Medal of the Two Swords (Veteran's Medal), Military Division, II Class Medal (for NCOs)
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This version belongs to the Carnavalet Museum, Paris.
The Medallion of the Two Swords, also known as “Order of the Two Swords” and the “Veteran’s Medal,” was instituted on April 16, 1771 by King Louis XV. It was the last decoration founded in the Ancien Regime.
The Medallion was conferred upon soldiers and Non-Commissioned Officers for long and faithful service. It was first awarded to soldiers and Non-Comissioned Officers of the Army, but it was extended to include the members of the Royal Guard on May 26, 1771, and members of the Navy on December 25, 1774.
The II Class Medal, a single medallion, was awarded after 24 years of service. The I Class Medal, a double medallion, was awarded after 48 years of service. There is only one instance of a triple medallion having been awarded in Extraordinary grade. This was awarded to Jean Theurel on March 10, 1807 for 72 years of army service.
This Medallion was the only decoration of the Ancien Regime that was not suppressed neither in the Revolution nor by Napoleon Bonaparte. It was awarded back then, but displaying changed features on both the obverse and reverse.
The Medallion of the Two Swords was not officially suppressed during the Revolution. During the Revolution, recipients were permitted to exchange their medals for new models, and as a result, medals of the Ancien Regime are rare.
The Medallion is classified into types according to the division into which it was awarded. Type I Medallions were awarded to the French Army. Type II Medallions were awarded to the French Navy division.
Those awarded to members of the Royal Guard feature a laurel wreath and a surmounting royal crown.
There is a large variety of this Order and the following variables may be encountered: size; manufacturer; composition; sword design and crown.
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