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Uffz. Rohleder

Venezuela - Cross of the Army

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Hello im looking for any informations about this award. But it seems kinda hard to find any informations about this medal. It was established in 1952

Maybe someone can enlighten me.

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The website Medal Medaille.com has illustrations they identify as a first class medal that represent the Cross of the Venezuelan Army. The words "Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano" (Cross of the Venezuelan Army) appears on the reverse of the central boss and the motto "Honor al Merito" (honor to [achieve] merit) on the obverse of the boss, bordered by a greenish enamelled wreath. The obverse of the crosses arms are red enamel and each arm terminates in 3 gilt balls. The neck ribbon is yellow with red borders. (http://www.medal-medaille.com/sold/product_info.php?products_id=1769)

If you read Spanish, the following site has more detailed information about the medal and additional illustrations. I would be happy to translate the information for you tomorrow, but am busy this evening.  This site has some apparent errors in naming this medal and incorrectly identifies the inscription on the reverse as "Fuerzas Terrestres Venezolanas" (Venezuelan Ground Forces), which is not the motto illustrated on the medals shown on this website (they also are embossed with "Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano").  

http://condecoracionesdevenezuela.com/militares-cruz-del-ejercito/

The motto "Fuerzas Terrestres Venezolanas" is illustrated on the reverse of a chest badge with a pin, identified as the 3rd class version of the decoration, but the miniature cross suspended from a ribbon that may be the 3rd class miniature has the inscription "Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano" on the reverse. More tomorrow. 

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Thank you very much!

i was offered a Miniature Cross made if 18k gold with red enamel. But I didn't know for what those crosses awarded for. I think if the price is right I will take it. If so I will post some pictures.

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Does the miniature match either of the illustrations on the condecoracionesdevenezuela.com website for the 1st Class award (with an additional even smaller cross on the ribbon) or the 2nd Class medal (with a rosette on the ribbon)? I can't tell the dimensions of the 3rd Class cross from the descriptions or photos or whether it has a miniature. 

Below is my translation of the descriptive Spanish text on the http://condecoracionesdevenezuela.com/militares-cruz-del-ejercito/ website for the Cruz del Ejercito. I have inserted a few italicized statements with my initials to clarify parts of the translation as well as a couple of notes, and observations from the illustrations on the website. In the Spanish phaleristics terminology (not my forte, and I apologize for some awkwardness in the translation, but some ambiguity may be inherent in the original text) the term venera appears to apply to the general form of the medal that I am glossing as "insignia", in the case of this award it has the same meaning as cruz (cross) or joya (jewel or jewels - that I am glossing as the physical medal) in the text; placa means a badge. The possible origin date of 8 December 1952 (see note in translation below) is interesting as it would be only a bit more than a week after the 30 November, 1952 elections which were a long delayed by the junta and appointed president Marcos Perez Jimenez after the coup of 1948, and only held in response to domestic and international pressure. The ruling party realized that they were losing the election and announced fraudulent results indicating their win on 2 December, 1952. The ruling junta resigned, handing power to the military who then appointed Perez Jimenez president (who had the sole authority to award the Cruz del Ejercito, the highest Army award). 

Translation: 

Cruz del Ejercito (Cross of the Army)

The decoration “CRUZ DE LAS FUERZAS TERRESTRES VENEZOLANAS” was created under decree No. 418 on 23 of June, 1952 [in the gallery of the website the creation date is identified as 8, December, 1952-RG], by the Government Junta of the United States of Venezuela, and was created to award distinguished service rendered to the Ground Forces (Army) of Venezuela.

This is the most important decoration of the army and comprised 3 classes. The President of the Republic, in his role as Chief of the Order, had the exclusive authority to confer the decoration, an act approved by the Ministry of Defense, previously voted on in favor of by the Council of the Order.

