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May 2021 Coin Auction  4 May 2021
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Lot 28

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Starting Price: 10 000 EUR
Price realized: 44 000 EUR

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France,
Order of the Reunion,
FRANCE,
Grand cross breast star, first type, 71.67g, 99mm, in silver, by Martin-Guillaume Biennais (1764-1843), On six bundles of arrows linked by a ribbon with motto A JAMAIS, a crowned eagle, head left, wings spread, wearing the Legion of Honour collar and holding lightning bolts in talons, on its breast, a shield depicting imperial throne decorated with bees and supported by two lions : Holland and Tuscany, Roman she-wolf with Romulus and Remus, TOUT POUR L' EMPIRE rev. on green leather, inscriptions "BIENNAIS, ORFEVRE DE L'EMPEREUR ET ROI. A PARIS" (Barac Part II, n°632, p.583 ; Collignon, n°558, p.330 ; Werlich page 139).

Order instituted by Napoleon Ist on the 18th of October 1811 to award services in public administration, in magistracy and in the army, throughout the Empire. For the sake of equality but also in order to replace abolished foreign orders, this new order was intended to encourage people unity under the protection of the imperial eagle.
The word Reunion refers to the unification of different departments of the Empire including Holland, hanseatic cities, Rome and Tuscany.
It was the second most important order of the empire after the Legion of Honour. Originally, the order should have included 200 Grand cross, 1000 Commanders and 10 000 Knights. By March 31st 1814, there were 1622 recipients including 614 foreigners, as follows: 1364 Knights, 127 Commanders and 131 Grand cross.
The order was abolished by royal order on 28th of July 1815.

PROVENANCE: Belgian private collection.
Very rare, lightly toned in places, light wear on highpoints, extremely fine.
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