Original WW1 German / Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Silver Medal of Merit, IN NICE WORN CONDITION, ON NEW RIBBON, A NICE WELL WORN EXAMPLE - RARE AWARD
HISTORY OF THE AWARD:
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Silver Medal of Merit of the Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order, Duke Carl Eduard (Silberne Verdienstmedaille des Herzoglich Sachsen-Ernestinischen Hausordens, Herzog Carl Eduard) / 1905-1918 - Circular silver 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). 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. 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). 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 was suppressed at the end of World War I in 1918. We found this fine example in Bulgaria where, during the period 1905 to 1918, the king (Ferdinand) was a prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and it was probably awarded to a member of the royal household on a visit to Coburg.