Prager Bürgerwehrmedaille

Prague Home Guard Medal

Prague Home Guard Medal was instituted by the Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire Franz Joseph I (18.08.1830-21.11.1916) on October 10, 1866 as a token of appreciation for the members of three irregular home guard units that were raised in Prague. Those volunteer units, “City Sharpshooters” (Bürgerscharfschützen), “Urban Guard” (Städtische Garde) and “Municipal Police Sharpshooters Corps” (Bürgerliches Polizeischarfschützenkorps), were created by patriotically-minded Czechs to fight advancing Prussians and defend Bohemian capital during the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. Home guard units that in fact never saw any action, were composed of volunteers not fit for military conscription due to their age and state of health, mostly policemen and state officials. They managed to equip themselves undertime with uniforms and weapons with no resort to the help of the state.

Design of the Prager Bürgerwehrmedaille was elaborated by the sculptor and medalist from Vienna Josef Hermann Tautenhayn (05.05.1837-01.04.1911).

An obverse showed laurelled bust of Franz Joseph I facing right and circumscribed with capital letters “Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria” (“Franz Josef I · Kaiser von Oesterreich”). The name of the designer was engraved capital letters at the bottom of the bust.

A reverse bore the date of institution of Prager Bürgerwehrmedaille, “1866” with an additional  simple horizontal decoration encircled by a wide oak leaves wreath tied with a ribbon at the bottom.

Prager Bürgerwehrmedaille was worn suspended from a traditional Austrian triangular 40 mm wide silk ribbon that had two vertical stripes, white and cherry red.  

The medal had a circular shape measuring 31 mm in diameter and weighing 13, 8 grams. It was struck of silver at the Vienna Mint. Miniatures measuring 15 mm in diameter were manufactured as well.

Totally 1,200-1,500 pieces were struck, 1,080 of which were awarded.

Prager Bürgerwehrmedaille was presented in a vertical rectangular red-brown box measuring 112x64 mm with gold lettering “Bürger-Medaille.” (with a dot at the end!).

Prague Home Guard Medal 1