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Greek Medal


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It is my understanding that the Serbian Royal Household Medal was awarded on this ribbon during the reign of the Obrenovic dynasty which lasted only until 1903.  This ribbon was also used for the so-called "India Cruise Medal" given to people who sailed on the Austrian Empress Elizabeth to India in 1892-93.

The most likely explanation of why this ribbon was used by the Greeks from 1917 to 1920 is that the newly crowned King Alexander wanted his own unique ribbon for the Royal Household Medal along with the fact that this particular ribbon was probably available at a cheap price because demand for this item in Austria and Serbia had essentially dried up.

The ribbon manufacturer of this ribbon (no doubt Austrian) probably had bunches and bunches of unsold trefold ribbons in this pattern in his inventory and probably also had the loom-jig for this ribbon-pattern already made-up. Due to this inventory situation, King Alexander probably got a special discounted price for this ribbon in 1917 when he ascended the throne.  This ribbon also happened to be in the national colors of Greece!  After all, nobody else was using this ribbon-pattern at the time and King Alexander most likely wanted his own unique ribbon pattern to distinguish this award from the Royal Household Medal of previous Greek monarchs.  (If you recall, King Constantine I. abdicated under controversial circumstances in 1917.) I'm sure that obtaining this ribbon at a bargain price was important to King Alexander because Greece was in very poor economic shape at the time. 

My understanding is that the old ribbon pattern for the Royal Household Medal went back into use when King Constantine I. was restored to power after the death of King Alexander in 1920.  So the ribbon in question was only used for 4 years during the reign of King Alexander.   

Edited by Simius Rex
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Jan, that's a quite hard to find medal.  You have done well!  I believe that a northern Italian State used this same ribbon for a mid-late 1890's 'in exile' Rothe-made award.  

So as to the ribbon, I agree with SR's opinion.  It may be possible, however, to misconstrue SR's mention of the India Cruise medal to suggest that the Empress Elizabeth sailed on the ship. The Seereisedenkmünze commemorated participation or service connected with the 1892-3 ten-month voyage to the Far East performed by SMS Kaiserin ElisabethArchduke Franz accompanied the vessel on this 'showing the flag' venture.  Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary approved that medal on November 11, 1893. 


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Yes, it is likely that the Austrian manufacturer imposed on the king or the relevant official ribbons having on stock. And the king wanted ribbons different from his predecessors. But there were probably no economic reasons, because the number of employees eligible for the award was not large. The number of medals ordered probably did not exceed 500, so the savings on cheaper ribbons would be insignificant.

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