garfordhouse

France Legion d'Honneur Awards from the First Empire

91 posts in this topic

Well done Garfordhouse. I'm glad that we could be of some assistance on this topic which is dear to my heart. By the way, the book refered to above in this thread, Insigne de l'Honneur, is excellent and highly recommended. I would be curious to hear Bison's input on this Willing information.........as well as Jeff's.

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ID: 52   Posted (edited)

Thank you Gardfordhouse, now we know what we are speaking about.

In my humble opinion, Col Willing made some confusions and one mistake.

The confusion is about the "Willing type 4". If we know some samples of First Empire crowns bearing eagles, they remain very very scarce. One famous example is the Aigle d'Or which has belonged to Cambacérés and which is in the LdH Museum in Paris (ref. O7818, shown in L'Insigne de l'Honneur page 134). . Moreover the side where the eagle is looking is not a criteria for a specific model because we find for every model eagles looking right or left. One can even find the Empereur looking right or left ! This is in fact and definitely a variation of the third type, even if I suspect this is a first type modified with an additional crown.

The "Willing type 5" is consequently a fourth type (if it is really the decoration of Maréchal Bessières which I am very doubtful, because it looks like a "Présidence" model).

The mistake is about the Willing model 6 so-called "Cent-Jours". There is no specific model established during this period (1st of March 1815 - 22nd of March 1815). First because I do not see any manufacturer reactive enough to produce a brand new design in such a short and turmoil period; second because there is an Imperial Decree dated 13 March 1815 stating that : "each member of the Legion d'honneur will bear his decoration as it was at the 1st April 1814", i.e. the fourth type. In fact, the model shown by Col Willing is definitely a variation of the fourth type and without any attached documents there is no way to know the exact year of issue.

This mistake has been replicated again and again and up to now to serve mercantile purposes. During the "Présidence" period (1848 - 1851), Napoleon III who was President at that time, officially re-established the fourth type, and some different details where made by the manufacturers, like the pendant ribbons at 6hrs (like the "Willing type 5"...). Some malignant sellers have used this "Cent-Jours type" denomination to screw ignorant buyers, selling at the highest price a "Présidence" model instead of a true fourth type model.

There are definitely only four types of the Légion d'honneur for the period of the First Empire. For further details, the best reference is the book "L'Insigne de l'Honneur" quoted above.

Edited by Bison

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I would add that actually, and strictly from a 'phaleristic' perspective, there are only two types during the First Empire.

The first is created by the Decree of the 11th July 1804 = first type.

The second is characterized by the addition of an imperial crown (without any official text supporting this change) = second type.

The third and the fourth types are only characterized by technical improvements, and not by important changes. In my opinion the third and fourth types are only variations from the second type.

Anyway, it is commonly established that there are four types...

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Hello Bison,

Thank you for your input on the Willing information. Did you see my question to you earlier in the thread about Colonel M. Dugue MacCarthy?

Jay

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Hi Jaybo

Yes I did but I don't know this officer, sorry.

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ID: 56   Posted (edited)

To all,

Here is my contribution to this fascinating subject.

I have an original copy of:

'Décorations France Et Colonies, Croix Et Médailles De La Guerre 1914 - 1918 Des Pays Alliés' edited by M. Delande, dated January 1934. As garfordhouse mentioned (post # 39) this volume has illustrations in black and white and a colour ribbon section.

In this wonderful tome of pictures and text it details the different varieties of the Légion D'Honneur. Over the following posts I will list the four pages of illustrations. There are corresponding entries for the medal illustrations in French.

There is a 2001 re-print available of the 1934 Delande book produced by PHV Phaleristischer Verlag Autengruber & Hrdina GbR, Offenbach am Main. It is in black and white with the corresponding ribbon section in colour. The paper used is of poorer quality and the illustrations are less clear.

Not being able to read French I will leave it to the experts to identify the differences.

I hope they are of use.

Regards,

Rob

Edited by RobW

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ID: 61   Posted (edited)

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 :

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:

Edited by Bison

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ID: 62   Posted (edited)

I confiirm the input from Bison abouth this subject

Guy

Edited by g_deploige

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ID: 63   Posted (edited)

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:

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-2068-0-62998100-1331464257.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-2068-0-00423800-1331464268.jpg

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:

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-2068-0-18016100-1331464282.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-2068-0-48428200-1331464317.jpg

The second is a head of boar, which indicates a guarantee of silver after 1839:

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-2068-0-83642200-1331464295.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_03_2012/post-2068-0-46495500-1331464307.jpg

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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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

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...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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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.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2012/post-2068-0-13784500-1335795461.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2012/post-2068-0-33173300-1335795480.jpg

Yours

Bison

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ID: 72   Posted (edited)

...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.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2012/post-2068-0-99232000-1335796040.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_04_2012/post-2068-0-45527700-1335796060.jpg

Cheers

Bison

Edited by Bison

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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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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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The reverse

Graf

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