Royal Order of Francis I, Grand Cross (in gold)

CATEGORY: Version

SKU: 01.ITA.0117.101.01.000

Estimated market value:

$3400+ USD

  • Royal Order of Francis I, Grand Cross (in gold) Obverse

Estimated market value:

$3400+ USD

Attributes

  • Country
    Italy
  • Composition
    Gold/Enamelled
  • Inscription
    Obv: F.I. DE REGE OPTIME MERITO Rev: FRANCISCVS I INSTITVIT MDCCCXXIX
  • Size
    60x100mm
  • Version Remarks
    The image of the Grand Cross is a scanned image from Plate 86 Table III of "The Book of Orders of Knighthood and Decorations of Honour of all Nations" edited by Sir Bernard Burke. The book was published in 1858, and falls within the public domain in Canada {{PD-Canada-anon}} and the United States {{PD-1923}}. It is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. The image can be found at https://archive.org/stream/1858BookOfOrdersOfKnighthoodAndDecorationsOfHonour/1858BookOfOrders#page/n372/mode/1up.

History


The Order was founded as a civil award by Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies. It was primarily conferred to recognize meritorious civil services within the realms of culture, agriculture, science, commerce, and art. Later, the Order was amended to also reward meritorious service within the military.

It originally consisted of five grades, the Grand Cross with Grand Cross Breast Star, Commander, Knight, Gold Medal, and Silver Medal.

On December 21, 1858, Ferdinand II amended the Order, adding a Breast Star to the Commander grade, and creating the II Class Knight. He also altered the wearing style of the Grand Cross. Prior to 1858, the Grand Cross was worn on a ribbon around the neck, following the amendments of Ferdinand II in 1858 the Grand Cross was worn on a sash.

Following the unification of Italy in 1860, the Order was officially discontinued. Unofficially, the Order was continued by the exiled King Francis II until his successor stopped the conferral of the Order in 1934.

This Order is also known as the Royal Order of Francis I of the Two Sicilies.

The motto and obverse inscription of the Order is “Optime merito de Rege,” which roughly translates to “The King deserves the best.”

There are examples of the Order awards in which the reverse inscription is only composed of the date "1829" (M.DCCC.XXIX).

The Grand Cross was awarded to high ranking individuals who had rendered exemplary services to the Crown.

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