First (military) breaststar for grandmasters and - officer type in a embroidered silvertreated design.
The Order of Leopold is Belgiums highest and oldest knight order. The order was established in 1832, just two years after the Belgian Independence. She was devided into a military and civilian class, to seperate these classes the military version has two crossed swords beneath the crown. The order can be reciept for bravery, good conduct and long service in the Belgian military.
The order of Leopold was established on the 11th of July 1832. Former minister of State Felix De Merode , whose brother Frédéric De Merode was killed in the battle for Berchem in October 1830, introduced the proposal to create a national order for services rendered the the new nation. This proposal wasn't very welcomed in the house of representatives, because the former Dutch order of the lion was so many times wrongfully awarded in the Dutch United Kingdom. Also were many represantives cautious because of the costs a national order would bring.
The first proposal of the order had the name 'Orde van de eendracht' but this changed when the Chairman Dumortier stated that the new King Leopold was the head of the new nation and for this historic signifacants its was better to take the name of the King for the national order, this resulted in the Order of Leopold.
Because of the unpopularity of the proposal it take four sessions before the proposal was finaly accepted with 37 votes to 33. The new law was published on the 11th of July 1832 and stated the following:
Art 1. There will be national order created , for services
renderd to the nation. It will bare the name Order of
Art 2. The king is the Grand Master of the order.
Art 3. The order will be devited into four classifications:
First class : Grand Cross
Second class : Commander
Third Class: Officer
Fourth Class: Knight
Art 4. The order will only awarded by the King
Art 6. The motto on the order will be 'Eendragt maekt Magt'
The shape of the order will be stated on Royal Degree.
Art 7. en art. 8 is about the pension the awarded will be given
every day during his active time of serving the nation.
On the 8th of November 1832 article 4 is adjusted that the order will be awarded by the departement of Foreign Affairs.
The first military Order of Leopold was awarded on the 8th of December 1832 to the wounded French engeneer soldier Valentin Ausseil. The king visited the frontline on the battle of the citadelle of Antwerp in the same month. When he saw the heavenly wounded soldier in one of the fieldhospital, he decorated him with knight in the Order of Leopold. The artist N. De Keyzer made a painting of this event in 1862.
PAINTING OF KING LEOPOLD VISITING THE WOUNDED SOLDIER AUSSEIL BY N. DE KEYZER
The shape of the order was established by Royal Degree as stated in article 6 on the law of the 11th July 1832. The degree was published on the 3th of August 1832 and stated the fowolling:
Art1. The juwel of the order shell be made in a white enamelled cross,
that bares a laurel and oakleaf wreath between the four armes
the cross. In the middle will be a black enamelled shield surrounded
by one red border between two small golden circles within the
initials of the monarch, the double LL and double RR on the reverse
of the juwell and the escutcheon of the nation together with the
motto of the nation, placed in golden letters on the bottom red
border on the front of the juwell. On top of the cross will be the
presence of a crown.
Art.2 The ribbon wil be plain tight red
Art.3 The classes of the jewells will be created as follows:
A silver treated breaststar will be stiched on and worn on the
leftside of the clothing. The breaststar will have a dimention of
104 mm in diameter. The Grand Cross will also be worn an a
ribbon with a wide of 75mm that will be worn from the right
shoulder going to the left.
The award will be stiched on the clothing as above but has now
star and has a diameter of 72mm. The juwell will worn through a
The award will be placed on a ribbon of 40mm wide, suspended
with a rosette.
The award will be placed on a ribbon of 30mm wide, whitout a
The awards will be gold for the first three classes and silver
for the fourth class.
Art. 5 The crosses for the military will be wearing two crossed swords
between the cross and the crown. The Grand Masters and
Commanders will bare the crossed swords in gold on the silver
Art. 6 Every awarded shell recieve his scroll at the same moment of his
By the end of 1838 the order of Leopold gets its fifth class, which is the
Grand Officer. The description of the award for a Grand Officer was
published on the 16th of May 1839, which stated:
The silvertreated cross of the order will be stiched on the clothing
and has a cross with rays between the arms. The overal
dimention of the cross wil be 9mm.
From this point on, the Grand Masters had a different cross from the
first commanders and now Grand Officers. This cross is discribed as
An eight pointed silver star stitched on the clothing
with the dimentions of 80mm high and 60mm wide.
