Medal for Female Merit, Type II, in Silver
Image courtesy of Auction House Andreas Thies
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A smooth circular medal with a raised border, constructed of silver. The obverse features the left-facing portrait Duchess Victoria Adelheid, with the circular inscription ‘VICTORIA ADELHEID HERZOGIN VON SACHSEN COBURG U. GOTHA’, followed by a small five-leaf rosette. Below the neck is the artist’s signature. On the rim on the top right is the silver mark ‘SILBER 0,990’. The reverse features a wreath of laurel, tied at the bottom by a ribbon, with the inscription ‘FÜR WEIBLICHES VERDIENST’ (‘for female merit’) in the centre. On a loop for suspension, on a ladies-style white bow ribbon with a broad red centre and narrow red side stripes.
The Medal for Female Merit was instituted by Duke Carl Eduard of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha on behalf of his wife, Duchess Victoria Adelheid, on February 2, 1907. The medal was awarded to women who had provided particularly meritorious services in the care for the poor, the sick, or other charitable actions. The award day was December 31 each year.
Initially, the medal was awarded in two classes, in gold with or without crown. On December 24, 1907, a third class was established, the Silver Medal.
The Gold Medal with Crown was reserved for extraordinary achievements. It was not awarded unless the recipient had already been wearing the Gold Medal for at least ten years.
The Silver Medal could be awarded for any kind of “female work activities”, however, the recipient had to be at least 45 years of age. It could also be awarded for having served the same family for at least 30 years.
The obverse stamp was cut by L. Chr. Lauer from Nuremberg after a painting of the duchess by English artist Theodore Spicer-Simson.
The medal is sometimes referred to as “Adelheid-Medaille 1st to 3rd Class”, however, this terminology is unofficial and was never used during the period of awarding.
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