BAVARIA – MILITARY MERIT CROSS 4th CLASS.
This is a consignment item. It is the Military Merit Cross 4th Cross from the Kingdom of Bavaria, an officer-level award that was given in a number of variations (i.e., 1st through 4th award levels, pinbacks, etc.). The 4th Class award was the most basic. It was given not only to native sons, but to allied officers of Bavaria who fought side by side with Bavarian troops. It was first awarded in 1866 after that same year’s Austro-Prussian War. It was authorized by King (Mad) Ludwig II (1845-1886) of Bavaria. [Ludwig led a tortured life. He nearly bankrupted Bavaria with his lavish lifestyle and the building of numerous castles all over Bavaria. Ultimately, he was removed from his throne in 1886 for “mental defect,” then was found mysteriously drowned the following day. His brother Otto was also found mentally incompetent. This led to the appointment of a Regent, Prinz Regent Luitpold, who served in that role from 1886 through 1912. Upon his death, he was succeeded by Prinz Ludwig. The latter served as Regent until 1913, when he assumed the throne as King Ludwig III. He was Bavaria’s King until 1918, when all the heads of state relinquished their thrones at WW I’s end.
The 4th Class award was given in both combatants’ and non combatants’ versions. The cross, which measures 1 ¾” x 1 ¾,” has handsome blue arms. Its center features black, gold and white enamel, with a brilliant crowned gold “L” cypher in place. Above that is the Latin word Merenti.
The decoration’s reverse features a rampant Bavarian Lion and the date 1866 (when the decoration was introduced) beneath a pair of crossed swords at the top. The sword’s reverse is hallmarked for .800 silver. The cross’s overall condition is excellent. The enamel shows no chipping whatsoever. This example is in top condition.