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I searched for any article here on the life saving medal from the duchy of Brunswick, but didn't found any post. 

Well for me this is one of the most beautyfull medals that is. First of all it is awarded for the most noble cause, for saving a life of an other human being. The medal was founded on 25th of april 1836 by Duke Wilhelm on his 30. birthday. (many orders or decorations are founded / and or awarded on the birthdays of duke Wilhelm) 

Total there are 129 awards in the history of the Duchy of Brunswick, last one was in August 1918 to a soldier. The recipients started from being 16 years old, no awards given to any females. Funny thing is, that this decoration could have been awarded for rescuing the goods and property of strangers. So if a house burned and one guy saved the belongings of another guy, he might have the chance to get this medal. As far as I am aware this was never the case. Nearly every award was given to people who saved other people from drowning. Every story of these 129 decorations would be worth telling, maybe someday there will be a book on this topic.

The medal shown here once belonged to my collection, I sold it 26 years ago and still regret it. Here you see the backside of that medal on a single medal bar. Funny thing is, that on most every medal bar, where you can find the life saving medal, this medal is mounted with the back side to be seen. Showing the Nike - the Greek Goddess of victory - holding a twig of a palm in her hand and stepping on a orge from the see or a lindworm. 


Here is the front side of the life saving medal, showing the W for Wilhelm on crowned plate and surrounded by flags and two lions. The date of the foundation is shown in latin capitels.

The medal is made of silver and at least four jewellers produced them during the history of the duchy of Brunswick.

I really think that collecting life saving medals would be a nice collection. 

So enjoy this beautyfull medal shown here.


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Wow, that is a nice piece and quite rare, too bad that you sold it!

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  • Blog Comments

    • Thanks for your reply Patrick, just in case some might not know what the Belgian WW1 Medal you were referencing looks like I have included one here. I understand that the small crown on the ribbon denoted the recipient was a volunteer.  
    • Brian, Thanks for initiating this discussion. For me, it’s a combination of the thrill of the chase, the history behind the item, and the aesthetics, although this latter factor may seem a bit strange to some. To illustrate this, the very first thing I collected as a kid in the 1950’s was a Belgian WW1 medal, for service in 1914-18, which is bell shaped, with a very striking profile of a very dignified soldier, wearing an Adrian helmet which bears a laurel wreath. It was the image that
    • Thank you for sharing your story, it was most interesting and greatly appreciated, it makes this blog well worth the time to post. Regards Brian  
    • Hello I started collecting when I found my first Mauser cartridges in a field next to my parents' house next to Armentières. I was eight years old.  Then shrapnel, schrapnell balls, darts... That's how I became a historian. When I was 18, we used to walk through the fields with a metal detector to find our happiness. It was my time in the army as a research-writer in a research centre that made me love the orders of chivalry. I've been collecting them for 24 years now. Christophe
    • Thank you for your most interesting comment. The thrill of the chase didn't interest me in the beginning but over time it started to overshadow the act of simply adding yet another medal or group to the collection. Regards Brian  
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