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Rusty Greaves

Question about the Order of Ismail/Nishan al-Ismail

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Gentlemen, 

My wife's great grandfather was awarded the Order of Ismail/Nishan al-Ismail during his time in Egypt sitting as a judge on the Mixed Courts in Cairo from 1911-1936. He was awarded this honor in the Grand Officer class, probably at the termination of his judicial career on the District Courts. I have not found any reliable translation of the inscription on the central boss. Edward Haynes' International Electronic Phaleristic Encyclopedia suggests that it may simply be the name of the order, but that statement has multiple question marks and also indicates there might be an additional inscription. May I trouble someone with interest to help translate the inscription on this medal? The medal is currently in a glass mounting and I am not yet privileged to open that frame so my photos of his breast and neck stars contain too much reflection. I am attaching 2 images of the breast star from a past auction through the eMedals website. 

Many thanks,  Rusty 

large.5a02805a8af1d_order_of_ismail1.jpg.04c0e6ffb326ae2aafae8cb0448b41a1.jpglarge.5a02807709b61_order_of_ismail2.jpg.4ab1a7910fe2b2d15731cfe7a294e80e.jpg

Edited by Rusty Greaves
grammatical correction

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The central inscription simply says ISMAIL "اسماعيل" in a very stylized calligraphic script. The order was named after Khedive Ismail I, also known as Ismail the Magnificent who ruled Egypt from 1863 to 1879 and is created with building a large portion of "modern" Cairo, as well as other modernization projects. He once famously stated "My country is no longer in Africa, but has become a piece of Europe".  

Edited by Egyptian Zogist

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Egyptian Zogist, Thank you for taking the time to translate and post this. As always, I am indebted to you for your help with my question and generous sharing of information! 

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Unlike the other items I have commented on here in GMIC, there is significant amount of information about the Order of Ismail. I have put together the following image groups based on research over the last year finding descriptions of the Order's regalia and trying to match them with images available primarily from auction sites, Picssr, and Flickr. I am still uncertain whether there were four classes or five (see discussion below). If there is a 5th class, I do not know what the breast badge looks like, if a breast badge is the correct insignia. 

The Order of Ismail (Nishan al-Ismail), created by Sultan Husain Kamil in 1915 to reward eminent services to the state. Revised by Royal Order 96 of 1922 and by Royal Order No. 48 of 1926.

Awarded in four (5? See below) classes (1. Grand Cordon - limited to thirty recipients, 2. Grand Officer - seventy five recipients, 3. Commander - one hundred and fifty recipients, and 4. Officer - three hundred recipients). There may be a 5th class identified as Knight. The Order of Ismail became obsolete in 1954 (some sources suggest 1952?). All of the illustrations and information I have seen identify that the maker was J. Lattes, a businesses in Cairo (and Geneva) that was located near the European quarters in Cairo (likely French-trained or expatriates). This medal does occasionally turn up on auction sites.

Journal of the Orders and Medals Society of American (JOMSA) article : Vol 57 (4) 2006 Pg: 20: “This Order was instituted by Royal Decree 96 of 1922 and subsequently modified by Royal Decree 48 of 1926. It was named after Khedive Ismail (reigned 1863-1879), the great-great-grandfather of King Farouk. He was considered a great modernizer, and presided over a period of great advancement in Egypt, (Suez Canal opening, industrialization, military expansion into Sudan and East Africa, all fuelled by a boom in cotton prices brought about by the American Civil War), but he massively overstretched Egypt’s budget, was forced to sell Egypt’s shares in the Canal to Britain, and the British and French essentially took over the running of the country. This led to popular unrest, and the Ottoman Sultan dismissed Ismail and appointed his son Tewfiq as Khedive. The Order was awarded to those who rendered eminent services to the nation.”

