This is an exquisite ca. 1880 or earlier Knights of Pythias thick dimensional and articulated medal. This is actually two items as it includes its original fancy watch and fob chain with T bar.
The chain, which is very ornate with "curled" links is an antique Victorian 14K gold double link chain. It measures, from the T bar to the end of the swizzle is 9 inches long by 3/8 inches wide.
A knight's bust, ornate and highly crafted sits upon the articulated triad which swings back and forth from the elaborately engraved and scalloped bust. The visor on the knight's helmet moves up and down. A detailed falcon is the pinnacle of the helmet.
A triad of yellow, blue and red enamel with gold letters is segregated by three swords and is topped by a dimensional and very detailed skull and crossbones.
The skull and crossbones have not been incorporated into the medals and swords for many, many years. The skull's garnet eyes are both present, which is rare.
The back of the medal has a dimensional open book or Bible with a sword placed upon it. The edges of the medal have lovely ornamentation.
Both the antique medal and chain are in exceptionally fine condition for their age.
The medal and chain have been tested. The medal is at least solid 10K gold. The bust is 12K gold plate.
A good professional cleaning is recommended, and will bring back the shine to the gold and enamel.
There is one spot on the neck of the gold plated bust where there is a very small portion of plating loss.
This medal and watch and fob chain has a gross weight of 17.7 grams.
The medal is 1 and 5/8 inches tall by 1 and a thick 1/16 inches wide.
It wasn't until 1906 that the USA required gold jewelry and items to be marked by karats.
Please contact me if you have any questions.
HISTORY OF THE KNIGHTS OF PYTHIAS: FCB stands for FRIENDSHIP, CHARITY, and BENEVOLENCE. These are the three cardinal principles of the Order which are adhered very strongly.
The Knights helmet is topped with a falcon which signifies vigilance.
The skull and crossbones symbolize the mortality of man as compared to the immortality of the Supreme Being. The skull and crossbones have not been incorporated into the medals and swords for many, many years.
The Knights of Pythias was the first fraternal organization to receive a charter under an act of the United States Congress. It was founded in Washington DC on February 19, 1864 by Justus H. Rathbone who had been inspired by a play by the Irish poet John Banim about the legend of Damon and Pythias.
This legend illustrates the ideals of loyalty, honor and friendship that are central to the order. It is based upon the story of Damon and Pythias, two very close friends during the time of ancient Greek history. Damon was sentenced to death by the tyrant king, Dionysius, and his friend, Pythias, offered to stay as a hostage for four hours so that Damon could visit his family one last time. No one expected Damon to return and face his fate, but at the very last moment, Damon, true to his word and his friend, appeared at the place of execution. The king was so amazed at this show of loyalty and trust that he freed both men. In those days, most men wore helmets, shields, swords, and a variety of weapons. That is why they are so predominant on articles used by the Knights of Pythias.
The Fraternal Order of Knights of Pythias and its members are dedicated to the cause of universal peace. They are pledged to the promotion of understanding among men of good will as the surest means of attaining Universal Peace. They believe that men with a spirit of goodwill and an honest effort of understanding, can live together on this earth in peace and harmony to reach "Peace Through Understanding".
They are a non-sectarian fraternity but ask that all members believe in some form of Supreme Being. They do not specify any particular religion or denomination.
There are three steps to reach full Knighthood: Page, Esquire, and Knight. It is the same in reaching full Knighthood in this fraternity as well.
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