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French Produced Virtuti Militari

Article about: Hey Guys, I thought I might as well contribute now that I have the time and inclination to jump back into this maddening hobby. I thought you might be interested in this VM 2nd class. It is

  1. #1
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    Default French Produced Virtuti Militari

    Hey Guys,

    I thought I might as well contribute now that I have the time and inclination to jump back into this maddening hobby.

    I thought you might be interested in this VM 2nd class. It is hallmarked as pure silver using the French 'crab' mark and has two maker's marks for Arthus-Bertrand. I have written to them for more information, but only got confirmation that they produced it.

    You'll be quick to note that the eagle is of the Kingdom period, not the IIRP. Also, the front and back are the same! Not quite sure why you would go through the trouble of producing two very well done enameled sides when you only need one.

    If anyone, by any chance, has any information, I'm all ears (or eyes in this case)!

    Cheers,

    Brandon
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  2. #2
    3mk
    3mk is offline
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    Default Re: French Produced Virtuti Militari

    Brandon,Thanks for posting this Virtuti Militari!I never knew that the French produced Polish Virtuti Militari`s during the Kingdom Era!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: French Produced Virtuti Militari

    One item I don't know how I overlooked is size. The cross measures ~62mm, which would point to the Grand Cross, not the lower 2nd class. To me, the fact the front and back are the same is more understandable given it was on a sash, but I could be grasping at straws here. I think someone just added the neck ribbon because the original sash was lost or it was handy at the time.

    I have never seen a Bertrand produced cross other than the 5th class, so anyone have any additional info? Perhaps this was produced especially for Foch ;-)

    Cheers,

    Brandon

  4. #4
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    Hello All,

    For fun, I took additional photos of this cross. First thing you'll notice is that the silver gilt has tarnished over the last 5 years since the cross came into my possession. Not sure these pics will provide any new clues, but thoughts greatly welcomed!

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    Cheers,

    B

  5. #5
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    Default

    Hello All,

    I thought I would revive this thread after a visit to the Muzeum Narodowy yesterday during the night of museums. I was walking around and went to the numismatics section. The attached VM was in the display case, and I noted some similarities to the cross posted above (and differences). First thing I noticed is that if the size corresponded to the 2nd class VM then even with the neck ribbon mine would definitely be for the 1st class - it is noticeably larger.

    What struck me is that the crown attachment was very similar, as well as the older style eagle even with the description noting it is from the IIRP. The back reflect the earlier 19th century VMs, whereas the front and back of mine are the same. Could this be attributed to the fact it was supposed to be worn on a sash as a 1st class?

    I could not find a maker's mark for this cross through the glass to determine if it was also made by Arthus-Bertrand. In any case, if anyone has any thoughts then I'm all ears (or all eyes in this case).

    Cheers,

    Brandon

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  6. #6
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    Perhaps some light has been shed on this mystery...but not too much ;-) In Wojtek Stela's new book on the Virtuti Militari, he has listed a 2nd class pre-war VM made by Arthus Bertrand - pics from the book are below.

    I think this conclusively proves that Bertrand produced this cross and it stands a good chance of being pre-war. The lingering question is still why are both sides enameled? Given the dimensions of my cross fit the 1st class and this enlargement is evident when compared to the 2nd class in the book (only the ribbon it came with led me to believe it was the 2nd class), could it have been that Bertrand decided to make a special double enameled version fro the grand cross?

    Any thoughts as always are greatly appreciated! :-)

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