First Class or Grand Cordon - breast star worn left side, sash and sash badge. Limited to 30 members, excluding royalty and foreign recipients

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Order of Ismail, Grand Cordon breast star, obverse (https://www.emedals.com/africa/egypt/order-of-ismail-1915-w01271JOMSA 2006 57 (4):20 description: Breast Star: A five-pointed blue enamelled star with ball finials superimposed upon a circular multi-rayed diamond faceted star. In the center of the star a circular wreath encompassing the Arabic name "Ismail." The star is 84mm in diameter.

large.5a0a02829c29b_order_of_ismailrev_1.jpg.8cc32b816c217a4d95b9952a9e8c9c4b.jpg

Order of Ismail, Grand Cordon breast star, reverse showing Lattes maker mark (https://www.emedals.com/africa/egypt/order-of-ismail-1915-w01271)

large.5a0a02a9f1cff_OrderofIsmailsash.jpg.52d7552fc64e1e7aec1310b23a7c25d8.jpg

Order of Ismail, Grand Cordon, sash and badge (https://www.emedals.com/africa/egypt/egypt-order-of-ismail-w0269)

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Order of Ismail, Grand Cordon badge, obverse (https://www.emedals.com/africa/egypt/egypt-order-of-ismail-w0269). JOMSA 2006 57 (4):20 description: Badge: A five-pointed blue enamelled star with ball finials with the addition of a crown suspension affixed to the uppermost arm of the star. The badge is 62 mm excluding suspension and 62 mm x 82 mm including suspension. The dark blue sash is 100 mm in width with a 9 mm red edge stripe inset 2 mm from each edge.

large.5a0a02d0c7a7b_OrderofIsmailbadgereverseb.jpg.e834e220b3280ff1a105af157901642f.jpg

Order of Ismail, Grand Cordon badge, reverse showing Lattes mark (https://www.emedals.com/africa/egypt/egypt-order-of-ismail-w0269)

 

Second Class or Grand Officer - breast star worn right side and neck badge. Limited to 75 members

large.5a0a033a2a3e6_OrderofIsmailGrandOfficer.jpg.1559075bba5121cd2f27581e0a98b793.jpg

Order of Ismail, Grand Officer neck badge (above) and breast badge (below). The neck ribbon is 37 mm in width and 5 mm stripes inset 1 mm from each badge. Otherwise the same dimensions, construction, and materials as the Grand Cordon (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kelisli/8844318688)

 

Third Class or Commander - neck badge. Limited to 150 members

large.5a0a0362979b2_OrderofIsmailCommander.jpg.67a5c82758f77009a1fa19b5cca8508f.jpg  

Order of Ismail, Commander, neck badge (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kelisli/3051549594)

 

Fourth Class or Officer - breast badge with ribbon rosette. Limited to 300 members. The JOMSA 2006 article identifies the Fourth Class as "Knight"

large.5a0a03e1cb6dd_OrderofIsmailOfficer.jpg.649550e9790512fa96888a300f82155e.jpg

Order of Ismail, Officer, neck badge with rosette (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kelisli/3052095308)

 

Fifth Class Knight - breast badge A fifth class is listed by Edward S. Haynes IEPE website as “Knight” (https://web.archive.org/web/20080801014835/http://faculty.winthrop.edu/haynese/medals/egypt.html). That site lists the five classes as: Grand Cordon; Grand Officer; Commander; Officer; and Knight, but no limit on membership is identified for the Knight Class. The JOMSA 2006 article only lists 4 classes: 1st - Grand Cordon; 2nd - Grand Officer, 3rd - Commander; and 4th- Knight, with the 4th Class being identified as limited to 300 members. I have not found an image of the breast badge that is clearly identified as a Knight Class badge.

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Presentation case lid exterior for Order of Ismail, unspecified class, 137 mm x 288 mm x 56 mm (https://www.emedals.com/africa/egypt/egypt-order-of-ismail-case-w0270)

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Interior of lid of presentation case for Order of Ismail, unspecified class (https://www.emedals.com/africa/egypt/egypt-order-of-ismail-case-w0270)

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Image of King Farouk I wearing the Order of Ismail (to the R of the Order of Mohammad Ali and above the Order of the Nile (https://www.flickr.com/photos/27031646@N08/2888072072)

Edited by Rusty Greaves
minor grammatical edit

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Just a small correction, Khedive Ismail was King Farouk's grandfather, directly. His father Sultan (later King) Fouad was Khedive Ismail's seventh son. Fouad succeeded his brother Hussein Kamel as sultan in 1917.

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Egyptian Zogist, Thanks of that genealogical correction, the quoted JOMSA article also incorrectly identifies the origin of the Order of Ismail as  "instituted by Royal Decree 96 of 1922"  although it was established by Sultan Husain Kamil in 1915.

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I just remembered that I have an issue of a bilingual Arabic-English magazine for modern Egyptian history enthusiasts that discussed the orders, decorations, and medals of the monarchy era. Here is the section on the order of Ismail, I apologize for the quality of the photos. 

