Skip to content


Class.  The ranking of ORDERS and DECORATIONS for which a difference for each class is purposely designed for each strata in their medals and insignia; yet all retaining a similarity of design. Some early orders had many classes; the Order of the Star of Brabant for the Grand Duchy of Hesse (established 1914) had 12 such classes. The Austrian Order of Merit (1922) had ten classes. However the nominal number of classes for most Orders is six. The ranking of these classes with their typical insignia are:

Sovereign of the Order – The most elaborate Collar or Sash with Badge or      

               Breast Star, often gem encrusted (for royalty only).

Grand Cross  – Badge suspended from a Collar, often in precious metal.

Grand OfficerBadge in precious metal suspended from a Neck Ribbon.

Commander  – Smaller Badge suspended from a Neck Ribbon.

Officer – Small Medal hung from a Ribbon drape with Rosette on Ribbon.

Chevalier or Knight – Small medal hung from Ribbon drape without rosette.

The higher the rank the more elaborate and exotic the medallic decoration. Higher classes are made in precious metal and have more components, as SASH, COLLAR, BREAST STAR; higher classes are usually larger in size; and higher classes bear more and larger jewels and better enamel work.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

NNP is 100% non-profit and independent // Your feedback is essential and welcome. // Your feedback is essential and welcome.