The first model of the House Order of Ernestine (1833-1864) always has the letter on the above cross arm as a sign for the Dutch who awarded the order. Haven't you always wondered how the letter "E" (Ernst, Dutch of Coburg-Gotha), "F" (Friedrich, Dutch of Altenburg) or "B" (Bernhard, Dutch of Meiningen) is attached to the insignias of these 1st models - talking about the originals ? Here is now the answer.

In opposite to the fakes the original pieces have little pipes integrated in the enamel, like shown in the next picture. The letter has two tinny wires attached on its back site, that are stuck through the pipes.

You might not want to take these orders apart, to find out about this fact, but you can still look at your piece in a certain angle, to see, if there is the rim of the pipe. If so, you got an original. If not, well...

Below a really nice and rare commander 1st class set  with swords:

click to enlarge  
© A. Schulze Ising, VII/99