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Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Unknown medal

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I Have been trying to identify this medal.  Can anyone translate the Arabic or even better does anyone know what it is?

My partner thought it might be silver, but I think it's marcasite?


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This is the Tunisian Order of Glory (Nichan el Iftikhar) from the reign of Ahmed II, Bey of Tunis, who ruled from 1929 to 1942. From what I understand, this order bore the cypher of the ruler whose reign it was issued in. Here examples of what each ruler's cypher looked like: http://www.emering.com/medals/img/tunisia/Cyphers2.jpg

The cypher says "AHMAD BEY"  (أحمد باي).

This example appears to be missing the enamel. Maybe it's some sort of trial cast? Interesting find!

Here's an older post I found on this forum that has some more information about this order, hope it's helpful!



Edited by Egyptian Zogist

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Were all grades of the order enamelled or was there a lower grade order/medal which was bare metal?  I assume you thought of that but it seems, to me, a likelier explanation than a trial piece.  Or an economy era manufacture?

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I have seen pictures of similar items noted, but most have been complete, with enamel and ribbons.  I saw one reference that if someone was promoted from second class to first class that their medal would have to be turned in, making the second class medal rarer and harder to find?  Would a second class medal have been without the enamel?

This example also seems to have a hallmark of a saracens head, or a single 'black boys head' on the reverse.  It's small, tiny but distinguishable.

I have wondered if this is a copy or, fake or bogus, but looking at the craftsmanship and detail, I think it's too 'fine'.  The top star has been riveted to the bottom star, beautifully.  The facets on the bullet/stud points are too good. This is not a cast piece, it's crafted.

I wondered if the enamel had fallen out, but there are no remnants in any nook or cranny.

Thank you for your replies and links.  Could this be a rare piece?


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Hello Carol,

This appears to be a Tunisian Nichan Iftikhir knight second class badge missing the suspension bow.  As Egyptian Zogist reports, the monogram seems to be Ahmed Bey, reign:  1929 - 1942.

Besides descriptions in specialist literature [Sabretache, Les ordres tunisien] several websites including The Medal Hound & Royal Ark mention this degree.  Hallmark is likely Minerva head not Saracen head---if so indicates French manufacture silver fineness depending on shape of punch outline [lozenge outline signifies .925 fineness; rectangle with curved sides, .800].    

Knight second class insignia appears on the market less often than knight lst class or commander grade in my experience.  Maybe  same degree of rarity as grand cross or grand officer.

Most awardees had to buy their own insignia for this Order, usually producing their brevet at the time of purchase.  Thus, the insignia was almost always the property of the holder not the State so would not be returned to Tunisian authorities.

This order could be awarded for services, including a donation to the State Wafq Fund.  Many Europeans received the Order for such donations, grade depending on the donation amount.  However, I'm not aware of more than a handful of knight second class awards for such donations. This degree usually recognized people like low-mid rank civil servants with 5-10 years honorable service.   A chauffeur at the Tunisian Residence in Paris received this grade in 1952 after 5 year's service, for example. 

Edited by 922F

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