King Maximilian Joseph I. of Bavaria founded the Civil Merit Order of the Bavarian Crown on May 27,1808. With its motto: “Virtus et Honos” the order belongs to the civil merit orders of the Kingdom of Bavaria. The order was originally awarded in three grades: grand cross, commander cross and knights cross as well as its affiliated silver and golden medal. In 1855 the grand commander grade was added to the order's system.


The measurements are as follows:



 Cross [mm]

 Star [mm]

Grand Cross



Grand Commander





 No star



 No star


The star pictured below is an exceptional Russian made example. Its diameter is only 85 mm, which makes it difficult to determine weather it is a grand cross or grand commander star. Knowing about the fact, that the early order decoration were mostly smaller than the late 19th century pieces, it seems logical to assume that the piece below is a grand cross star.



The silver gilt star is perfectly flat and contains the typical needle and two extra pins to secure the star while wearing it. The star shows on its revers three punch marks. Besides the “84” mark representing a silver content 875/1000 there is the court suppliers mark and an “FB” mark. The “FB” mark stands for the Finnish silversmith Frederik Björk in St. Petersburg, who became a master in 1849 and stayed in this capacity until 1860. He had his own workshop in the Savitski house in the Myeschanskay street and had several apprentices. His exceptionally small mark FB is referenced in Bäcksbacke's book (There are some reference pieces made by Björk: Black badge of St. Alexander Nevski dated 186 [Hermitage]. Very flat star of St. Vladimir [Hermitage]. Small star in gold of St. George [only 54.9 x 42 mm; Sheveleva]. Star of the same order [78.5 mm; Sheveleva], badge of the same order 4th class with swords [33.8 mm, Sheveleva] and also a star of the Bavarian order of the crown in its case [65 mm, offered in “Bayerische Orden, Klenau” and later in the auction “Ferdinand I. Zar von Bulgarien, Müller” 1989.)  



The cross is designed in similar manner in all grades The decoration shown below is a typical example made approx. 1880. The overall material is of a light yellow gold still showing its red gold highlights. The gold underneath all translucent enameled parts is hand detailed. The cross is a construction made from various parts and put together very carefully. All golden parts are hand detailed in the time period's manner. Very fine enamel detailing.



Commander or Grand commander Cross avers


Commander or Grand commander Cross reverse

 Grand commander star avers

Tinsel Grand commander star avers

click to enlarge

Grand Cross avers

click to enlarge

Grand Cross reverse



© A. Schulze Ising, XII/00