Miniature circular gilt metal medal with laterally-pierced loop for ribbon suspension; the face with the crowned ciphers of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria (left) and King Wilhelm I of Prussia (right); the reverse inscribed ‘UNSERN / TAPFEREN / KRIEGERN’ (Our brave warriors) and dated ‘1864’ within a circular laurel wreath; on replaced correct ribbon.
The Medal, instituted on 10 November 1864, was produced for both Austrian and Prussian forces active in the war against Denmark. That for Prussia had the cipher of King Wilhelm I on the left, that for Austria, as here, had the cipher of Emperor Franz Joseph on the left.
In 1863 the Danish Liberal government persuaded the new Christian IX, to sign a joint constitution for the Kingdom of Denmark and the Duchy of Schleswig, the majority of whose inhabitants were German. This contravened the agreement that had ended the war of 1848 to 1850 and Prussia, keen to annex Schleswig-Holstein, invaded on 1 February 1864. Austria, fearful of giving Prussia a free hand, also sent forces. The Danes faced superior numbers, training and equipment and by the time of an armistice on 12 May, most of Denmark was occupied. Negotiations failed and war broke out again on 26 June. Fighting finished on 20 July in total defeat for the Danes and, under the treaty signed on 30 October Schleswig Holstein came under joint Austro-Prussian administration. In 1866, following the defeat of Austria by Prussia, the latter annexed both Duchies.
The Medal is not often found in miniature.