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Order of Merit


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Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic, 1946

As the Order of Merit of Hungarian Freedom was the first award created by the newly founded Hungarian Republic, the parliament made further intentions of creating a new order. It was determined that because the Republic had been successfully formed a new order was intended to ?show appreciation to those Hungarians and foreigners who worked to build and strengthen the Republic?. On September 14th, 1946 both the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic and the Merit Medal of the Hungarian Republic was instituted.

The Order of Merit was designed in five grades; the Grand Cross, Commanders Cross with Breast Star, Commanders Cross, Officers Cross and the Small Cross. In order to save on time and effort the Order of Merit utilized the same dies as the Horthy era Hungarian Order of Merit (instituted in 1922). The only modifications that were undertaken was the use of a tricolor shield in place of the Greek cross, nearly everything else remained the same.

Conversely the Merit Medal was broken down into three classes of gold, silver and bronze. Similarly to its counterpart, the Merit Medal was designed after the Hungarian Cross of Merit, (though they did not employ the wartime die) with the replacement of the Greek cross and the addition of a laurel wreath between the arms of the cross.

Both the Order of Merit and the Merit Medal were intended to be awarded in both a military grade and a civilian grade. The factor that would determine a military grade from the civilian would be the employment of two different types of ribbon. Both the military and the civilian ribbons were to be a bright red color. The military ribbon was to have a single, 7mm wide band of the national colors flanked by two small bands of white that ran in the center of the ribbon. The civilian ribbon was to have two 5mm bands, placed 8mm from each edge of the ribbon, in the national colors edged by two bands of white. Though the system was formed and ribbons of both grades were apparently produced, official records only denote the civilian grade of the Order of Merit and the Merit Medal ever being bestowed.

As each of the various grades used the old wartime dies the crosses all retained similar features. Each cross used for the Order of Merit was formed with a fire gilded silver base. The arms of the cross were finished in fire enameled white with typically a 1mm wide deep red enameled perimeter. The center of each cross on the obverse displayed a medallion with an enameled shield of the national colors. The shield was placed on a deep red enamel disc which was then encompassed by a green enameled wreath. For all grades save the Officer Cross, the arms on the reverse of the cross were also finished in fire enameled white with the red enamel border. However, the central medallion on the reveres was a plain fire gilded disk with the date 1946 stamped into it.

Shown above is the Commanders Cross

very nice - can I get a scan for my book??? PM me.

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