Royal Order of Francis I, Grand Cross Breast Star


SKU: 01.ITA.0117.102.01.000

Estimated market value:

$4,000 USD

  • Royal Order of Francis I, Grand Cross Breast Star Obverse
  • Royal Order of Francis I, Grand Cross Breast Star Reverse
  • Royal Order of Francis I, Grand Cross Breast Star Mark

Estimated market value:

$4,000 USD


  • Country
  • Composition
  • Inscription
  • Size

Physical Description and Item Details

Italian States, Kingdom of the Sicilies. A Royal Order of Francis I, Grand Cross, by Halley, c.1870

(Reale Ordine di Francesco I). Instituted 1829. A finely manufactured silver star in typical Halley style, consisting of four, hand filed arms, each with ball finials, with Gold cladded fleur-de-lis in each quadrant, obverse centre separately affixed, with silver beading surround, Gold crowned cyphre of Francis I, surrounded by finely enameled green laurels, a blue enameled border with the Latin Motto “De Rege Optime Merito” (King Most Deserving), reverse with dual stays and pin assembly, with pronounced ornate Halley makers plate, hallmarked with Paris assay mark on pin and catch with boars head denoting 800 silver fineness (1838-1962), measuring 73 mm (w) x 73 mm (h), with toned silver, minor enamel loss to laurels, otherwise extremely fine.


The Order was founded as a civil award by Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies. It was primarily conferred to recognize meritorious civil services within the realms of culture, agriculture, science, commerce, and art. Later, the Order was amended to also reward meritorious service within the military.

It originally consisted of five grades, the Grand Cross with Grand Cross Breast Star, Commander, Knight, Gold Medal, and Silver Medal.

On December 21, 1858, Ferdinand II amended the Order, adding a Breast Star to the Commander grade, and creating the II Class Knight. He also altered the wearing style of the Grand Cross. Prior to 1858, the Grand Cross was worn on a ribbon around the neck, following the amendments of Ferdinand II in 1858 the Grand Cross was worn on a sash.

Following the unification of Italy in 1860, the Order was officially discontinued. Unofficially, the Order was continued by the exiled King Francis II until his successor stopped the conferral of the Order in 1934.

This Order is also known as the Royal Order of Francis I of the Two Sicilies.

The motto and obverse inscription of the Order is “Optime merito de Rege,” which roughly translates to “The King deserves the best.”

There are examples of the Order awards in which the reverse inscription is only composed of the date "1829" (M.DCCC.XXIX).

The Grand Cross was awarded to high ranking individuals who had rendered exemplary services to the Crown.


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