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I haven't seen many photos or post regarding the wear of ribbon bars with miniature devices for high classes of orders. Does anyone have such a ribbon bar in their collection or photos of this being worn. The Austrians commonly wore mini devices but I've heard Germans did also. I saw one photo of a Wurttemberg General wearing minis...

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For Prussia exists from 1914 the possibility to wear so called "Kleindekorationen" (small decoration) of high class orders: Black Eagle Order, Red Eagle Order 1st class and grandcross, Crown Order 1st class and Order of the Prussian Crown. These small decoration were not given by the Generalordenskommission, the decorated persons had to organize it by themselves and had to pay the jeweler for it.

Kaiser Wilhelm II. und Zar Ferdinand von Bulgarien wearing the small decoration of the Black Eagle Order:

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So whats te legal history of these mini's. Are they already mentioned in the Statuten of the order? I know they have been around since at least Napoleons time (pictures on the holland Order of the Union book by Schutte shows this)

I also have pics fro men decorated with the CHLO wearing mini's

Would like to know more about them!!

David

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Thank you ccj.

David M - I do not think that, at least as far as German decorations are concerned, minis have ever had any ?legal? status.

You are correct in saying that they go back to the Napoleonic era; and, I might add, that at that time they were in style in Russia and France as well.

As I have mentioned in other threads, as near as I can determine, Imperial German minis were strictly private purchase items; therefore ?legitimate? pieces came from any number of sources, which explains the range of design and quality which is often encountered - one could do quite a study on the 1870 EKII minis.

Gentlemen,

Since the subject of Kleindekorationen has been touched upon, I thought that another example, in this case a Kleindekoration for the Red Eagle Order 1st class, might be appropriate for presentation.

Best wishes,

Wild Card

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Thank you ccj.

David M - I do not think that, at least as far as German decorations are concerned, minis have ever had any ?legal? status.

You are correct in saying that they go back to the Napoleonic era; and, I might add, that at that time they were in style in Russia and France as well.

As I have mentioned in other threads, as near as I can determine, Imperial German minis were strictly private purchase items; therefore ?legitimate? pieces came from any number of sources, which explains the range of design and quality which is often encountered - one could do quite a study on the 1870 EKII minis.

Gentlemen,

Since the subject of Kleindekorationen has been touched upon, I thought that another example, in this case a Kleindekoration for the Red Eagle Order 1st class, might be appropriate for presentation.

Best wishes,

Wild Card

I have never seen one before. I'd love to someday find one to add to my collection. :beer:

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Remember that ribbon bars, as we think of them, were only 3 years old when the war ended, and were still evolving in Germany.

If the war had gone differently, Kleindekorations probably would have found some sort of statutory legitimacy. The sort of people festooned with too many neck badges and breast stars and sashes to wear comfortably were not running things after 1918, so it never happened.

As it was, the only example I can think of for OFFICIAL use of Kleindekoration devices in Germany were

1) the devices used to distinguish commander and breast star grades of the M1937-39 Red Cross Decorations and their M1939-45 Volkspflege replacements.

2) West German M1957 ribbon bar devices for earlier pinback or neck-grade decorations.

As a concept, Kleindekorations were a good idea, especially taking it the logical step beyond "medal bar" size wear to actual ribbon bar reductions. But this was not usually a problem faced by Mere Mortals.

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Maybe such deviant items were only used among the "allies" (such as the Austrians) as all shown are on kinky trifold mounts?

I don?t think so, Ed. Frankly, I?ve never seen a Kleindekoration on anything but a trifold ribbon. For instance, in the picture of Wilhelm in post #2, he is wearing a German uniform with all German decorations. If, instead he was wearing one of his (honorary) Austrian uniforms, the trifold ribbon would seem appropriate. Beyond that, all examples that I have seen for sale over the years have had the trifold ribbon.

The trifold ribbon just seems to be a specific part of the design of these decorations. For what it?s worth, my theory is that it was felt that a trifold ribbon provided a more secure base to which the star could be attached and a better field upon which to display it.

