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Hello Gentlemans, knows anyone, what is this for order?

The breast star is made by Rothe, thanks!

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Dear Xtender,

A similar piece, if not this one, was offered for sale in recent years by Kuenker. The Arabic reads as "Al Kawkab Al Ahmer Al Arabi" which could translate as "The Arab Red Star". I am of the belief, from a little research and some supposition, the arms are that of the Khedive of Egypt and I believe that the order and a medal was instituted by Khedive Abbas Hilmi, possibly after his deposition by the British in 1912, whereupon he went into exile in Constantinople. As the breast star was manufactured by Rothe in Vienna I suspect that the Constantinople post-1912 theory has some substance, as the Ottomans were in league with the central powers. Regrettably I have no documentary evidence to support my theory.

Kind regards,

Owain

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Dear Xtender,

A similar piece, if not this one, was offered for sale in recent years by Kuenker. The Arabic reads as "Al Kawkab Al Ahmer Al Arabi" which could translate as "The Arab Red Star". I am of the belief, from a little research and some supposition, the arms are that of the Khedive of Egypt and I believe that the order and a medal was instituted by Khedive Abbas Hilmi, possibly after his deposition by the British in 1912, whereupon he went into exile in Constantinople. As the breast star was manufactured by Rothe in Vienna I suspect that the Constantinople post-1912 theory has some substance, as the Ottomans were in league with the central powers. Regrettably I have no documentary evidence to support my theory.

Kind regards,

Owain

Owain,

I would tend to agree with you, it's clearly not a Rothe collector's piece as it was produced prior to 1922. I suspect these were awarded by Hilmi to Germans and Turks hoping they would help him re-establish his position. Certainly the quality is good.

All the best,

Paul

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Paul / Xtender,

I am assuming that unlike the British system of marking silver and gold the Austrian system does not have a date mark?

I attach images of the medal I have which is clearly related to / part of this award. No makers mark though.

Kind regards,

Owain

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Paul / Xtender,

I am assuming that unlike the British system of marking silver and gold the Austrian system does not have a date mark?

I attach images of the medal I have which is clearly related to / part of this award. No makers mark though.

Kind regards,

Owain

Austrian silver marks were not dated. It is the style of marks for 1866-1922. Lovely Merit medal.

Paul

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Dear Xtender,

A similar piece, if not this one, was offered for sale in recent years by Kuenker. The Arabic reads as "Al Kawkab Al Ahmer Al Arabi" which could translate as "The Arab Red Star". I am of the belief, from a little research and some supposition, the arms are that of the Khedive of Egypt and I believe that the order and a medal was instituted by Khedive Abbas Hilmi, possibly after his deposition by the British in 1912, whereupon he went into exile in Constantinople. As the breast star was manufactured by Rothe in Vienna I suspect that the Constantinople post-1912 theory has some substance, as the Ottomans were in league with the central powers. Regrettably I have no documentary evidence to support my theory.

Owain,

I am sorry to run counter to your theory but I do not think this has anything to do with Abbas Hilmi.

While the three silver crescents on a red field do resemble the Khedivial arms before 1914, the latter actually had little five-pointed silver stars between the points of each of the crescents. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/kelisli/with/462467746/

Besides which, Abbas Hilmi was living in Istanbul under the very nose of his sovereign and fons honorum, the Turkish Sultan. So I doubt very much if he would have instituted any decorations himself. The reference to anything particularly Arab would also not be in keeping with loyalty to the Ottoman Empire.

By the way, Abbas Hilmi was not actually deposed in 1912. At the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, he found himself recouperating from an operation in his own yali at Istanbul. He thus had little option but to declare his loyalty to the Turkish sovereign. So the British, then in Egypt, deposed him in absentia.

Cheers,

James

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James,

Many thanks for your input and your comments are valid. I have a copy of the autobiography of Abbas Hilmi and at no stage does he make reference to any awards let alone one he has instituted in exile. My supposition was based on the Khedive's flag and whilst not wishing to trust all to Wikepedia I note the folowing quotation:

"Muhammad Ali did introduce one distinctive new flag which eventually became the first real Egyptian national flag. Perhaps to symbolize the victory of his armies in 3 continents (Europe, Asia, and Africa) or his own sovereignty over Egypt, Nubia, and the Sudan, Ali set three white crescents and three stars on a red field. (...) In 1882, Egyptian nationalists, seeking to take leadership in their own land by deposing the khedive, provided the pretext Britain sought for occupying the country."

I would though note that the lower part of the star does include three small five pointed stars and perhaps from a design / manufacturing perspective they were better placed on the rim than the centre of the breat star.

