Order of the Golden Lion, Breast Star

SKU: 01.HSD.0101.104.01

Estimated market value:

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  • Breast Star Obverse
  • Breast Star Reverse
  • Breast Star Obverse
  • Breast Star Reverse
  • Breast Star Obverse Detail


  • country
  • date of institution
    August 14, 1770
  • makers
    J. Godet & Sohn, Berlin

Physical Description

An eight-pointed star constructed of silver, gold and enamels. The rays of the star are in silver. The obverse center bears a circular medallion with a central striped Hessian lion on a blue enamel background, encompassed by a red enamel border with the inscription "VIRTUTE ET FIDELITATE" within a gold ring. The reverse bears a pinback for attachment.


The House Order of the Golden Lion was instituted on August 14, 1770 by Landgraf Friedrich II of Hesse Kassel. The order was dedicated to Saint Elisabeth of Hungary, an ancestor of the founder. The order was conferred upon individuals who demonstrated exceptional civil or military merit. Following the death of the last prince-elector of Hessen-Kassel, the order was taken over by Grand Duke Ludwig II of Hessen-Darmstadt. On June 6, 1876, the order was given new statues and was introduced as a Grand Ducal Order. The order consisted of three grades: Collar, Collar Badge and Breast Star. Knights could only become members of the House of Hesse once they were of legal age. The Order of the Golden Lion was ranked after the Grand Crosses of the Ludwig Order and the Order of Philip the Magnanimous. People who possessed the Grand Cross of all three orders would wear the Ludwig Order on the sash, the Order of Philip the Magnanimous around their neck and the Order of the Golden Lion in the buttonhole. The Breast Stars of the three orders would be worn together, with the star of the Order of the Golden Lion under the others. The chancellery maintained the business associated with the order and upon the recipient's death the order had to be returned to the chancellery.

In 1882, the statutes of the Order of the Golden Lion were revised. The Order of the Golden Lion became equal to the Ludwig Order and recipients of both orders then wore the Order of the Golden Lion around their necks. The revised statutes also permitted knights of the order to wear the decoration on a gold chain rather than a ribbon. The Order of the Golden Lion could be conferred upon women and would be worn on a bow on the left shoulder. Again in 1896, the statutes were revisited. According to Statute 7, the order could be awarded with diamonds in special cases.

The order became obsolete in 1918, following the abdication of the last Grand Duke of Hessen-Darmstadt. The files regarding the Order of the Golden Lion were destroyed in a fire during World War II.


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  • Price

    $2,000 USD

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  • Maker

    J. Godet & Sohn, Berlin

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