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Tunisian Nishan-i-Iftikhar... difference between knight classes?

Great Dane

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Greetings all,

The Tunisian Nishan-i-Iftikhar (or Nishan Iftikhar) came in 6 classes (at least in the 1920-30s period), and I'm trying to figure out what the difference in appearance is between the two knight classes (5th and 6th class).

Class 4 (Officer) has red/green enamelled rays and a rosette on the ribbon, but class 5 (Knight I) and 6 (Knight II) both seem to be without enamel on the rays but still have green enamel on the center medallion.

I have looked in auction catalogs with pictures of 5th and 6th class, but they look completely identical!

Does anybody know what the difference is between 5th and 6th class?


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5th class statutorily with enamel star rays & center, no rosette on ribbon, 6th class without any enamel.

Pieces exist without enamel star rays but with enamel centers--usually with "Ali" monogram: said to be 6th class or manufacturer varients.

Edited by 922F
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But I'm still confused...

As an example, take this website: http://www.royalark.net/Tunisia/orders.htm

Here is the description of the photo below (note that he calls 1. class "Superior class", 2. class is "1. class" etc.):

"Nishan al-Iftikhar, Type III - Fourth Class or Knight (Ali Bey) (L) and Fifth Class or Knight class II (Sadiq Bey) (R )."


To me they seem quite identical (apart from the monogram of course)...?


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Sorry my comment #2 above transposed 6th class insignia descriptions. 'Actual' observed insignia description seems as 5th class with enamel center and 'star' points, 6th class with an enameled center but lacks enamel on the 'star' arms. Pieces sometimes called 6th class or 'varient' have no enamel at all.

Statutes in French and Arabic exist somewhere on web but cannot locate them now--maybe in a Sabretache or related document? When class structure expanded (1855 & 1898?) insignia design changed.

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichan_Iftikhar#Insignes_de_l.27ordre_et_leurs_ports offers the following data ca. 1898-1957.

  • Les insignes se composent :

    • d'un insigne, une étoile en argent à dix branches à décors de pointes de diamant, avec une étoile superposée à dix branches émaillées et alternées vert et rouge. La bélière est formée par un nœud en argent. Le centre d'émail vert porte le monogramme du bey régnant.
    • d'une plaque, qui reprend la forme de l'insigne à vingt branches non émaillées.
    • d'un ruban vert aux deux liserés de rouge.

    Le port s'effectue de la façon suivante :

    Grand-cordon comprend un cordon passé de l'épaule droite à hanche gauche portant un bijou à l'extrémité, ainsi qu'une plaque portée au côté gauche ;
  • Grand officier comprend une plaque portée au côté droit ;
  • Commandeur comprend un insigne porté en sautoir ;
  • Officier comprend un insigne porté sur la poitrine gauche, avec un ruban à rosette ;
  • Chevalier de 1re classe comprend un insigne à branches non émaillées [my emphasis] porté sur la poitrine gauche, à un ruban ;
  • Chevalier de 2e classe est identique à la précédente mais sans émail au centre [my emphasis]. .

According to this description, Knight lst class has a ribbon without rosette and unenameled 'star' points but an enameled center and Knight 2nd class has a ribbon without rosette and no enamel at all.

However, almost all knight lst class insignia seen with bestowal documents (1920s-40s) have enameled star arms and centers. c.f. http://www.expertissim.com/decorations/tunisie-ordre-de-nichan-iftikhar-o130110.html?parent=L25vcy1vYmpldHMtZC1hcnQtZXQtYW50aXF1aXRlcz9xPW5pY2hhbg%3D%3D#image and http://gmic.co.uk/index.php/topic/34641-medal-nichan-iftikhar-ou-nichan-al-iftikhar/

So the difference between officer and knight first class grades appears to be just a rosette on the ribbon

Also, most knight 2nd class insignia seen with bestowal documents (1920s-40s) have enamel centers with unenameled star arms. This indicates the difference between knight lst class [enameled 'star' points] and knight 2nd class no enamel on 'star' points.

Most persons decorated with this order bought their insignia which likely accounts for possible confusion. Ribbons could easily be changed in any case.

In sum, the1898 statutes will answer your question, when we find them!

Edited by 922F
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Even without the statutes, you have been a great help!

Thnks so much, 922F :jumping:

My reason for asking is, that I have this guy who - according to the Danish state- and court handbook (which of course could be wrong) - was awarded the 6th class of this order. I don't have his actual order, but I have his miniatures which contain a 4th class of the order (enameled rays and rosette on the ribbon).

So this mystery could either be vanity on his side or simply confusion...


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