Accepting your statement we are left trying to find another source for this award. As noted the medal and the breast star would be part of the same award. The inscription is in Arabic and the breast star made in Vienna. I have perhaps been guilty of adding 2 and 2 and coming up with 5 as I wanted my theory to fit my conclusion. Ah well, what is needed is some documentary evidence to allow us to provide a firm identifcation of this mystery piece. I wonder if the colour scheme of the ribbon - black and red, can provide a clue?

As ever thank you for your input, two heads are better than one. Kind regards, Owain

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Owain,

While cleaning out some of my old files, this is what I found.

Unfortunately, I have not kept a record of which sale or vendor it came from. But obviously this is the badge of the same decoration.

What I do notice is that the shape of the badge is very much like the Johore Order of the Crown third class (SMJ). So the person designing this one must have been very familiar with the Johore order.

Cheers,

James

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James, you're spot on! The recent Hermann Historica (Collection Souyris-Rolland) December 2011 sale had what they described as:

"Malay Federation - Order of the Crown of the Sultan of Johore. A grand officer's set 1st type with 3 crescents consisting of breast star (diameter 89 mm) and a grand officer's cross (dimensions 85 x 66 mm), made cy CF Rothe in Vienna, both with several stamps." Lot 6006

Hammer price - 850 euros

(Photo: Hermann Historica)

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And here is the 2nd (current?) Type:

* the Collar

* Knight Commander's Star; and

* the Commander's breast badge.

This would have to be one of the most elegant and attractive Orders ever designed. Crown Jeweller J.W. Benson of Old Bond Street made many of the insignia and this is clearly evident in the craftsmanship.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2012/post-11630-0-17667400-1339194220.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2012/post-11630-0-69140100-1339194278.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2012/post-11630-0-82284300-1339194292.jpg

(Images from the OMSA Medal Database, posted by Megan).

Edited by drclaw

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Eng Leong of Singapore [aka Royal Insignia and other similar names] supplies The Most Honorable Order of the Crown of Jahore [Darjah Mahkota Johore Yang Amat Mulia] insignia since the late 1990s, if not before. This firm manufactures many other awards as well. Workmanship is of highest standard, including 'hot enamel' and hand metal finishing even today. The insignia images posted by drclaw above appear to depict Eng Leong manufacture based on the decorative element between the motto inscription words. [Marked Benson pieces have more distinct 'flower/crosses'.]

Wing Commander E.H. O'Toole wrote a "Medal Collector" article published in the 1960s fully describing this Order. This Order includes specific insignia for its officers. O'Toole and Haji Abdul Mubin Sheppard provided detailed information in their Malayan Orders and Decorations published in 1962. According to O'Toole, Benson stopped making this insignia in 1960.

That said, neither O'Toole/Sheppard nor Eng Leong personnel nor other published sources [e.g. Werlich, Burke or 'Royal Ark'] report any 'first type' insignia for the Order. O'Toole and Sheppard note that they had full access to all statutes and records concerning their work. GMIC post Royal Abu Bakar museum, Johor includes images of decorations displayed there. No 'first type' insignia for this Order appears there or on exhibition at the museum. [Last personal visit, April 2010.] I seem to recall a mid-1960s OMRS article, maybe by O'Toole, citing the Order statutes indicating that the insignia design remained the same 'since 31 July 1886'. Pictures of Sultan Abu Bakar, the Order's founder, available via Google show him wearing a collar like that in drclaw's post.

The sash accompanying Hermann Historica's insignia is not correct for the Order of the Crown of Jahore--correct colors shown in drclaw's image. That's not to say sashes cannot be substituted.

A photo of a star similar to the first image above appeared in a mid-1960s Klenau auction listed as 'unknown Arabic award'.

Without conclusive documentation for an Order of the Crown of Jahore insignia change, it appears that the pieces in question cannot be attributed to that Order. Owain's post [#5] shows a medal with design elements similar to the unknown star. That certainly suggests an avenue for further research.

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I am afraid that I have to agree with everything that 922F says.

The unknown decoration has nothing to do with Johore.

The design of the insignia of the Order of the Crown of Johore and ribbon colors have remained virtually unchanged since inception.

The Herman Historia description needs to be taken "cum grano salis".

Quite apart from the difference in design, difference in ribbon colours, and the fact that there never was a "Grand Officer" class, the transliteration of the motto given by Owain of "Al Kawkab Al Ahmer Al Arabi" (The Red Star of the Arabs) makes it completely unlikely.

The only thing we can say is that the designer of the badge of the unknown decoration must have been familiar with the Johore order. The breast star, of course, is in the classic pre-WWI "Germanic" shape, quite unlike the shape of the badge.

