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SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA. Golden Medal of Merit of the Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order with ‘1914/8’ sword bar (SACHSEN-COBURG-GOTHA. Goldene Verdienstmedaille des Herzoglich Sachsen-Ernestinischen Hausordens mit Schwerterspange 1914/8)
[DE1157]
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SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA.  Golden Medal of Merit of the Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order with ‘1914/8’ sword bar (SACHSEN-COBURG-GOTHA. Goldene Verdienstmedaille des Herzoglich Sachsen-Ernestinischen Hausordens mit Schwerterspange 1914/8)
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Circular silver-gilt medal with integral loop for ribbon suspension; the face with the head of Duke Carl Eduard facing right, circumscribed ‘CARL • EDUARD • HERZOG • V • SACHSEN • COBURG • U • GOTHA’; the reverse with a Maltese cross with a circular central medallion bearing the Saxon arms within a circular oak wreath, circumscribed ‘FIDELITER ET CONSTANTER’ (Faithfully and Steadfastly), a rosette at the base; age-toned; on original ribbon cut short at the back and with ‘1914/8’ sword bar. The Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order, with an associated silver medal, was instituted jointly on 25 December 1833 by Duke Friedrich of Saxe-Altenburg, Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Duke Bernhard Erich Freund of Saxe-Meiningen. In 1864 a ‘golden’ (silver gilt) medal was added. The reverse of the medal was common to all three Dukedoms, designed by Friedrich Ferdinand Helfricht (1809-1892) of Gotha. The face of the medal bore the image of the Duke of the awarding state. When Duke Carl Eduard, then Duke of Albany, inherited the Dukedom in 1900, he was a minor aged 15 and the medal depicting Duke Alfred continued to be awarded until 1905 when the new version was introduced with the portrait of Duke Carl Eduard and designed by M. von Kawaczyński (1860-1910). This version, without signature, was awarded from 1914 until as late as 1935. Duke Carl Eduard was the grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and had the misfortune also to be head of a constituent state of the German Empire defeated in 1918. Stripped of his German titles at the end of the war, he was also deprived of his British titles in 1919. Unsurprisingly, he was attracted to the German National Socialist Party, becoming an Obergruppenführer in the S.A., a member of the Reichstag and President of the German Red Cross. In 1945 he was arrested and imprisoned by American occupying forces and died in penury in 1954. The Medal is particularly rare with sword bar; versions exist dated 1914, 1914/5, 1914/6, 1915/6, 1914/7, 1914/8, as in this example, and 1918. It is reported that awards with any sword bar totalled no more than 828 in all.

 
SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA.  Golden Medal of Merit of the Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order with ‘1914/8’ sword bar (SACHSEN-COBURG-GOTHA. Goldene Verdienstmedaille des Herzoglich Sachsen-Ernestinischen Hausordens mit Schwerterspange 1914/8)
Click to enlarge
SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA.  Golden Medal of Merit of the Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order with ‘1914/8’ sword bar (SACHSEN-COBURG-GOTHA. Goldene Verdienstmedaille des Herzoglich Sachsen-Ernestinischen Hausordens mit Schwerterspange 1914/8)
Click to enlarge
SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA.  Golden Medal of Merit of the Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order with ‘1914/8’ sword bar (SACHSEN-COBURG-GOTHA. Goldene Verdienstmedaille des Herzoglich Sachsen-Ernestinischen Hausordens mit Schwerterspange 1914/8)
Click to enlarge
SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA.  Golden Medal of Merit of the Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order with ‘1914/8’ sword bar (SACHSEN-COBURG-GOTHA. Goldene Verdienstmedaille des Herzoglich Sachsen-Ernestinischen Hausordens mit Schwerterspange 1914/8)
Click to enlarge
SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA.  Golden Medal of Merit of the Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order with ‘1914/8’ sword bar (SACHSEN-COBURG-GOTHA. Goldene Verdienstmedaille des Herzoglich Sachsen-Ernestinischen Hausordens mit Schwerterspange 1914/8)
Click to enlarge
 
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