This is a topnotch example of the Duchy of Braunschweig’s Order of Henry the Lion Merit Cross 2nd Class. The Henry the Lion decoration family is Imperial Braunschweig’s primary award line. It starts with the Kette (Collar), then continues down through the Großkreuz, Breast Star, Kommandeurkreuz, and Knight’s Cross to the Ehrenzeichen. It is one of Imperial Germany’s most extensive decoration lines. Like most Imperial German decorations, all were awarded with swords during times of conflict. Also, from the Knight’s Cross-level upward, they are absolutely gorgeous decorations. The hand painted enamel is breathtaking. Braunschweig royalty’s house jewelry firm, Siebricht, produced material equal to any firm’s throughout the German Empire. Two Merit Cross Classes exist (awarded from 1834 to 1912). Both classes were awarded with swords during wartime, and without them during peace. Our 2nd Class example does NOT have swords. The cross measures 1 1/4″ x 1.”
The decoration’s four arms bear one of Braunschweig’s mottos, “Immota Fides” (Unshakably Faithful) [The Latin phrase is also the Order’s motto]. The cross’s center boasts Großherzog Wilhelm’s royal cypher. (The Order was founded by the famous Grand Duke Wilhelm in memory of his grandfather, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand). The reverse has a plain back. Its lower arm displays a crown, .900 for silver content, and a large “S” for Siebricht. Although its red and yellow ribbon is wider than many, it IS correct. This is a fine example in excellent condition.