The source given for the information is the "Royal Protocols, Abdine Palace, 1952". I'm not sure if the illustrations are from the Royal Protocols book or if they were from the manufacturer (Maison Bichay in Cairo). Let me know if you'd like to see the other decorations in the magazine, I'll try to take better quality photos of the pages. 

Photo0018.jpg

Photo0019.jpg

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Egyptian Zogist, Many thanks of this information! I am very interested in what you provided, and would like to see the other bilingual information. It does appear in what you illustrated that only 4 classes are identified for the Order of Ismail and the 4th class is Officer and not Knight. I would like to look at these more carefully to know if the insignia I have tried to illustrate are correct for each the four classes. As I mentioned, I have put these together from a range of sources and the attribution of each classes regalia is not entirely clear or consistent when presented as single items on auction sites or illustrations on some of the websites I have gotten them from for my research. I am not currently investigating other Kingdom period awards, although I have become interested in them because of the work trying to identify the Abbas Hilmi II commemorative medal, the Mixed Courts judges' badges, and the Order of Ismail regalia. As I mentioned, all of the Order of Ismail medals I have seen were made by Lattes. The circular the Jeweler's Circular mentions Egyptian jewelers in part II of an article by Chas Crossman begun on June 23, 1897 page 41, 44 that is continued on July 14, 1897 on pages 8-9 with a mention of the shop of J. Lattes at the margin of the foreigner’s quarter on pg 9. The article continues on another date, but I have not located those pages in the scanned version of this circular I found online from Google books. Crossman was visiting Egypt and making observations on local jewelers as well as other tourist topics. For the other items I've written about here on GMIC, the Abbas Himi II commemorative medal was made by Tewfick Bichay of Cairo, and the Mixed Courts' Judges badges were made by a number of different jewelers (Froment Meurice of Paris, Stobbe of Alexandria, and probably other Egyptian jewelers as well), and some genuine examples of those badges do not have any maker marks.  

large.5a0b22fda6768_InsigniaofaCommanderoftheOrderofIsmail.jpg.c04dea16a346bbc328577f9387b84cf0.jpg

neck badge of the Order of Ismail, Commander class, in presentation box with Lattes maker name inside lid

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Lattes name inside presentation box, order not specified in original Picssr image

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another versions of the Lattes name inside a presentation box, order not specified in original Picssr image

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neck badge (above) and breast star (below) of the Order of Ismail, Grand Officer class, in presentation box for Dr. Giovanni Quirico, an Italian physician. The breast star in this example has apparently been taken apart and re-assembled with a rotation of the gold star in relation to the multi-rayed diamond faceted star below it, representing an incorrect final configuration of the breast star (https://www.coins-la-galerie-numismatique.com/sites/default/files/Auction-image/2017-03/720-9.jpg)

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Envelope for award document of Order of Ismail, 2nd Class, Grand Officer, to Dr. Giovanni Quirico (https://www.coins-la-galerie-numismatique.com/sites/default/files/Auction-image/2017-03/720-9.jpg)

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award document for the Order of Ismail, 2nd Class, Grand Officer, to Dr. Giovanni Quirico (https://www.coins-la-galerie-numismatique.com/sites/default/files/Auction-image/2017-03/720-8.jpg)

Edited by Rusty Greaves
minor grammatical edit

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Egyptian Zogist,  I did just find an example of the Order of Ismail, 3rd class, Officer's badge that may have been made by Tewfick Bichay. The illustration shows this badge in a presentation box that has the name of Bichay inside the lid. I am surprised as there are many illustrations on auction sites showing the reverse of the breast and neck badges, and they all show the J. Lattes jewelers' hallmark. I have seen no unmarked badges nor any with marks other than Lattes. Of course, this badge could have been placed in a Bichay case, but perhaps some of them were made by Tefck Bichay in Cairo as well. 

I also am currently checking with a friend who is descendant from the Egyptian royal family regarding the variation in reported dates in different published sources for the origin of the Order of Ismail (1915 by Sultan Hussein Kamil or 1922 by King Fuad I). I also am checking when the Order of Ismail became obsolete as both 1952 and 1954 are reported in different sources. 

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Order of Ismail, 3rd class, Officer, badge with rosette ribbon in presentation case. This example is the only I have seen that was made by Tewfick Bichay of Cairo, all other examples I have come across were made by Lattes of Paris (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dereenb/8059318294)

Edited by Rusty Greaves

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