BRAUNSCHWEIG – HENRY LION ORDER – OFFICER’S CROSS
This is a truly magnificent example of the Henry the Lion Officer’s Cross from the Duchy of Braunschweig. The Henry the Lion Order was the principal decoration family from the small duchy. Braunschweig fielded one cavalry regiment, one infantry regiment, and one artillery battery. The orders from the decoration family included a Collar (Kette), Grand Crosses, Commanders Crosses, Breast Stars, Officer’s Crosses, and so on. The Officer’s Cross actually is a very high level award from this decoration family. It was only awarded from 1908 through 1918. During those years, the total number awarded was TWO HUNDRED TWENTY-EIGHT (228)!!! This was an amazingly small number. When you think about it that is about one-third the number of PLM’s awarded throughout WW I.
The cross measures 2 1/2″ x 2 1/4″ (57mm x 56mm). The convex cross’s arms are a light-blue enamel. The enamel arms are housed within a silver gilt frame. On the three o’clock arm’s lower point is missing a very small chip, which we will show in the detailed photographs that accompany this description. The decoration’s center features Braunschweig/Hannover’s (Braunschweig was a vassal state to Hannover) Horse (in profile). The Horse is surrounded by a circular gilt frame. At that frame’s top is a gilt Ducal crown. [It is interesting to note that both Hannover and Braunschweig were annexed by Prussia after the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. Hannover remained Prussia’s vassal state, with no formal recognition or ruler. Braunschweig was under Prussia’s direct authority until after May 1913, when Ernst August of Braunschweig married Kaiser Wilhelm II’s only daughter, Viktoria Luise. After that Ernst August was restored as the Herzog of Braunschweig, with full rights to rule his Duchy]. The reverse features a gilt-silver finish, with a swollen pin and a large clasp at the decoration’s bottom. The pin is marked “Silber.” The example was produced by the well known firm, Siebrecht. This very rare and desirable decoration can be added to any collection.