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    Field-Marshal Archduke Albrecht's Commemorative Badge

    Elmar Lang

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    I think it could be useful for us all, a brief description of this very rare piece, then compared to the most encountered copy of it.

    This is a rather unique type of decoration -for Austria- because most commemorative signs were in the form of medals and/or crosses.

    On May 21st 1899, the Emperor Franz Joseph addressed a handwriting to General Piret de Bihain, expressing the idea to create a commemorative badge "to be worn on the right side of the breast" (...auf der rechten Brustseite zu tragen...).

    The very well known Jewellers Rothe prepared the prototypes and the one approved consisted of an oval laurel wreath superimposed with two crossed marshal's batons, and the crowned monogram "A" (for "Albrecht"); the fastening pin is diagonal.

    The original badge measures 59 x 41 mm; the material is silver.

    At the Austrian State Archive - Kriegsarchiv, it is preserved the transcription of the Emperor's decree and the list of the Officer's of the late Archduke's military entourage, comprising 33 names. The list was lately added with 4 further names.

    The german text of the institution's decree (from the copy at the Kriegsarchiv):


    eines Allerh?chsten Handschreibens vom 21.

    Mai 1899 an den General der Cavallerie Eugen

    Freiherr Piret de Bihain.


    Lieber General der Cavallerie Freiherr von Piret.

    Sie haben an der Spitze jener wenigen noch lebenden Officiere, welche sich des Vorzuges r?hmen d?rfen dem verewigten Feldmarschall Erzherzog Albrecht in pers?nlicher Dienstleistung nahe gewesen zu sein.

    Angesichts das Standbildes des Erzherzog-Feldmarschalls, will Ich dieser Auserlesenen anerkennend gedenken, indem Ich denselben ein ?Erinnerungszeichen? verleihe, welches auf der rechten Brustseite zu tragen ist.

    Wien, am 21. Mai 1899

    Franz Joseph


    ...and this is the recipient's list (also from the data at the Kriegsarchiv):


    Zu N.? 1171 v. 1899


    General der Kavallerie Eugen Freiherr Piret de Bihain

    Feldzeugmeister Philipp Graf Gr?nne

    Feldzeugmeister Zeno Graf Welsersheimb

    General der Cavallerie Andreas Graf P?lffy ab Erd?d

    General der Cavallerie Hilbert Freiherr von L?hneisen

    Feldmarschall-Lieutnant Victor Graf Dubsky von Trzebomislitz

    Feldmarschall-Lieutnant Alois Graf Paar

    Feldmarschall-Lieutnant Franz Sch?naich

    Feldmarschall-Lieutnant Anton Freiherr von Malowetz

    Feldmarschall-Lieutnant Johann Groller von Mildensee

    Feldmarschall-Lieutnant Ferdinand Freiherr von Franz

    Feldmarschall-Lieutnant Wladimir Freiherr von Spinette

    Generalmajor Guido Graf Dubsky von Trzebomislitz

    Generalmajor Ludwig Fischer-Colbric

    Generalmajor Stephan Szmrecs?nyi de Szmrecs?ny

    Generalmajor Wilhelm Graf Palffy-Daun ab Erd?d F?rst von Teano

    Oberst Ludwig Graf Breda

    Oberst a.D. Ernst Graf Chotek

    Oberst Viktor von Koller

    Oberst d.R. Lothar Freiherr von Hennet

    Oberst Josef Fajta

    Oberstlieutnant Theodor Hanke

    Oberstlieutnant d.R. Johann Freiherr von Bavier

    Major a.D. Emerich Kohl

    Major a.D. Franz Graf Lamberg

    Major in der Res. Ferdinand Prinz Lobkowitz

    Major a.D. Franz Graf Thun-Hohenstein

    Major a.D. Johann F?rst Khevenh?ller

    Hauptmann Anton Wahl

    Rittmeister a.D. Gabriel Graf Festetics

    Rittmeister d. Ung. Ldw. Nikolaus F?rst P?lffy ab Erd?d

    Oberlieutnant i.d.Res. Johann Prinz zu Schwarzenberg

    Stabsarzt Doctor Eduard Ritter von H?bl-Stollenbach

    (names added later to the list, with a different calligraphy):

    FZM Heinrich Freih. von Beck

    Oberlieut. a.D. Max Freiherr von Redwitz

    Oberstlieut. d.R. Rudolf M?riany de Markus et Datisfalva

    Major der Ung. Ldw. Zoltan Szabo.

    Now, the pictures of the original badge:


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    And now, last but not least, the comparative images of the original piece with the copy of Rothe & Neffe, made after 1918. One of these copies is already illustrated on Michetschlager's "Das Ordensbuch der gewesenen Oesterreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie" from 1919.

    The same type of copy, is illustrated also in Mericka and Prochazka.

    What's very visible, is the different angle of the batons' crossing, 90? for the original piece, and more "elongated" for the copy. Note that the copy, although differently "assembled" is made with the original dies.

    The original is at left.


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    Hi Enzo

    What an awesome badge :speechless1: , never have seen an orginal before with 37 issued most likely never will again. Thanks for posting the reverse, certainly they are night & day. The workmanship is absolutely superb on par with those wonderful Imperial Russian badges, perhaps the designer was Russian.



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    actually, I don't know who was the designer of this badge: the Russian ispiration is quite evident, but I think the prototype came directly from Messrs. Rothe's workshop.

    Let's see if any further information would emerge.

    Regarding the copy, I've forgotten to give its measures: 61 x 42,8 mm. The piece shown in the picture was bought from me, directly at Rothe's in 1979, and it's silver-plated bronze. Rothe supplied copies in silver too (too expensive for a then young student!), and lately I've seen such copies emerge on the market, struck with fake "old-Austrian" silver and manufacturer's marks.

    In this short study, I've described the only copy made by the former manufacturer; there exist also cast copies, moulded from an original piece, but I think that they can't deceive even the beginner.

    Best wishes,


    Edited by Elmar Lang
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