Royal Order of Merit of St. Michael, Commander Cross
Image courtesy of Auktionshaus Andreas Thies, 48. Auktion
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The Order was founded by Joseph Clemens of Bavaria, who at the time was the Archbishop Elector of Cologne. It was originally a military order, which could only be conferred upon members of the Catholic nobility.
The Order originally included 2 classes, the Grand Cross and the Knight’s Cross.
In 1808, the Order was extended to include a Commander Cross.
On September 11, 1812, King Maximilian Joseph confirmed the order. The king became chief of the Order, and the Grand Master was selected from the princes of Bavaria.
On February 16, 1837, King Ludwig I reorganized the Order and it became open to all individuals regardless of faith or class. It was renamed in Royal Order of Merit of St. Michael.
The award was conferred in recognition of loyalty, patriotism and meritorious service in various fields.
Maximilian II extended the Order to include the grade of Grand Commander and divided the Knight’s Cross into I and II class.
By 1910, the Order included: Grand Cross, Grand Cross Breast Star, I Class Cross, I Class Breast Star, II Class Cross, II Class Breast Star, Honour Cross, III Class Cross, Knight’s Cross I Class, Knight’s Cross II Class, Merit Cross with Crown, Merit Cross, Silver Merit Medal and Bronze Merit Medal.
The Order was awarded until the abolition of the Monarchy on November 7, 1918.
The inscription, “PIETAS FIDELITAS FORTITUDO PERSEVERANTIA,” translates to "Piety, Fidelity, Fortitude, Perseverance.”
The Commander Cross was only awarded from 1837 to 1887.
Obv: QUIS UT DEUS Rev: VIRTUTI
Adam Hausinger, Munich
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