by the illustrations of Delande and Bourdier, but they have made a mistake!

Regards
Bison

Edited by Bison, 11 March 2012 - 11:33 .


#64 WRANGEL

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 21:42

Good evening Gentlemen,

Congratulations to Bison for making this important point clear to every one. I fully recommend too Guy Deploige's book regarding the Brouwet collection. It is a must have for every medals and orders collectors.

Cheers

Bill

#65 Jaybo

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 17:32

Hello Bison,
So how exactly does one tell the difference between an unhalmarked Presidence model from a genuine Premier Empire Type 4, if one can?
Jaybo

#66 Bison

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:01

Hi Jaybo,

The simple answer is that in 99% a true Type 4 has no ribbons at 6 o'clock. And the center is usually into two parts.

The full answer is that a Type 4 has a typical general frame which is visually different from those made after the Empire. The medals were manufactured with a different technique, in a more hand-made fashion.

Bison

#67 Veteran

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:58

A simple addition as to how to tell a 4th type 1rst Empire from a Presidency badge : the boar's head hallmark on a silver Presidency badge is ALLWAYS PRESENT. In those days there was non hanky-panky with hallmarks.

The other caracteristics as mentioned by both Bison and Guy are useful if you find no hallmark at all. Bison is absolutely right about the way earlier badges were "freshened up" by additions, substraction or substitutions of various parts in order to be made politically correct. This simply reflected the multiple political changes in France between 1804 and 1876 (nine at least)!
This is still possible : a medal collector I know, when he became a member of the Legion d'honneur in 1992, picked a very nice IIIrd Republic badge from his collection and had the centers changed....

All the best
Veteran

#68 Graf

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:52

Hi,

I like the Bison and Veterans info regarding the 4th Type of 1st Empire.
It is true tha we can see many so called "Hybrids" when earler models wre updated to be politically correct with the time
I have this nice 1/2 size Officer 4th type 1st Empire, with centeres replaced with those from second Restoration Period

The mark on the cross on top of the crown is "tete de coq"

Graf

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#69 Graf

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:13

I just looked the ribbons again -there is no any mark on them.

The question that can be asked is the presence of ribbons makes the LOH more complex "Hybrid"......or the crown is from First Empire and the cross ,including the centers, is from the Second Restoration. By the way, the back center has three Lilies

Graf

#70 Graf

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:23

...and that is another "Hybrid"
An officer from Second Empire, however the crown resembles the form of the Presidency period
The Cross is marked on the ribbons with an eagle head. ,,again this could have been politically corrected Badge

I might be wrong

Graf

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#71 Bison

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 14:18

Hi,

I like the Bison and Veterans info regarding the 4th Type of 1st Empire.
It is true tha we can see many so called "Hybrids" when earler models wre updated to be politically correct with the time
I have this nice 1/2 size Officer 4th type 1st Empire, with centeres replaced with those from second Restoration Period

The mark on the cross on top of the crown is "tete de coq"

Graf


Hi Graf,
Nice 1/2 size ! Thanks for sharing.

I have a very similar knight, but the mark is a "tête de lièvre" on the ribbons at 06:00. It shows a very similar crown, and I assume it is a 4th Type of the 1st Empire.
However, I think the star was manufactured later, like yours.
Your "tête de coq" (mark for gold in 1809) on the crown confirms it was made during the 1st Empire.
My "tête de lièvre" (mark for silver in 1819) on the star confirms it was made after the 1st Empire.
Attached File  Monarchie_de_juillet_demi_hybride_1.jpg   47KB   11 downloadsAttached File  Monarchie_de_juillet_demi_hybride_2.jpg   49.5KB   9 downloads
Yours
Bison

#72 Bison

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 14:28

...and that is another "Hybrid"
An officer from Second Empire, however the crown resembles the form of the Presidency period
The Cross is marked on the ribbons with an eagle head. ,,again this could have been politically corrected Badge

I might be wrong

Graf


Hi again Graf

Sorry, I think it is the reverse. Your crown is typical of the 2nd Empire and your star is a Présidence model.
Here below is a mere model of the 2nd Empire from my collection, you can check the differences.

Attached File  P9301617mini.JPG   43.1KB   18 downloadsAttached File  P9301615mini.JPG   42.95KB   21 downloads

Cheers
Bison

Edited by Bison, 30 April 2012 - 14:29 .


#73 Graf

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 21:22

Hi Bison,

Thank you for the comments fro the 1/2 size.
Thank you for sharing the Second Empire picture with us
Yes, You are right regarding the Presideny//Second Empire Hybryd
Although, I found the crown on this Hybryd to be more open, flatter and thinner than the usual Second Empire crown.
This is a picture of the Second Empire and the Hybrid together.
Sorry that the July Monarhy Officer is here as well, however it is a recent picture I took of the Three Officers
Too lazy to take another one now.
Regards

Graf

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#74 Graf

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:20

Hi
To come back on the topic First Empire - This is LOH Third Type is part of my collecction
The usual chipps of the enamels have been repaired I do not mind. Some collectors prefer not to touch the Orders at all.

Graf

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#75 Graf

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:22

The reverse

Graf

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#76 Graf

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:23

The mark on the ring

Graf

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#77 PJW

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 16:51

I have only just joined this forum but as a collector of the LoH up to a few years ago when my collection and study notesof some 20 years was stolen ( some 58 crosses, 11 were 1st empire, however I did save 2) but I noticed several people asking about how to tell between first empire and the rest , from a photo it is hard to tell but the main thing to look for is that all 1st empire crosses are the same size and thickness ie the cross is 37mm top to bottom and the thickness is approx 1 uk pound or 1 Euro coin,( ignore the crown) all other period crosses are approx 45mm. if this has already been pointed out by forum members please forgive,but I would finish by saying again it is nice to see an excellent forum on this subject

#78 Bison

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 17:14

I suggest you should pay a visit to the Musée de la Légion d'honneur in Paris. You would be surprised by the diversity of the 1st Empire models sizes and shapes.
Nothing was standardized at that time and each manufacturer used to make his own models, and this is emphasized by the number of different "types".

This is reflected in two brilliant books :
- "Les distinctions honorifiques de la collection Brouwet" by Guy Deploige (which shows for example models of the first type of 38,98mm, 39,07mm and 39,54 mm) ;
- "L'insigne de l'honneur" by la société des amis du Musée de la Légion d'honneur (which perfectly shows the differences between the manufacturers / jewellers).

For other periods the size of the cross varies too, according again to the manufacturer. Nowadays, the official size is 42mm max and 10mm min.

Therefore size cannot be an evidence for authentication.

Regards
Bison

Edited by Bison, 24 June 2012 - 17:15 .


#79 g_deploige

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 18:52

I comfirm the answer of Bison

Regards
Guy

#80 Ulsterman

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 13:14

Just to throw in some trivia- an English scholar has got his hands on the officers ranklists of the Imperial Guard from 1813-15 and is running some numbers. It includes some surprising LoH numbers. Stay tuned.





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