The medal of the decoration, initially issued in 18 carat gold, has the form of a Maltese cross with arms 27 mm in length enameled in scarlet red. The central portion bears a circle 18 mm in diameter bordered by a laurel wreath that is 2 mm thick and enameled in green. The obverse of the circle’s interior is gilt with the inscription “HONOR AL MERITO” in tall relief in circular form. The reverse of the decoration has the same form as the obverse, however with a plain gilt surface and carries in the center a laurel wreath [apparently without enamel-RG] and the inscription ”FUERZAS TERRESTRES VENEZOLANAS” in high relief in circular form [note that most illustrated examples bear the inscription “CRUZ DEL EJERCITO VENEZOLANO-RG]” on the reverse. The ribbon is of silk moiré in fire yellow with borders of scarlet red.

The medals of this Order, like those of similar crosses of other awards, were created in parallel [at the same time-RG] governed by a strict similarity in their regulated [form-RG] and although each possessed its own design, its presentations and component parts are identical. 1st Class: insignia worn on a neck collar, 2nd Class: insignia worn on the chest, and 3rd Class: insignia worn pinned to a ribbon. It is evident that the appearance of these four [sic-3?-RG) break with the classical scheme of presentation of insignia, not only internationally but also from the [Venezuelan-RG] Order of the Liberator [Simón Bolívar-RG] and the Order of Francisco Miranda, that consist [The Orden del Libertador and the Orden Francisco de Miranda-RG] of the 1st Class worn on a sash, 2nd Class worn on a neck collar, and 3rd Class insignia worn on the chest, which results in a divergence [from conventions-RG], especially for the 2nd Class, so that [the Cruz del Ejercito-RG] instead of having a badge or cross complementing the insignia, has [only-RG] the same insignia, resulting in a missing element that would give a harmonious presentation of the medal.

The manufacture of the medal was initially done by the company Russell Uniform [Co. of New York City-RG] and later by N. S. Meyer [Inc.of New York City-RG] (circa 1950-1960), and later was made domestically by several distinguished Venezuelan [jewelers-RG] and other local businesses. In regard to the design, there are several known variants with significant differences in the use of colors for the enamel of the arms of the cross, distinct form the scarlet red indicated in the decree. However it is likely that these were trial designs, so there are no known cases of the medal executed [authorized-RG] with such variations. In spite of these “curiosities”, the medal’s design has been maintained faithfully and exactly to the original design, only incorporating the changes in the name of this award. Accordingly, the medal [was first known as-RG]: “Cruz de las Fuerzas Terrestres Venezolanas” and later [as-RG] “Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano”.

Edited by Rusty Greaves
minor clarification

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Below are images of the Venezuelan Cross of the Army, Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano, from a website about Venezuelan military and civilian awards (http://condecoracionesdevenezuela.com/militares-cruz-del-ejercito/)

Additional website images can also be seen at the auction site Medal-Medaille http://www.medal-medaille.com/sold/product_info.php?products_id=1769

 

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Full set showing obverse & reverse of the neck badge on its ribbon; miniature cross, and ribbon bar of the 1st Class Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano

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Neck badge; miniature cross, and ribbon bar of the 1st Class Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano in presentation case

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Close-up showing the inscriptions and laurel wreaths of the obverse central boss (L) and reverse central boss (R) of the Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano. The obverse wreath has green enamel and the inscription "HONOR AL MERITO" (Honor to Merit-perhaps meaning "Honor to achieve Merit") The reverse has the cast wreath without enamel fill and the inscription "CRUZ DEL EJERCITO VENEZOLANO" (Cross of the Venezuelan Army). This is the same design for all classes of this award.

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Chest badge, miniature cross, and ribbon bar of the 2nd Class Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano in presentation case

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Obverse & reverse images of the chest badge of the 3rd Class Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano. Note the reverse inscription "FUERZAS TERRESTRES VENEZOLANAS" (Venezuelan Ground Forces) rather than the "CRUZ DEL EJERCITO VENEZOLANO". The different reverse inscription may be an earlier version name for this award. 

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Obverse & reverse images of the miniature cross of the 3rd Class Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano. Note that this example has the "CRUZ DEL EJERCITO VENEZOLANO" on the reverse, not "FUERZAS TERRESTRES VENEZOLANAS" 

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I think the illustrations from Condecoraciones de Venezuela of the 2nd Class chest badge, miniature cross and bar with rosette in a presentation was shown in my previous post above (http://condecoracionesdevenezuela.com/militares-cruz-del-ejercito/) may represent an example that is not authentic. The interiors of the "rosettes" on the ribbon for the miniature cross and bar in that image appear more like croquetted knots than standard rosettes seen in most ribbons (also see examples below). 

