Order of Albert the Bear, Commander with Swords (in bronze gilt)
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An ovular medal constructed of bronze gilt. The center bears the cut out image of a crowned bear ascending a wall with a door. The obverse is encompassed by a border inscribed with "FUERCHTE GOTT UND BEFOLGE SEINE BEFEHLE". The reverse is encompassed by a border with the inscription "ALBRECHT DER BAER REG: 1123 BIS 1170". The medal is topped with two crossed swords. On a loop for suspension, on a red and green striped ribbon. Weighing 20.25 grams.
The Order of Albert the Bear was founded by Prince Sigismund I and was named after Albrecht the Bear (1110-1170), who was the first Ascanian Margrave of Brandenburg, as well as the Count of Anhalt and Ballenstadt. On November 18, 1836, the Order was renewed and made a joint House Order by three Dukes of Anhalt, Henry (Heinrich), Duke of Anhalt-Köthen, Leopold IV, Duke of Anhalt, and Alexander Carl, Duke of Anhalt-Bernburg. The Dukes awarded the Order to meritorious subjects as a token of honour and distinction.
The Order originally featured three main grades and two merit medals, which included: Grand Cross with Grand Cross Breast Star, Commander, Knight, Gold Medal of Merit, and Silver Medal of Merit. In 1848, the grade of Commander was expanded into I Class Commander with I Class Commander Breast Star and II Class Commander. In 1854, the grade of Knight was expanded into I Class Knight and II Class Knight.
The Order was amended on July 18, 1864, to incorporate crossed swords as a possible addition for wartime merit. The crossed swords, which are added between the top of the medal and the suspension ring, indicate a Military Division award. The absence of crossed swords indicates a Civil Division award.
In 1901, a surmounting gold-coloured crown was added to the grades of Grand Cross, I Class Commander, II Class Commander, and I Class Knight. A surmounting silver crown was added to the grade of II Class Knight.
The revision of the statute in 1850 included the creation of a Breast Star for I Class Commander. This is the only difference between the two grades.
There were only 10 Commander Crosses with crowns and swords awarded (not including World War I).
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