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> Database: variants of Bene Merenti medal (1876)
Cuza
Posted: November 09, 2005 02:03 pm
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“The first non-military medal established by Carol I while he was still prince of the principalities was the Bene Merenti medal. The medal of Bene Merenti was instituted by Royal Decree no. 314 on February 20, 1876 (the Danubian Romanians used the Julian calendar until 31 March, 1919 at which time they moved forward to 14 April, 1919 using the Gregorian calendar). The medal is based on a princely Hohenzollern award instituted by the House of Hohenzollern in 1857. The medal was given for merit in the area of arts, science, industry and agriculture. It was rarely awarded. The medal was divided into first class and second class. Both Romanians and foreign nationals were eligible for the award.

The earliest observed medal is 40mm in diameter with the bust of Carol I without a full beard and with “W. Kullrich F.” on the edge of the rim of the medal. The generally issued first type obverse was 30 mm in diameter and had a bust of then Prince Carol I, with a full beard, facing to the left, surrounded with the circular inscription "CAROLUS I PRINCEPS ROMAINIAE". The reverse had the words "BENE" over AMERENTI" over a bar, all centered and surrounded by a circular wreath of oak leaves. The piece was surmounted by a 15-16 mm ring to attach the ribbon. The first class was silver gilt and the second class was silver. Later issues of the first type, first class were bronze gilt. A variant of the first type has the name of the artist, W. KULLRICH (1821-1887) immediately underneath Carol I bust on the obverse. The first type was issued from 1876 until Carol I was crowned King of Romania on May 22, 1881.

The second type was in the same configuration as the first only the bust of Carol I was surrounded by the circular inscription: "CAROLUS I REX ROMANIAE". The size was approximately 2 mms larger than the first type.

The third type was in the same configuration as the second only the size was approximately 30mm in diameter and the size of the letters on the obverse and reverse were approximately 1mm larger. The beard of Carol I was also shorter. A variant of this type has been observed with the beard being the length of the second type and the "AE" of the "ROMANIAE" being combined.

The fourth type was in the same configuration as the third type except that the beard of Carol I was longer than any of the other types.”

Excerpt © Copyright 2003 Orders and Medals Society of America and Charles H. Pankey. All rights reserved. Reproduced by Permission

(IMG:http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/394/benemedalsetobvsmallertif8cg.jpg)
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Cuza
Posted: November 09, 2005 02:05 pm
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Cuza
Posted: November 09, 2005 02:10 pm
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Solid gold variant of Bene Merenti.

(IMG:http://img495.imageshack.us/img495/1216/benegold1vf.jpg)

Picture courtesy of LA GALERIE NUMISMATIQUE catalog, Auction VI, 25 September, 2005
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dragos03
Posted: November 09, 2005 07:52 pm
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Very interesting facts about a very rare medal. I know this medal was abolished in 1931 but when did it actually stop being awarded?

I found some more pics on the Internet. A silver one (from www.vicmart.com):

(IMG:http://img467.imageshack.us/img467/4629/bigthumbitem887rum1870bmerenti.jpg)

And a better picture of the same golden medal from La Galerie Numismatique:

(IMG:http://img467.imageshack.us/img467/8331/medaliabenemerenticl1carolprin.jpg)
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Cuza
Posted: November 09, 2005 08:47 pm
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QUOTE (dragos03 @ Nov 9 2005, 01:52 PM)
Very interesting facts about a very rare medal. I know this medal was abolished in 1931 but when did it actually stop being awarded?


I found some more pics on the Internet. A silver one (from www.vicmart.com):




"The medal ceased to exist by Royal Decree no. 2684 after the initiation of the Order of Cultural Merit on July 19, 1931. Monitorul Oficial no. 226, September 28, 1931. Recipients of the Bene Merenti medal were allowed to continue wearing the medal.

Beginning in 1932 King Carol II (1894-1953) disregarded Romanian law by instituting orders and medals (including the Bene Merenti) which were issued Proprio Motu and were not included in the hierarchy of national orders. "

This is from the same article quoted above and reproduced at http://www.worldwar2.ro/decoratii/?article=113. It is probably lost to history whether Carol II continued to award the medal-I would guess he was more prone to awarding the Orders of Bene Merenti.


