Order of Albert the Bear, Grand Cross Breast Star with Swords
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An eight-rayed star constructed of silver, gold and enamels. The obverse bears a circular medallion with the enamelled image of a crowned bear ascending a wall with a door, encompassed by a border inscribed with "FUERCHTE GOTT UND BEFOLGE SEINE BEFEHLE". With two crossed swords above the medallion. The reverse bears a vertical pinback.
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 inscription translates to: Fear God and Follow His Commands.
The Breast Stars were uniformly awarded with all Grand Crosses and there are many excellent copies.
The Grand Cross Breast Star with swords was created in the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm I.
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