I Class Commander Cross (for Foreigners with letter "F")
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The Order was jointly founded by Duke Ernst I of Coburg-Gotha, Duke Friedrich of Altenburg, and Duke Bernhard Erich Freund of Saxony-Meiningen.
This Order originally consisted of the grades of Grand Cross with Grand Cross Breast Star, I Class Commander Cross with I Class Commander Breast Star, II Class Commander Cross, Knight Cross, and Silver Merit Cross.
It was awarded to members of the aforementioned families, civil servants, citizens of Coburg-gotha, Altenburg, and Meiningen, and foreign citizens to recognize valuable and loyal services.
To be officially conferred upon a foreigner, the award had to have been supported by at least two Duchies.
The awards conferred upon citizens of the three founding Duchies had an oak wreath surrounding the centre medallion, while the awards conferred upon foreigners did not have an oak wreath surrounding the centre medallion.
Additionally, the Order awards were decorated with a letter on the obverse of the upper cross arm that was associated with the awarding Duchy.
The Order awards from Altenburg had the letter "F" on the obverse.
The Order awards from Saxony-Meiningen had the letter "B" on the obverse.
The Order awards from Coburg-Gotha had the letter "E" on the obverse.
In 1850 the Order was amended to allow crossed swords, through the centre of the cross or on the surmounting ring, to be added to the awards conferred to recognize wartime merits.
The I Class Commander Cross was identical to the II Class Commander, the only difference between the two grades was that the I Class Commander Cross was awarded with an associated I Class Commander Breast Star.
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