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Old 08-21-2004, 03:13 AM   #1
Taz
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Order "Virtuti Militari".

(Order Virtuti Militari)

This prestigious Order was originally instituted on June 22nd, 1792 by King Stanislas Augustus Poniatowski after the victorious battle of Zielence, during the Polish-Russian War. Its first recipients were Prince Jozef Poniatowski and Tadeusz Kosciuszko.
The original order had the form of the gold or silver oval medal, which was soon replaced by a black enameled cross. This design remains in use with minor differences for the various republics to date.
The awarding of this Order was suppressed 1793 after the partition of Poland but revived again in 1807 with five classes. In the period 1807-1815 it bore the name Military Order of the Duchy of Warsaw. In the period 1815-1832 its name was the Polish Military Order.
Conferred also during the uprising of 1830 and suppressed again by the Russians after its defeat. The first decoration in independent Poland, renewed on August 1, 1919 (its official name Military Order Virtuti Militari was altered to War Order Virtuti Militari in 1933).
The Grand Cross was only awarded on six occasions in the years 1920-1938.
Marshal Jozef Pilsudski was one of the recipiants.

This is the best known and most coveted of all Polish decorations, compared to the British Victoria Cross or American Medal of Honor. It is conferred on soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces, irrespective of their rank, solely for deeds of exceptional bravery and valor at the risk of their lives before an armed enemy, above and beyond the call of duty. It can also be conferred on allied soldiers, civilians, military units, cities and other communities.

The order has the following classes:

Grand Cross, Commander, Knight, Gold Cross and Silver Cross.
The four upper classes of the order are sparingly awarded.

The Grand Cross Krzyz Wielki nadawany jest glowom panstwa. (First Class, Black enamel cross edged in gold, with crown, worn on sash, star on breast). - could be awarded to a Commander-in-Chief for victory in war or decisive battle.

Commander class Krzyz Komandorski nadawany jest wybitnym dowodcom wojskowym ( Second Class, Black enamel cross in gold, with crown, worn at the neck). - to an army commander for victoriously conducting wartime operations.

Knight class Krzyz Kawalerski (Third Class, Black enamel cross (smaller), no crown. Worn on the breast).- to a unit commander for distinguished commanding or war achievement.

Gold Cross Krzyz Zloty (Fourth Class, Gold cross with black lettering. Worn on the breast).- any soldier awarded earlier with the Silver Cross.

Silver Cross Krzyz Srebrny (Fifth Class, Silver cross with black lettering. Worn on the breast.

The Order Virtuti Militari, bestowed during World War II by the Polish Armed Forces (including resistance movement) was recognized and continued to award also by communist authorities. With the Act of October 16, 1992 on Polish Orders and Decorations it is the most senior decoration for war bravery.

The badge of the three upper classes is a black enameled gold Leopold cross with ball finials and the motto on the arms: VIR (left), TUTI (right), MILI (upper), TARI (lower) (for military virtue). Medallion: gilt with a white crowned eagle with regalia, surrounded by a green laurel wreath. Cross reverse: gilt without enamel; the medallion bears the other motto - HONOR / I / OJCZYZNA (honor and country), and the year of institution, 1792. The two upper classes are surmounted by a gilt royal crown. Gold cross: slightly smaller than the knight cross, with gilt, black outlined arms and the motto in black; medallion as above. Silver cross: identical, with the arms silver instead of gilt.

Breast Star Grand Cross: eight sets of plain sliver rays. Superimposed is the black cross without ball finials; between the medallion and wreath there is a black circle with the motto HONOR I OJCZYZNA in its upper part.

The badges in the People's Republic were as described above, but the eagle had no crown; the crown surmounting the badge was substituted by an oval gold shield with the cipher RP (PRL - Polish People's Republic since 1952) surrounded by a gilt laurel wreath. The arms of the three upper classes are black enameled on reverse.

The ribbon is Garter blue with broad black side stripes

Grand Cross - 110 mm.
Commander - 49 mm.
Knight - 35 mm.
Gold Cross - 35 mm.
Silver Cross - 35 mm.

In the People's Republic of Poland the ribbon was light blue with broad black stripes.

Grand Cross - 115 mm.
Commander - 50 mm.
Knight - 40 mm.
Gold Cross - 40 mm.
Silver Cross - 40 mm.
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Last edited by Taz; 09-10-2004 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 08-22-2004, 08:07 AM   #2
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Here are the early original versions of the Order Virtuti Militari in it's oval form.
On the left the avers of the Gold Order and on the right a Gold avers and Silver reverse pic.
One point I am researching at the moment is the ribbons dipicted in the pics are the same ribbon as used by the St. Stanislas order.
When the new Order Polonia Restitua was created it also used the same ribbon as the old St. Stanislas order (red with white edge stripes) to carry on the tradition. In the photo in the following post the reverse of the early Silver version of this Order is shown with the ribbon of the later Virtuti Militari ( Blue with Black edge stripes)
Which ribbon is correct?

Eddie.
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File Type: jpg Unbenannt1.jpg (48.3 KB, 35 views)
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Old 08-22-2004, 08:12 AM   #3
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Here is the pic of the 1792 Virtuti Militari reverse showing the blue and black ribbon in question.
Note also the ring variations, or lack of rings.

Eddie.

(pic CO Dr. Zdzislaw P. Wesolowski)
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File Type: jpg virtuti2.jpg (25.8 KB, 33 views)
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Old 01-22-2006, 08:39 PM   #4
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Does anyone know what's market price for issued documented Silver cross of Virtuti Military from Communist period?

Thanks,
William
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Old 01-23-2006, 04:59 PM   #5
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hello William I never seen any genuine virtuti military cross, neither a documented one...following Dr Zdzislaw P. Wesolowski, only 4852 pieces have been awarded between 1943 and 1989...so a rare award!
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:25 PM   #6
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I wanted to collect Polish awards (being Polish) but I've heard that they are heavily faked in Poland. Can anyone confirm that?
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nack
I wanted to collect Polish awards (being Polish) but I've heard that they are heavily faked in Poland. Can anyone confirm that?
That's true,

Polish awards are widely faked.

William
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Old 01-24-2006, 04:40 AM   #8
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Well, there are still some awards that are not being faked, but it's only for those low-rank ones...
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Old 01-24-2006, 08:50 PM   #9
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This is one scary statement made by Dr. Zdzislaw P. Wesolowski:

"On the Polish collectors militaria market today we can find up to 90% of items to be fake or reproductions. "

And we thought Soviet field was badly affected by fakes...:angerr

William
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Old 01-24-2006, 11:08 PM   #10
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A friend of mine collects Polish orders, and he has some nice but very fake items (he also has a number of real ones incidentally!). But those real ones are very hard to find. Many of the Polish orders were awarded in surprisingly small numbers.

Many of the fakes can be quite easily detected though when you hold them...real ones are very nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by new world
This is one scary statement made by Dr. Zdzislaw P. Wesolowski:

"On the Polish collectors militaria market today we can find up to 90% of items to be fake or reproductions. "

And we thought Soviet field was badly affected by fakes...:angerr

William
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