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Order of Leopold I
(1832-Present)
Knight

The Order of Leopold I is the oldest and highest order of Belgium. It was established in 1832 by King Leopold I in five grades. It has three divisions; Army, Navy and Civilian.
The Army division is distinguished by two crossed swords above the cross and below the suspension crown. The Navy division has two crossed anchors, and the civilian division has only the crown.

The grades are the same for all forms and are listed below in order from highest to lowest:

Grand Cordon
Great Officer
Commander
Officer
Knight






The Knight Grade is made of silver, while the other grades are of silver gilt. Medals awarded for military valor were distinguished by crossed swords attached to the suspension ribbon on both the knight and officer grades. The ribbon of the officer grade is denoted by a rosette, and the commander grade is worn about the neck. Grades above Commander are worn as a sash and breast badge.

This particular example is the Civilian Order of Leopold I, Knight Grade. It is the 1880-1914 type and has the French "L'UNION FAIT LA FORCE" (Unity creates power) on the obverse seal. The enameling is almost flawless, with the only imperfection on the obverse left arm of the cross. It can be seen in the scan as a small brown spot. It also came in the original case. The cover has the Belgian Royal monogram. The box is not in perfect, but in excellent condition. and the inside is maker marked. It reads:

DE VIGNE-HART
GRAVEUR
DE LA MAISON DU ROI
----------------------------------------------------------------------
6, Galerie du Roi 
BRUXELLES 







Special thanks to  Commandant Pat Van Hoorebeke of the Royal Army Museum of Belgium and to Hendrik Meersschaert for providing information about this medal. 
For more information on the Order of Leopold I, click HERE  to go to Hendrik's Medal Corner.
 


 


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Site last Updated on July 14, 2003

Obverse: 
Order of Leopold I
Knight
1880-1914
Reverse: 
Order of Leopold I
Knight
1880-1914