Cheers,

James

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James and colleagues,

The mystery deepens - the incscription is quite clearly Arabic and formally written with all the lesser vowel signs included. If it is of pre-Great War manufacture then I still believe that it has some form of Egyptian connection but of course cannot prove this. In 1911/12 the Khedive instituted a Bravery Medal to complement the service medal instituted by Egypt. It may be that he was also considering the instituton of an Egyptian Order - the three Orders of the Egyptian monarchy were instituted by Sultan Hussein Kamel in 1915 - Mohammed Ali, Ismail and Nile. As Sultan he had also earlier instituted the Order of the Felaha (Peasant/Agricultural Worker). The style of the medal has though a decidedly Ottoman feel to it.

Regards,

Owain

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James and colleagues,

The mystery deepens - the incscription is quite clearly Arabic and formally written with all the lesser vowel signs included. If it is of pre-Great War manufacture then I still believe that it has some form of Egyptian connection but of course cannot prove this. In 1911/12 the Khedive instituted a Bravery Medal to complement the service medal instituted by Egypt. It may be that he was also considering the instituton of an Egyptian Order - the three Orders of the Egyptian monarchy were instituted by Sultan Hussein Kamel in 1915 - Mohammed Ali, Ismail and Nile. As Sultan he had also earlier instituted the Order of the Felaha (Peasant/Agricultural Worker). The style of the medal has though a decidedly Ottoman feel to it.

Regards,

Owain

Dear Owain,

I don't know if the breast star is of pre-war manufacture. What I meant was the breat star was classic pre-1918 German design.

If it were a decoration instituted by the Khedive, why would it say anything about Arabs? The Khedevial family were of Albano-Turkish origin and the whole Egyptian ruling class were Turkish in cultre and sentiment. They turned their backs on what they considered as backward Arabs. They even spelled their names in the Turkish or French fashion. After all, wasn't the whole point of the 1952 revolution to throw out this so-called "alien", non-Arab ruling class.

Perhaps I would look elsewhere than Egypt. Hijaz under Ali Haidar, Yemen, or even Lahej.

Cheers,

James

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James,

Thanks for your comments. Yes, it would be wise to look further afield but I suspect your candidates may not be the answer:

Ali Haidar, whilst the proclaimed Ottoman legitimate ruler of the Hijaz after the Arab Revolt to replace Hussain Bin Ali, was very much bound to the Ottoman authorities and once the Ottoman ruling house had been deposed lived in increasingly difficult circumstances - his autobiography makes no mention of any awards other than his own receipt of the Orders of the Medjide and Osmanie

Yemen - the only awards for the Kingdom were two designs and a prototype by Bichay of Cairo for Crown Prince Badr in late 1950's / early 1960's - with the1962 revolution these plans came to nothing and the new Yemen Arab Republic awards - again by Bichay, were instituted for the goverment of Sallal under the "encouragement" of Nasser - Orders of Sab'a, Marib and Medals of Bravery and Liberation. These in turn became obsolete with the overthrow of Sallal and the next series commenced in the early 1970's and manufactured by Skinner of Bond Street.

Lahej - all the awards I have seen were locally made and appear to be one off items - an unknown breast badge from the 1880's or 1890's, the Order of the Morning Star (breast badge), the Order of the Brilliant Sun (breast star) and two medals commemorating royal visits. In the 1990's I met in Jeddah Sultan Ali Abdul Karim Al Adbali, (deposed 1956) then in his early eighties and very lucid, who stated that as far as he was aware no awards had been instituted in his living memory.

Other South Arabian States with awards were the Qu'aiti Sultanate with Orders (medals) of Distiction and Merit dating from 1948 and whilst a review of the orders was conducted in 1966 the communist takeover halted this process. The Kathiri Sultan was considering an order based on the badge of the Schlaraffia Club of Sarajevo but again the communist takover and the exile of the Sultan meant that this also came to nothing.

Early Omani awards are limited to the Nobel Saeedee Order of Sultan Taimour 1913/14 and the 1932 Accession Medal of Sultan Said - the next series of awards commenced in the late 1950's with a service medal.

The use of the word "Arab" may reflect the increasing nationalism and identity of the Arab world from 1920 onwards and thus our search for other candiates contiunes. Do you know when Rothe ceased manufacturing awards?

Kind regards,

Owain

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Owain,

The house of Rothe traced its business origin to 1834. Under the 5th generation stewardship of sisters Susanna und Elisabeth, the house continued an order insignia [and jewelery] trade at its Kohlmarkt 7 Vienna shop until a few years ago--maybe as late as 2008. They furnished new Golden Fleece insignia for the Hapsburgs and 'officially' retailed Vatican, among other, awards. The sisters sold a fair amount of second hand insignia and old stock pieces/supplies to collectors and museums. Depending on circumstances, the house supplied 'collector copies' of various awards from at least the 1950s-'90s, some complete with hallmarks dating from late 1880s to 1950s. Known mainly for reproductions of Imperial Austrian Orders, the firm could make insignia of any decoration from their extensive holding of dies. They produced Serbian, German and Italian 'States', Imperial Mexican and many other national award as well as society insignia 'restrikes'. Some of these were marked as copies and some not--some had 'correct' hallmarks and some not. Enamel and metal hand finish quality usually are the best guide to time period production for these items.

