Pour le Mérite, Cross

SKU: 01.PRU.0113.103.01

Estimated market value:

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  • Cross (in gold)
  • Cross (in gold)
  • Cross (in gold)

Attributes

  • country
    Germany
  • date of institution
    June 7, 1740
  • makers
    Daniel Collivaux, Ernest Philipp Collivaux, Baudesson et fils, Berlin
  • remarks
    The size of the Cross varies between time periods. The older versions of the cross generally feature a smaller size, sometimes as small as 45-47mm.

History


The Pour le Mérite was established by King Frederick II of Prussia in 1740 and it was conferred as both a military and civil honour.

The Order was named in French, as during the time, French was the leading international language and the fashionable language at Frederick’s court.

Following the formation of the federally organized German Empire, Prussian Honours essentially assumed the status of Imperial awards, despite the fact that honours of numerous other German states continued to be issued.

In January 1810, King Frederick William III declared that the award could only be conferred upon actively serving military officers.

In March 1813, surmounting oak leaves were added as an additional distinction, which indicated extraordinary merit in battle. This honour was usually reserved for high-ranking officials. By WWI, the oak leaves came to indicate that an individual had received a second or higher Pour le Mérite award. However, the recipients were still usually high-ranking officers.

In 1878, it was decreed that foreign recipients of the Orders were not eligible for surmounting oak leaves.

In 1844, a surmounting crown could be added to the crosses of Order recipients that had been members for a minimum of 50 years.

In 1842, King Frederick William IV established a separate civil class, the Pour le Mérite for Sciences and Art. The Award included three sections: natural science, humanities and fine arts.

The Award gained international fame during First World War, with its most famous recipients being the pilots of the German Army Air Service. In early 1917, a pilot needed to have destroyed 17 enemy air crafts, and by the end of the war that number rose to 30.

One of the most famous recipients of the award was flying ace Manfred von Richthofen, known as the Red Baron.

In 1918, following the end of the First World War, the state sponsorship of the Order ended. The military class of the order was abolished; however, the civil class remained, with members re-establishing the order as a separate organization, with new rules and a new nomination procedure.

Common manufacturers of the Order Cross in gold include: Daniel Collivaux and Ernest Philipp Collivaux (1740-1757) and Baudesson et fils, Berlin (1787-1817).

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Versions

  • Price

    $22000+ USD

  • Composition

    Gold/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    50-54mm

  • Maker

    Daniel Collivaux, Ernest Philipp Collivaux, Baudesson et fils, Berlin

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    $32000 USD

  • Composition

    Gold/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    54x54mm

  • Maker

    Johann Wagner & Sohn, Berlin

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    N/A

  • Composition

    Gold/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    50-54mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

    This version is hollow.

  • View Item
  • Price

    $12700+ USD

  • Composition

    Silver gilt/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    50x50mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    N/A

  • Composition

    Silver gilt/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    53x53mm

  • Maker

    Friedlander, Berlin

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    $27000 USD

  • Composition

    Silver gilt/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    50mm

  • Maker

    J. Godet & Sohn, Berlin

  • Version Remarks

    This version is hollow and very rare.

  • View Item
  • Price

    $19800+ USD

  • Composition

    Silver gilt/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    52x52mm

  • Maker

    J.H. Werner

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    $22500 USD

  • Composition

    Silver gilt/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    53x53mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

    This version is hollow.

  • View Item
  • Price

    N/A

  • Composition

    Gold/Diamonds/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    50-54mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

    This version was awarded four times. One of the recipients was Voltaire.

  • View Item
  • Price

    $24500+ USD

  • Composition

    Gold/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    50-54mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    $19000+ USD

  • Composition

    Silver gilt/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    50-54mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    $21150+ USD

  • Composition

    Gold/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    50-54mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    N/A

  • Composition

    Silver gilt/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    50-54mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    $21650+ USD

  • Composition

    Gold/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    50-54mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    N/A

  • Composition

    Gold/Diamonds/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    50-54mm

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    N/A

  • Composition

    Silver/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

    53x54mm

  • Maker

    Johann Wagner & Sohn, Berlin

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item
  • Price

    N/A

  • Composition

    Gold/Enamelled

  • Inscription

    Obv: F POUR LE MÉRITE

  • Size

  • Maker

  • Version Remarks

  • View Item

Miniatures

  • Price

    $245 USD

  • Size

    15mm x 16.5mm

  • Composition

    Bronze gilt/Enamelled

  • Remarks

In Wear

See Licence

Wilhelm von Wurttemberg

See Licence

William Heye

See Licence

Major Fritz Wulf

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