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Probably a genuine example of the chest badge, miniature cross, and rosette in presentation case of the 2nd Class Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano. Note the rosette without a bar, in contrast with the image on wikipedia and in some other examples that may or may not be authentic. This example was made by Huguenin of La Locle, Switzerland which was represented in Caracas by Graaven who manufactured commemorative medals and insignia for awards al in 18 k gold from ~1930-1960. They are a known manufacturer of this award. This is from a Russian language website that has collected images from other unidentified sources.

http://wawards.org/oldsite/america/ven/12/medal.html

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bar for the 1st Class Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano illustrated on Wikipedia. 

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruz_de_las_Fuerzas_Terrestres

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Possible authentic bar with rosette for the Cruz del Ejercito Venezolano from Wikipedia. Note the difference between the bar & rosette and the isolated rosette in the example made by Huguenin/Graaven

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruz_de_las_Fuerzas_Terrestres

large.5a1fad5dab3fc_3raClasebarra.png.ba84e3a9c728e026f267f27d01148bc1.png

Schematic illustrations of the bar for the 3rd Class Crus del Ejercito from a Wikipedia illustration

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruz_de_las_Fuerzas_Terrestres

Edited by Rusty Greaves

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thank you very much. Those informations a very very good.

Today I took the cross. The Gold test was positive and it's the heaviest miniature medal I ever had. Otherwise it's pretty dirty - but you can rub It of with a finger.

 

Here a uncleaned photo.

20171201_105503.jpg

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I recently saw an alleged Venezuelan Cruz del Ejercito full-sized medal advertised on eBay for $1800 (https://www.ebay.com/itm/18K-Yellow-Gold-Red-Enamel-Cross-of-the-Army-of-Venezuela-First-Class-/232194657943?_trksid=p2141725.m3641.l6368) that seems to have some anomalous aspects of the legends' lettering compared with most examples I have seen on other websites. The piece appears to be in excellent condition, if original. The medal is identified as 18 K gold, weight=37.4 g; with a diameter of 2 1/4 inches excluding the suspension loop. Other probably genuine examples measure 55 mm (~2 14 inches) in diameter and are identified as weighing 38.2 g (on a medal missing the suspension loop). The motto "HONOR AL MERiTO" on the obverse is in very tall relief (contrast images below with photo 3 in my post of 29 November, 2017). The form of these letters also is different from those in the detail photo above and all other examples I have seen images of on other websites. The reverse legend "CRUZ DEL EJERCIT0" also is in higher relief and uses a similarly different lettering style than other examples. Additionally the configuration of the legend is unusual. Rather than having dots bracketing each end of the word "VENEZOLANO", the word  follows "...EJERCITO" with no separation; the motto orientation is different - "VENEZOLANO" is not at the bottom; and there is an asterisk-like shape at the end of "VENEZOLANO" and before the word "CRUZ". This asterisk is in the central bottom portion of the legend design. None of these elements appear in other examples or on variants with the motto "FUERZAS TERRESTRES VENEZOLANAS". Also compare this reverse legend to those in the third photo of my 29 November 2017 post. I don't know if these anomalies suggest a different manufacturer than most genuine examples or if it might be a recent make that is not original. Any thoughts chamos

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Image from eBay of medal offered for $1,800. Note that the "HONOR AL MERITO" on the obverse is in very tall relief compared with other examples, and the form of the lettering is different.

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Lateral image of the eBay medal showing better the high relief of the motto "HONOR AL MERITO" on the obverse.

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The reverse of the eBay example showing anomalous aspects of the legend motto as described above and the position of the unusual asterisk mark at the bottom of the reverse legend.

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Lateral image of the reverse of the eBay medal showing better the high relief of the motto "CRUZ DEL EJERCIT0 VENEZOLANO".