REIGN OF LEOPOLD I FIRST TYPES (1833-1845)
Joseph Germain Dutalis
Dutalis was the purveyor of the Dutch king Willem I and worked from his silvershop in Brussels. After the Belgian uprising in 1830 Dutalis had it difficult to proceed as a silversmith. His major work consists of making the new Leopoldsorder and the Iron Cross 1830, but the Belgian Government found that the crosses made by Dutalis were to expensive and rather placed orders with French juwellers, which made these in less quality. It is known that King Leopold I and prince Albert of Great-Britain prefer the wear the crosses made by Dutalis because of there high quality. In 1838 a new class of the order was made by the Belgian Governement. The second class became a breaststar wich was different from the breasstar that came with the Commandors cross. The order was given to Dutalis to make these first crosses, one of these crosses was sold at Sothebys for £ 16.000 another is preserved in the collection of the Belgian Army museum in Brussels.The first military award was given to the French general A. Schneider.
Dutalis closed his silverbusiness in 1844, and lived wealthy the rest of his live.
This coin was made for the inauguration of the order of Leopold. The coin was engraved by the Belgian engraver Jéhotte in 1846.
MAKERSMARK OF DUTALIS
Joseph Allard was contacted by the Belgian Goverment to make the Leopoldsorder, because he had the connections to make the crosses in Paris and sell them for a cheaper price than Dutalis on the Goverment. This had its reflects on the quality of the crosses that were produced. Just like Dutalis he made orders and decorations for the Dutch kingdom before the Belgian uprising in 1830 and became a purveyor the new Belgian king Leopold I from 1832 till 1865. He made a new design of the Dutalis Spanish shaped crown in 1934. The major different was that the crown had a more wider shape. Allard was also one of the few makers of the second class breaststar, that was established in 1838 , these stars are marked 'Allard Brevette'.
MAKERSMARK OF ALLARD
Charles Jacques Corneille Buls
Buls was a Belgian juweller from 1829, who had his workshop in Mechelen ( Malines). Because of the high demand for the new order the Belgian Government placed an order with him. In 1839 he also like Joseph Allard made an improvement design on the crown. This crown can be identified by its narrow cutouts.
THE FRENCH TYPE 1833-1865
MAKERSMARK OF BULS
WE ARE TRYING TO PROVIDE AN IMAGE SOON
REIGN OF LEOPOLD I SECOND TYPES (1845-1865)
Joseph Heremans deliverd the new order to the Belgian Government on the end of the regency of Leopold I. He made also an improved design of the crown, which contains a crown were very well bent arms. This design was made around 1845. He also used a very small writting of the Belgian moto "L'union fait la force".
Wolfers was the succesor of Dutalis in Brussel and established his business in 1836. Although Wolfers claimed to be the maker of the orders to the King and the Count of Flanders, it is more likely that he produced crosses at during this second period.
REIGN OF LEOPOLD II (1865-1909)
CERTIFICATE OF THE ORDER OF LEOPOLD
This engraver started his business in 1875 in the city of Antwerp. His sons joined the business and the business expanded quickly. One of the few Belgian medalmakers that still excists this day.
P. De Greef
This medal maker was established in 1890 in Brussel and excists until today, delivering quality medals for as well the army as for civilians.
Fisch & Cie
This firm was established in 1853 and was located at the 40-42, Rue Antoine Dansaert, Brussel.
Jules and August Fonson
Although August Fonson established his business 'Fonson Fréres', dealing in military equipment in 1827, the earliest medals we find from this maker are from the reign of King Leopold II. This is probably because the business under King Leopold I had to be mostly manufactering new uniforms for the new Belgian army and the only few medals that where established under king Leopold I were made by jewelers. The Fonson company excisted until late 1950's.
REIGN OF ALBERT I (1909 - 1934)
WILL BE UPDATED SOON
KING ALBERT I GIVES THE ORDER OF LEOPOLD TO THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER
One of the famous Belgian jewelers of the 20th century. The Wolfers brothers established there business on the 4th of November 1912 in Brussels.
De Vigne Hart
REIGN OF KING LEOPOLD III (1934 - 1951)
WILL BE UPDATED SOON