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I would think a few ribbon bars exist with kleiner dekorations will be out there somewhere. The were plenty, maybe too many, royals in the army.

Not exactly. Remember that these are private purchase items so how many exist depends upon how many who were eligible chose to buy them. Also, these decorations are ?stand alone? items which are not connected to, or part of, any ribbon bar.

Lastly, with regard to your reference that ?The were plenty, maybe too many, royals in the army?, these decorations were available to anyone who had the Black Eagle, Order of the Prussian Crown and/or Red Eagle grand cross or first class; and as such were not limited to royals.

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I feel responsible for some confusion when I went :off topic: mixed up the Prussian Kleindekorationen, when there was a question about miniature devices on ribbon bars. I do not know much about the last ones, but I think, they were nonofficial.

The Kleindekorationen were official decorations, but the persons with the "normal size decorations" had to buy them private. The Kaiser decided in that way in January 1914 and instructed the General-Ordenskommission to inform all persons, wich got up to that time the Black Eagle Order, the grand cross or 1st class REO, the Crown Order 1st class and the Order of the Prussian Crown that they are allowed to wear these decorations in a special small size. There were samples of these Kleindekorations made by Godet. All the above mentioned persons got a written information with a picture of the Godet sample and with a sketch how to wear the decoration.

All these Kleindekoration are very rare, because there was only a time of four years for Imperial Germany left. In this time of war it was political correct to wear the plain EK on the uniform, but not the shiny small decorations. Additionaly only the persons with the highest classes of the prussian orders were allowed to wear these Kleindekorationen and that were only few in comparison to the mass of war decorations of that time. And the last point was the price. It must have been a little fortune and not everyone could afford that or want to spend money for that glitter in war times.

(information and pics from Henning Volle in Orden&Militaria Journal 43/1981)

With regards, Komtur.

Edited by Komtur
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Komtur hits the point to clear things up.

"Kleindekoration" in Prussia means exactly that medal bar sized Crosses on trifold ribbons for the 1st classes and Grand crosses for the Prussian Orders.

The wear of Mini devices for higher grades on Ribbon bars were never official for German awards until 1957, except the Volkspflege and Olympic awards, but it WAS official for foreign awards already in the 30ies.

Anyway, a good couple of people, even "mortals" did so.

Claudio has a very nice ribbon bar from a Sachsen-Weimar Prince with 3 Mini Stars of Thuringian States Grand crosses on it.

We have seen here the ribbon bars of General von Dincklage-Campe wearing at least 6 ribbons representing higher classes normally worn around the neck.

In the Military Museum in Dresden is the grouping of General Ernst Gruson, also wearing 3 Commander classes on the ribbon bar but not with stars, just with devices like for a knights cross.

Here is one example like this.

This bar shows on the 7th position a Bulgarian Alexander with silver device.

The W?rttemberg Crown Order on 3rd Pos. indicates a wartime MAjor, the bar is wartime only, so no old peacetime awards are shown. So the only possibility is, that the Bulgarian is not a Lieutentants-level Knights cross of the Alex, but a Commanders "Kleindekoration".

Best regards

Daniel

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and here an example from the 30ies to wear foreign higher classes on the ribbon bar.

This guy had a Finnish White Rose Commander, an Italian Croand Commander of the Crown Order, properly shown by 2 golden crowns, and a Hungarian Grnad Commander of the ORder of Merit.

Unfortunately the unsual Rosettes at the Finnish and Hungarian Ribbons have fallen off, but I nkow the ecaxt classes, because I know the whole Grouping.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yes sure, that's the Kaiser - wearing a "Verdienstkreuz f?r Kriegshilfe" ... :speechless1:

The star below the Black Eagle order-Kleindekoration seems to be the Hohenzollern house order .... but shouldn't this star be on the other breast? Oh Kaiser, didn't you know ...

:speechless:

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