Edited by Rusty Greaves

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Illustrated below is an example of an usual configuration for the reverse of the Venezuelan Cruz del Ejercito. This is identified as a 3rd Class medal of this award, which consists of the medal suspended on a ribbon. The laurel wreath on the reverse has green enamel in the same color as on the obverse. No other illustrated examples I've come across show this variation. The condecoracionesdevenezuela.com website translated above on 29 November, 2017 identifies most known variants as "trial" forms, primarily related to the red enamel color of the arms on the obverse of this medal and no mention is made of enamel on the reverse. This example is from a Venezuelan auction site Mercado Libre, the listed price is BS 300,000. Today's black market "value" of the Bolivar is at 255,900 to the US dollar (= an asking price of $1.17) thanks to the hyperinflation that Venezuela is experiencing.

large.condecoracion-cruz-del-ejercito-venezolano-3era-clase-D_NQ_NP_886130-MLV26569194264_122017-F.jpg.a9ea688b4344017c7ba99503b6c21143.jpg

Venezuelan Cruz del Ejercito, 3rd Class, obverse (https://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ve/MLV-508520379-condecoracion-cruz-del-ejercito-venezolano-3era-clase-_JM)

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Venezuelan Cruz del Ejercito, 3rd Class, reverse showing unusual configuration of having green enamel in the laurel wreath. Most examples do not not show enamel on the reverse of this wreath, only on the obverse. (https://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ve/MLV-508520379-condecoracion-cruz-del-ejercito-venezolano-3era-clase-_JM)

Edited by Rusty Greaves

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Here are a few additional variants for the Cruz del Ejercito. The first image shows a very different configuration of the obverse laurel wreath on the margin of the central medallion than seen in other examples, the reverse of this badge (2nd image) exhibits the probably older form of the inscription FUERZAS TERRESTRES VENEZOLANAS rather than the CRUZ DEL EJERCITO VENEZOLANO that is more common on most photographs of this award. The last images are probably examples of early obverse design variants of the award mentioned in the Condecoraciones de Venezuela website's description of the medal (also see the unusual reverse inscription) and would not considered authorized versions that were likely awarded to members of the Venezuelan military. 

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Image of the obverse of a version of the Cruz del Ejercito, possibly the 2nd Class, that may be an earlier variant versions or a modern manufacture of this award. Note the difference in the forms of the leaves of the laurel wreath on the medallion margin around the central boss compared with all other examples I have seen photos of, especially apparent in contrast with the close-up of the medallion design shown in the 3rd image of my post on 29 November, 2017. (http://wawards.org/oldsite/america/ven/12/medal.html)

large.5.jpg.b7d6b2e914940ea8abf0bd9002565901.jpg

Image of the obverse of a version of the Cruz del Ejercito, possibly the 2nd Class, that may be an earlier variant versions (or a modern manufacture?) of this award. Note the inscription FUERZAS TERRESTRES VENEZOLANAS and unusual relief sculpting of the laurel wreath border that is also present on the example illustrated in the 5th photo of my post from 29 November, 2017 that shows the reverse with the same inscription. The Condecoraciones de Venezuela website identifies this inscription as authentic reverse motto for this award. (http://wawards.org/oldsite/america/ven/12/medal.html)

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Variant trial forms of the obverse design for the Cruz del Ejercito showing non-standard enamel colors for the arms of the cross, probably representing early trial forms during the initial design period of this award as mentioned on the Condecoraciones de Venezuela website. (http://condecoracionesdevenezuela.com/militares-cruz-del-ejercito/)

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Image of the reverse of one of the variant versions of the Cruz del Ejercito shown in the last image that also exhibits an alternate reverse inscription: FUERZAS TERRESTRES DE VENEZUELA rather than FUERZAS TERRESTRES VENEZOLANAS  that is an authorized form of the reverse design on some (probably) early versions of this medal. (http://wawards.org/oldsite/america/ven/12/medal.html)

Edited by Rusty Greaves

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Images of the designs for the bars of each different class of the Cruz del Ejercito award can be seen on the Condecoraciones de Venezuela website's section on Ribbons & Bars ("Cintas") as the first 3 illustrations under "Componente Ejercito".  http://condecoracionesdevenezuela.com/identificador-de-cintas/

