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My new acquisition:

The Order Virtuti Civili was planned in 1792 by King Stanislas Augustus as a civilian counterpart to the Order Virtuti Militari. An oval medal in gold and siver, inscribed "VIRTUTI CIVILI" was struck, but due to the partition of Poland it was never awarded.

In 1969 The Association of Polish Legionnaires revived the order as the top honor of the organization. It is awarded to individuals who have shown flawless moral attitude, civil courage and dignity in hard times, thus being an example to others. Until 1989 the order was conspirational. The order comes in two classes, as a gold and silver cross. Until 1989 the Gold Cross was awarded only to three individuals:

  • Pope John Paul II
  • Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, Primate of Poland (posthumous award)
  • Edward Smigly-Rydz, Marshal of Poland (posthumous award)
As you can see, the order is similar in appearance to the Order Virtuti Militari. The second class of the order looks similar, but it is in silver and without the surmounting eagle. The original ribbon was light blue with darker blue side stripes and black edges, but in the 1990s a new ribbon was adopted - similar to that of the Virtuti Militari, but with two extra red pinstripes along the black stripes, which are the colors of another decoration, the Independence Cross.

The first class of the order is a neck decoration, the second is worn on the ribbon on the left side of chest. The motto of the order is "DIGNITAS SCUTUM LIBERORUM HOMINUM" (dignity is the shield of free people).

Hope you will like it.


Edited by Lukasz Gaszewski

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Hi Lukasz, interesting piece. Whilst I knew about the Military version (Virtuti Militari) of which I have a nice example, I didn't realise that there was a civi version. very interesting. So is it an official or an unofficial Polish award?. It must be quite rare. Thanks for posting



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