1873 Austria War Medal

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This guide will address the Austrian 1873 War Medal only.  On his 25th Jubilee in December 1873 Kaiser Franz Joseph I instituted the 1873 War Medal (1873 Kriegsmedaille and sometimes called the General Service Medal or General Campaign Medal).  This bronze medal was initially awarded to all personnel who took part in a minimum of one action since 1848.  After 1873, this medal was given to all personnel who took part in each completed campaign.  The last official record of awards was in 1901 but this is currently open to further research.

1873 War Medal

Those in possession of the 1848 Tyrol Commemorative Medal, 1864 Denmark War Medal, 1866 Defence of Tyrol Medal, 1866 Prague Citizens Medal were automatically qualified.  There is some disagreement as to whether or not recipients of the 1909 Annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina Medal and the 1912/13 Balkan War Mobilization Cross were awarded this medal although the statutes imply that they were eligible.  Eligible actions included:

1848 Campaign in Italy (Tyrol)
1848 Campaign in Hungary (Hungarian "War of Liberation")
1849 Campaign in Italy (Tyrol)
1849 Campaign in Hungary (Hungarian "War of Liberation")
1859 Campaign in Italy (Tyrol)
1864 Campaign in Schleswig and Jütland (Denmark)
1866 Campaign in Bohemia and South Germany ("Austrian-Prussian War")
1866 Campaign in Italy (Tyrol)
1869 Insurrection in South Dalmatia
1878 Campaign in Bosnia-Herzegovina
1882 Insurrection in Bosnia-Herzegovina and South Dalmatia
1900 Engagement in China (Boxer Rebellion)
1901 Engagement in China (Boxer Rebellion) 
1909 Annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (many collector sources include this)
1912 First Balkan War (many collector sources include this)
1913 First Balkan War (many collector sources include this)

The medal obverse shows on the laurelled Kaiser's bust with an outer circle which carries the circling inscription:   FRANZ JOSEPH I.KAISER V.ÖSTERREICH KÖNIG V.BÖHMEN ETC APOST. KÖNIG V.UNGARN  *.  The reverse is dated  2. DECEMBER 1873 in 3 lines (those showing the spelling 2. DEZEMBER 1873 where produced after 1900) surrounded by a leaf spray. There are at least 3 further variants:  37 mm thick medal, 36.5 mm thick medal with small font (2. DECEMBER 1873) reverse inscriptions, and 36 mm thinner medal with thicker inscription (2. DECEMBER 1873).  The edge is plain.  A knob type suspension is soldered to the medal through which passes a ring (made of a variety of metals and in many sizes).  It was suspended from a tri-fold yellow ribbon with two longitudinal black stripes ribbon (the Habsburg colors).  The majority of sellers do not differentiate in the various types, which has the potential for some excellent acquisitions by knowledgeable collectors.  If found as part of a group, some detective work may reveal further information as to why this medal was awarded.  Obviously, any papers or documents are an absolute asset and the price is increased.

(obverse) 1873 War Medal (reverse)

Copies and forgeries do exist of this medal, the most common being a cast copy which has been painted.  Prices observed in February 2007 for genuine single examples are:

  • 37 mm thick medal (2. DECEMBER 1873):  8750 Hungarian Florin (HUF) (Hungarian dealer)
  • 36.5 mm thick medal with small font reverse inscriptions:  $42 (online USA dealer)
  • 36 mm thinner medal with thicker inscription:  $48 (online USA dealer)
  • Unspecified types: 5000-10000 HUF (Hungarian dealers)
  • Unspecified types:  €10-€50 (German & Austrian dealers)
  • Unspecified types:  £12-£18 (British dealers)
  • Unspecified types:  $17.50- $50 (ebay)

For your convenience, other associated guides can be found at:   http://reviews.ebay.com/Austria-Hungarian-Empire-Medal-Guides-Index_W0QQugidZ10000000002996168.  Please visit my blog (http://blogs.ebay.com/tsa-li) and/or guides for further information.  Thank you for your visit!

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