 

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Award ceremony presenting the 1st Class Cruz del Ejercito (the "Cruz de Las Fuerzas Terrestres Venezolanas") to Carmen Teresa Meléndez Rivas on January 10, 2014. Meléndez Rivas is a Navy Vice Admiral (first woman to hold this rank) and this award was given during her tenure as Minister of Defense. The presenting officer is Major General Alexis Ascensión López Ramirez, who resigned as head of Venezuela's National Defense Council on June 13, 2017 because of his disagreement with the creation of the controversial "Constituent Assembly" by Venezuela's president, Nicolás Maduro. 

(photo credit: Jesús Roa - http://www.noticias24.com/venezuela/noticia/216860/ejercito-bolivariano-otorgo-la-cruz-de-las-fuerzas-terrestres-a-la-ministra-carmen-melendez/)

mayor-general-cambio-descripci%C3%B3n-tw

Major General Alexis Ascensión López Ramirez showing the ribbon bar for the 1st Class Cruz del Ejercito: third row down, center. In addition to renouncing his position as head of Venezuela's National Defense Council over the creation of the ANC ("Constituent Assembly"), López Ramirez also expressed support in June 2017 for the ex-Fiscal General de la República, Luisa Ortega Díaz, who fled the country and denounced corruption of the Maduro regime. Both of these acts by López Ramirez (as well as those of Ortega Díaz) are the most visible defections by high level members of the Venezuelan government against policies of the Venezuelan president and his party supporters. 

(Globovisión-http://elvenezolanonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/mayor-general-cambio-descripción-twitter.png)

Edited by Rusty Greaves
error in a name

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Following the 3rd & 4th images in my post of 29 January, 2018, here are a few illustrations of another non-regulation variant form of the Cruz del Ejecito that probably represents early trial designs that were never authorized as official awards. This example comes from the Medal-Medaille website and has green enamel on the obverse arms of the cross (Condecoraciones de Venezuela calls this a Maltese cross; Medal-Medaille calls this a cross pattée; the Borna Barac guide calls a cross with 3 "facets" cross patonce), and a non-standard green & white ribbon. The reverse also has the same unusual inscription that appears on at least one other of the trial examples illustrated on 29 January. The Condecoraciones de Venezuela website mentions these variants; see the last paragraph of my translation above from 29, November, 2017. The Medal-Medaille website identifies this as a 3rd class of this award, but in all likelihood it is simply a design variant made either prior to June, 1952 when the decree for this award was issued or just after that date, depending on when its design was standardized for issue as the highest honor of the Venezuelan army. 

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Variant form of the Cruz del Ejercito that shows green enamel instead of red and a non-standard color scheme for the ribbon. This design form was never approved for issue as an award. (http://www.medal-medaille.com/sold/product_info.php?products_id=301)

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Close-up obverse view of the variant form of the Cruz del Ejercito shown above with the green enamel. (http://www.medal-medaille.com/sold/product_info.php?products_id=301)

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Reverse view of the same variant Cruz del Ejercito. (http://www.medal-medaille.com/sold/product_info.php?products_id=301)

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Close-up reverse view of the same variant form of the Cruz del Ejercito shown above showing the unusual inscription "FUERZAS TERRSTRES DE VENEZUELA" (as seen only on the variant form noted above on 29 January) that contrasts with the reverse inscriptions of the official versions of this medal that include the two variant forms: "CRUZ DEL EJERCITO. VENZOLANO." and "FUERZAS TERRESTRES VENEZOLANAS" as shown above in this thread.

(http://www.medal-medaille.com/sold/product_info.php?products_id=301)

large.VE101f.jpg.e55ba276b23d1a6bb400f10796378be9.jpg 

Close-up reverse view of the same variant form of the same Cruz del Ejercito medal showing the manufacturer's mark on the lower arm for N.S. MEYER INC. NEW YORK. (http://www.medal-medaille.com/sold/product_info.php?products_id=301)

 

 

Edited by Rusty Greaves

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