The sisters were charming, quite unassuming and very friendly; they dealt with inquiries most courteously, taking obvious but quiet pride in their family history and traditions. They graciously offered traditional Viennese coffee and sweets during lengthy visits. Grand ladies indeed. I believe that Elisabeth died in 2008 or thereabouts.

After the shop closed, the Austrian state records bureau [Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv] inherited and now conserves Rothe's document archive. Dealers bought Rothe's small remaining insignia stock as well as manufacturing dies; these have trickled onto the collector market ever since.

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Thanks for a most informative post - I had thought Rothe's had closed during or after WW2. All of our posts have been quite effective at closing off possible avenues of research - how frustrating. You remark that quality of workmanship can be used as an indicator of the period of production. The workmanship to me looks excellent and I would suggest pre-WW2. Similarly I believe the medal design also to be pre-WW2 and thus perhaps we can agree on the period of the award and move forward on this basis. James's image of a breast badge of the award with the crescent and star suspension to my mind further validates an Arabic source. The triangular ribbon if correct is a challenge, or is the green sash with red side stripes correct, or indeed the black, red, black ribbon of the medal?

Kind regards, Owain

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Owain,

I agree that the work quality of these mystery stars and badges appears to be pre-WW II & likely pre-1920. Rothe certainly made Ottoman Osmanie insignia; the badge suspension could well be a 'repurposing' of an Osmanie related existing die.

Marks [stamps] on the star pin are hard to decypher for me. I'd expect a "Rothe" and a "Wien" stamp. Cannot make out the mark nearest the pin hinge where I'd expect the "Rothe" stamp. The next stamp may be a "Wien" stamp. The next 2 small punches are a blur. Marks on the star reverse disc seem to be a lozenge [probably an Austrian metal finess indicator] & above that a repeat of one of the blur stamps. Some countries [e.g. France] require [d] that imported silver & gold items be 'controled' for metal fineness. The indecypherable stamps may be such marks?

I've found Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv staff in Vienna quite willing to assist; someone may be able to visit their 'Minority Place' office and review the Rothe archive for possible information???

Edited by 922F

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I have had a few more discussions with various North African Arab friends of mine about this Rothe "Red Star of the Arabs" decoration.

Several pointed out that the Arabic inscription is in a very bad calligraphic style which somehow resembles Moroccan scripting. Then another one says that he can possibly make out that it reads "el Hilal el Ahmar el Maghribi" (Moroccan Red Crescent). A third came up with this version of a Moroccan flag which was used until 1915 which, although on a green field, shows the use of the three crescents.

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James,

An interesting idea but the last word very clearly does not include the Arabic letter "M' and I would note that a number of my Arab (Saudi, Algerian, Yemeni, Lebanese) staff all agree the Arabic is very clear and well executed - indeed even with my limited Arabic the meaning is clear. Many Morroccan awards have poor Arabic inscriptions - no doubt a result of art work being poorly executed by the manufacturing jewellers. I suspect the mystery will remain.........there is an Arabic phrase "as saber al muftah al faraj" (patience is the key to success) and with all of us on the task I hope that sooner or later we will discover the truth behind this elusive award.

Kind regards,

Owain

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James,

An interesting idea but the last word very clearly does not include the Arabic letter "M' and I would note that a number of my Arab (Saudi, Algerian, Yemeni, Lebanese) staff all agree the Arabic is very clear and well executed - indeed even with my limited Arabic the meaning is clear. Many Morroccan awards have poor Arabic inscriptions - no doubt a result of art work being poorly executed by the manufacturing jewellers. I suspect the mystery will remain.........there is an Arabic phrase "as saber al muftah al faraj" (patience is the key to success) and with all of us on the task I hope that sooner or later we will discover the truth behind this elusive award.

Kind regards,

Owain

Owain,

Your answer is very interesting because my respondents are three Egyptians, two Saudis, two Tunisians (and one Turk to ensure it wasn't Osmanlica). They all agree that the calligraphy is abysmal. :o

Cheers,

James

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James, This is a good example of how lack of agreement on something relatively simple makes Arab agreement on any of the more important issues in tthe Middle East infinitely more difficult! Kind regards, Owain

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Gentlemen,

I am now reliably informed that the inscription reads, "Al kawakab al ahmar al gharbia" which translates as "The Red Planet in the West" or more succinctly "Mars in the West". Accordingly I would suggest that this star along with the badge and medal all belong to a private society and thus are not state or official awards. I have found no trace of this in ether English language or Arabic language Google searches.

Kind regards,

Owain

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