The vicmart medal is the same as the 40mm medal above and was purchased at that site.
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REGAL UNIFORMA COLECTOR
Posted: November 10, 2005 01:08 pm
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Cuza, Thank you for sharing your research. You are truely a medal scholar. The large first type in silver 40mm I have not seen before. Was this typical of the period or was this a private purchase piece ? Same on the solid gold piece. Usually found gold gilt over silver, was this a private purchase piece ?
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Carol I
Posted: November 10, 2005 04:32 pm
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This one has been on eBay a couple of weeks back.

(IMG:http://img257.imageshack.us/img257/3024/65709660891yx.jpg)
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Cuza
Posted: November 10, 2005 04:33 pm
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QUOTE (REGAL UNIFORMA COLECTOR @ Nov 10 2005, 07:08 AM)
Cuza, Thank you for sharing your research. You are truely a medal scholar. The large first type in silver 40mm I have not seen before. Was this typical of the period or was this a private purchase piece ? Same on the solid gold piece. Usually found gold gilt over silver, was this a private purchase piece ?



Thank you for your kind words in regard to the Bene Merenti
article. Regarding the silver 40mm piece, I have never seen one before
or since and cannot attest as to whether or not it was a private purchase
piece. There was an early trial table medal for Bene Merenti of this size,
however, it differed in appearance from this piece. The image of Carol I
is consistent with an early piece because of his youthful appearance and
lack of full beard.

The solid gold piece is more of an enigma. The image of Carol I is
circa 1881. The size of the circular inscription is also consistent with post
1881 Bene Merenti medals. The loop attached to the medal in the
catalogue is not characteristic with correct period pieces, nor is the size of
the ring attached to it. All of these things could indicate a private
purchase piece. I have discussed a solid gold Bene Merenti with every
collector I know and it is the first piece that has appeared. I am attaching
a picture of Bene Merenti pieces with dates that were discerned from
period stamps and the interactive CD “Royal Effigies on Romanian
Medals”. The gold piece appears consistent with the 1881 piece, which is
second from the left on the bottom row, in all respects other than “REX”
vs. “PRINCEPS”. Your guess is as good as mine.

(IMG:http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/7052/benewdatesa2mk.jpg)
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dragos03
Posted: November 10, 2005 07:57 pm
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According to the website of the Romanian Presidency (http://www.presidency.ro/static/Canord/IstoricM.Cult.htm), the Bene Merenti medal was awarded unofficially before 1876 by Carol I, as a table medal without ribbon and ring.
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Cuza
Posted: November 10, 2005 08:32 pm
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QUOTE (dragos03 @ Nov 10 2005, 01:57 PM)
According to the website of the Romanian Presidency (http://www.presidency.ro/static/Canord/IstoricM.Cult.htm), the Bene Merenti medal was awarded unofficially before 1876 by Carol I, as a table medal without ribbon and ring.

There is such a table medal shown in "Royal Effigies on Romanian Medals". It indicates "41/3 mm, Silver, Kullrich. The table medal is identical to the large medal above with the exception of the loop and ring at the top.
(IMG:http://img469.imageshack.us/img469/562/benetablemedal8uz.jpg)
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Cuza
Posted: November 10, 2005 11:37 pm
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Here is the trial medal from "Royal Effigies on Romanian Medals" listing "Aluminium 43/5 J.E. Bucharest, 1873-1876"

"J.E. - Unspecified Romanian modeler and engraver, of low artistic and technical value, author of some unissued medal and decoration designs, from 1870 - 1878.
He signs: J.E." Also from "Royal Effigies".

This would be the rare version to own!

(IMG:http://img224.imageshack.us/img224/5155/trialbeneb7os.jpg)
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REGAL UNIFORMA COLECTOR
Posted: November 11, 2005 04:24 am
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Re : Solid gold medal. I would think that this medal would have the proper assay marks or makers marks. This medal has no marks at all.
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REGAL UNIFORMA COLECTOR
Posted: November 12, 2005 04:38 pm
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Re : Solid gold medal. When I look at the close up photos of this medal, I notice the lack of detailing in the hair and beard. On the rear of the medal, it also lacks detailing to the leaves of the wreath. I also notice alot of spotting on both sides caused by having a porus surface. There are also unclear lines in this medal. It suggest only one thing. This medal is a cast copy.
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REGAL UNIFORMA COLECTOR
Posted: November 12, 2005 04:42 pm
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REGAL UNIFORMA COLECTOR
Posted: November 12, 2005 04:45 pm
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