Civil Merit Medal in Gold, Small, Type VII (1916-1918)
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A circular medal constructed of white metal gilt. The obverse bears the image of Grand Duke Friedrich II with the inscription "FRIEDRICH II GROSSHERZOG VON BADEN". The reverse bears the inscription "FÜR VERDIENST" (for merit) within an oak leaf wreath. Topped with a horizontally elongated loop for suspension. Measuring 30mm and weighing 11.3 grams. On the obverse is the maker mark R. M. (Rudolf Mayer).
The Civil Merit Medal was introduced in 1769 under Margrave Carl Friedrich (Charles Frederick). It was conferred upon civil officers of lower rank who rendered long and faithful service. It was also awarded to private citizens who distinguished themselves in the arts or industry, as well as to individuals who provided assistance in life threatening situations.
Initially, the medal was not meant to be worn. This changed towards the end of the 18th century.
In 1796, a new stamp was created based on a medal that was introduced for the 50th anniversary of Margrave Carl Friedrich’s reign. Since 1810, the reverse shows the female patron of Baden, the “Badenia”, holding a laurel wreath in one hand and resting her other hand on a griffin.
In 1811, Margrave Carl Friedrich was succeeded by his grandson, Grand Duke Carl I. The Civil Merit Medal continued to be awarded with the portrait of Margrave Carl Friedrich until 1817, when a decoration with the effigy of Grand Duke Carl I was introduced.
With the death of Carl I in 1818, Grand Duke Ludwig I followed him to the throne. On February 18, 1819, Ludwig commissioned medallist C. W. Doell to create a new obverse stamp.
In 1828, yet another obverse stamp was created by Ludwig Kachel, Karlsruhe, with a portrait of an older Grand Duke Ludwig I.
The Grand Duke to follow Ludwig I was Leopold. In March of 1831, a new stamp for the obverse of the medal was made by Ludwig Kachel. The reverse initially remained unchanged. However, variations of the obverse and reverse stamps were introduced during the following years, leading to numerous versions of slightly different obverses and reverses being mixed.
Friedrich I took over in 1852. Until 1856, he ruled as Prince Regent. The first medals with his portrait were made in 1855. The reverse of the medal remained unchanged.
In 1856, Friedrich became Grand Duke. The inscription on the obverse of the medallion needed to be altered to reflect his elevated status.
In 1868, a new obverse stamp that was designed by Christian Schnitzspahn was introduced. The new obverse design featured the portrait of an older Friedrich I. In addition, a new reverse stamp with a short inscription inside a wreath of leaves was introduced by Schnitzspahn's father-in-law, Ludwig Kachel.
In 1907, Grand Duke Friedrich II ordered the creation of a new stamp that featured his portrait on the obverse. From 1908 until 1912, the Large Gold Medal was produced in Gold and afterwards, it was produced in Silver gilt.
Throughout the First World War, many Non-Commissioned Officer and Enlisted Men received the award. Due to the number of conferrals, the medals began to be produced in White Metal gilt during the later war years.
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