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Derrittmeister Militaria

Braunschweig Henry Lion Oder - Officers Cross Pin

Braunschweig Henry Lion Oder - Officers Cross Pin

Regular price $3,495.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $3,495.00 USD
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Introducing a truly exquisite piece of history: the Henry the Lion Officer's Cross, hailing from the Duchy of Braunschweig. This distinguished order was the premier decoration within the small duchy, which boasted one cavalry regiment, one infantry regiment, and one artillery battery. The order itself featured a range of prestigious awards, including a Collar (Kette), Grand Crosses, Commanders Crosses, Breast Stars, and, of course, the Officer's Cross. The Officer's Cross, in particular, stands as a testament to unparalleled honor and prestige. It held the distinction of being awarded exclusively between 1908 and 1918, and during this period, only a mere 228 of these esteemed decorations were conferred. This number is astonishingly small, representing roughly one-third of the total number of PLMs (Pour le Mérite) awarded throughout World War I.

Measuring an impressive 2 1/2" x 2 1/4" (57mm x 56mm), this cross boasts convex arms adorned with a delicate light-blue enamel, gracefully encased within a frame of silver gilt. While this piece is truly exceptional, it's important to note a minor imperfection—a tiny chip on the lower point of the three o'clock arm. Rest assured, we've provided detailed photographs for your reference. The centerpiece of this decoration showcases the regal horse of Braunschweig/Hannover (Braunschweig being a vassal state to Hannover), portrayed in profile. This elegant equine figure is elegantly framed within a circular gilt border, culminating in a majestic Ducal crown at the top. It's worth mentioning that both Hannover and Braunschweig were annexed by Prussia after the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. Hannover remained under Prussia's authority without formal recognition or a ruler, while Braunschweig fell directly under Prussia's rule until May 1913. It was during this time that Ernst August of Braunschweig married Kaiser Wilhelm II's only daughter, Viktoria Luise, leading to his restoration as the Herzog of Braunschweig, complete with full ruling rights over his Duchy.

On the reverse side, you'll find a striking gilt-silver finish, accompanied by a substantial pin and a generous clasp at the decorations' base. The pin bears the "Silber" mark, indicating its silver content. This exceptionally rare and coveted decoration is a must-have addition to any discerning collector's repertoire.


History: The Henry the Lion Officer's Cross is a prestigious decoration that originates from the Duchy of Braunschweig, a historical German state. The Duchy of Braunschweig was a relatively small region with its own military forces, including a cavalry regiment, an infantry regiment, and an artillery battery. The Henry the Lion Order, to which this cross belongs, was the principal decoration family within the duchy.

This specific cross was awarded during a limited timeframe, from 1908 through 1918. During these years, it held a significant level of recognition and honor within the duchy. The design of the cross features the profile of a horse, a symbol closely associated with Braunschweig/Hannover.

Rarity: The Henry the Lion Officer's Cross is considered extremely rare and highly desirable among collectors. The rarity of this decoration is underscored by the fact that only 228 of these crosses were awarded during the specified period. This limited number makes it a prized and sought-after item for collectors of military and historical memorabilia.

Criteria for Award: The Officer's Cross was a high-level award within the Henry the Lion Order. While specific criteria for receiving this honor may vary, it was typically awarded to individuals who had demonstrated exceptional service, dedication, or achievements within the Duchy of Braunschweig. Given its limited quantity of awards, recipients of the Henry the Lion Officer's Cross would have been held in high regard within the duchy and recognized for their significant contributions.

It's worth noting that the Duchy of Braunschweig and its decorations became historically significant due to the annexation of Braunschweig by Prussia after the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. The subsequent restoration of the Herzog (Duke) of Braunschweig in 1913 added further historical depth to the region and its awards.

In summary, the Henry the Lion Officer's Cross is a rare and prestigious decoration with a limited number of recipients. Its historical significance lies in its association with the Duchy of Braunschweig and its distinctive design, as well as its connection to the broader historical context of German unification and regional governance in the 19th and early 20th centuries.




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