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The Cross and Medal of Independence

Article about: Here is a complete ‘award package’ issued to a recipient of the Medal of Independence. It consists of the following components: 1) the decoration – full size and miniature 2) the presentatio

  1. #61
    3mk
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    Nice collection of medals Tony, I especially like the Arthus Betrand variant

  2. #62

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    Thanks Michal and Emil. Unfortunately I have never seen any productions numbers. The most commonly seen, at least to me, is the National Mint product. Although the Gontarczyk medals were evidently also produced in good quantity. The Bertrand is third among them, and quite scarce. French maker Delande also produced these medals, and is one that I remain on lookout for. The mysterious one from the unknown maker is a real puzzle, and only one of two I've ever come across.

    Cheers,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  3. #63

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    I love the symbolism in the Medal of Independence - three swords plunged into three snakes (eels, dragons, whatever...) I assume representing Imperial Germany, Austro-Hungary and Tsarist Russia, which had partitioned Poland amongst themselves.

  4. #64

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    Yes, the imagery is fantastic, and one of the reasons it has always been one of my favourite pre-WW2 decorations. The creature depicted is actually a Hydra, from Greek mythology, and you're correct that it represents the three partitioning powers that held Poland in their grasp for 123 years.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Regards,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  5. #65

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    Yes the hydra makes sense - the mythical three headed monster. Only in Poland's case its monsters were anything but mythical.

    Tony who designed the medal? I was wondering about any connection to another Greek imagery on a Polish belt buckle that I had asked about sometime ago - something to do with Josef Piłsudski.

  6. #66

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    Hi Mike,

    Good questions. First off, re. the belt buckle, you are undoubtedly referring to the wz.28 ‘salon belt’ with the image of the Spartan warrior / Roman legionnaire. I think the connection with the mythological Greek hydra is coincidental, although it is interesting to note that the Greek cross was used as the basis of the cross in the design of the 1st and 2nd Class grades of this decoration.

    Re the artist responsible for the design of the cross and medal, it's something that really should have been addressed earlier. The designer was Mieczysław Kotarbiński, an accomplished painter, graphic artist, etcher, furniture and interior designer in pre-WW2 Poland. In the early 1920’s he was a professor at the University of Wilno before transferring to the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Kotarbiński contracted his services to Wiktor Gontarczyk and no doubt is responsible for the beauty of many of the badges produced by this renowned maker.

    Kotarbiński also designed the Gotarczyk made marshal’s baton presented to Józef Piłsuski:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mieczysław Kotarbiński was murdered by the Germans in Warsaw on May 27th 1943.

    Regards,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  7. #67

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    Tony

    Your collection is always amazing to look at! Thank you for always showing us your beautiful items.

    Mark

  8. #68

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    Hi Mark,

    Many sincere thanks for your kind words. But I must confess that Marshal Piłsudski's baton visble in the previous post is unfortunately not part of my collection

    Cheers,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  9. #69

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    Thanks Tony, that's exactly the buckle I was referring to. Its so sad to learn of his eventual fate. I would like to see a retrospective of Polish artists and medal makers who designed the 2nd Republics awards. Something that put the designs to those responsible for their creation not just their production.

    I've often admired the graphic artists and photographers that created those stylistic commemorative books for the Polskie Siły Zbrojne na Zachodzie.

  10. #70

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    A recent acquisition to share, the mysterious ball-suspension type, marking the end of a long hunt after first spotting one of these listed in the La Galerie Numismatique Auction VI in September 2005. It's the first one I've seen surface since. If anyone out there can shed any light on this variant such as maker, date of production etc. please do.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here it is put next to the government issue Gontarczyk. Note the use of enamel in the text / eagle recesses.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Regards,
    Tony
    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

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