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Returning decorations in the first republic

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Orders were collected in in the first republic too. I don't know what happened to them, but I think they were molten...



(...) the (...) widow (...) should give back the golden knights cross of the Leopold Order until 14 days (...)

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Posted (edited)

Most returned, former imperial orders and decorations made of precious metal have been destroyed for the Republic's need of money, even those being part of the "treasure" of the former orders. Those surviving, were just the pieces destined to museums.

It needs to be remembered that even after the Anschluß of 1938, the "new" authorities tried to search and collect at least the collars of Imperial Austrian orders all around Europe.

I've been told by the heirs of the former owner of my collar of the Iron Crown (the family resided in Meran, Alto Adige - South Tyrol, Italy, after 1918), that immediately after the death, their family was pressured to give the collar back, but they replied with a declaration that the collar was lost in the closing days of the hostilities (gold was precious also to people!). Further attempts were made after 1938 and, in 1944, their home was searched by the Gestapo, with orders given by Gauleiter Hofer in the hope to find the collar, not believing the declaration of loss, would have been true. The piece was very well hidden elsewhere and survived the war, until arriving into my hands.

Thanks to the interesting document posted above, I think that many of such letters have been sent to next-of-kins or heirs of late persons awarded with orders. I can imagine that some could have tried their best to "save" their family treasures.

Best wishes,



P.S.: the von Rinaldini were from Trieste, since november 1918 part of the Italian Kingdom. It would be interesting to know whether the letter was sent to Italy...

Edited by Elmar Lang

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Hi Elmar,

that was very interesting, thank you for sharing with us. When I started collecting I thought the collars were only given to some grand cross recipients cause there are so few on the market...

It also explains the high prices for golden Leopold crosses, even knights class. Angelo Baron Rinaldini was born in Triest. But his wife was living, like him in Vienna, I suppose. He was Sektionschef in the k.u.k. Ackerbauministerium (agricultural ministry)

 If you have more information about his family, let me know

Yesterday I digitalized the documents I have about him (about a hundred, including a letter informing him that he is allowed to ware the prussian crown order III. class, or the letter informing him about getting the Freiherrenstand) If you are interested I can send them to you via email.

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