House Order of the Golden Lion, Type II, Knight's Cross with Swords

SKU: 01.HSK.0101.305.01

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    Eleven Knight's Crosses with Swords were awarded in 1849 and three in 1850. The German name of the award is ‘Hausorden vom Goldenen Löwen, Ritterkreuz mit Schwertern'.

Physical Description

A Maltese cross, constructed of gold and enamel, with gold crossed swords through the centre. The cross arms are enamelled in carmine with white enamel edges, which in turn feature a gold inner and outer border. The oval centre medallion is enamelled in blue and features a crowned gold Hessian lion walking to the viewer’s left. The medallion’s ring is enamelled in red with gold borders and the golden inscription ‘VIRTUTE ET FIDELITATE’ (‘for virtue and loyalty’). The reverse medallion is blue enamelled with a gold border and the crowned monogram ‘WK’ in gold in the centre. On a loop for suspension, on a magenta-coloured ribbon.


The House Order of the Golden Lion was instituted by Landgraf Friedrich II of Hesse-Kassel and was dedicated to Saint Elisabeth of Hungary, an ancestor of the founder. The order was conferred upon individuals who demonstrated exceptional civil or military merit.

In 1818, Prince-Elector Wilhelm I added three additional grades to the order, and from this point onward, the awards of the order featured his name or initials on the reverse. The classes now were: Grand Cross, I Class Commander, II Class Commander, and Knight Cross. Although the Grand Cross is documented, there is very limited information on it.

On August 20, 1851, the order was again reduced to one class, and the three lower classes were assimilated into the newly established Wilhelm Order.

The House Order of the Golden Lion and the Wilhelm Order feature a very similar obverse and reverse design. The main difference between them is that the lion featured on the obverse of the House Order of the Golden Lion has the back paw held higher than the front paw, while the lion featured on the obverse of the Wilhelm Order has both paws held at the same height.

Following the death of the last prince-elector of Hesse-Kassel, the order was taken over by Grand Duke Ludwig II of Hesse-Darmstadt. On June 6, 1876, the order was given new statutes and was introduced as a Grand Ducal Order.

The Grand Cross of the order was equal to the Grand Cross of the Ludwig Order.

The order became obsolete in 1918, following the abdication of the last Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt.

The Knight Cross with crossed swords was awarded for military merit.


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    $2,500 USD

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