ABOVE is a photo showing a full frontal view of this pre World War I, Commemorative Medal issued by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1898 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I.
BELOW is an enlarged view of the medal portion of this decoration bearing the relief image of Franz Joseph looking right.
The front of this gilt washed metal disc features a highly detailed side relief image of a hatless Emperor Franz Joseph I in full uniform facing and looking to his right. Running in a semi circular along the front facing side of this coin from one shoulder of Franz Joseph to the other is the latin language inscription in capital letters: " FRANCOIS I D.G. IMP AVST REX BOH ETC ET REX AP HVNG (Franz Joseph I, by the grace of God, Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia and Moravia and Apostolic King of Hungary).
The second major component of this item is a triangular folded, orange ribbon with two (2) thin white colored accent lines appearing along each of its outer edges, with a third (3rd) thicker one running down its center and dividing it into two (2) equal parts.
ABOVE is a full reverse side view of this 50th Anniversary Emperor Franz Joseph I commemorative medal. Clearly visible in this shot are the years 1848 and 1898 respectively, which appear as Roman numerals at the top of the circular surface. Centered in the middle of the item between four (4) separate laurel and oak leaf sprays is the Latin text "SIGNUM MEMORIAL" (sign or token of commemoration). Also visible is the slight tear or wear mark in the ribbon fabric on its upper back right side.
While demonstrating extensive age patina and oxidation of the coloration of its ribbon, it should be noted that a large amount of the original gold wash that covered this item is still intact and clearly visible on both sides of the item. Moreover, despite a slight tear or wear mark on the reverse side of its ribbon, this medal remains in good condition overall.
Incidentally, the Emperor Franz Joseph I 50th anniversary commemorative medal was made available for award to all personnel who were then performing active government service, on all levels, in support of the empire on that occasion. For reference, this not only included police, fire, municipal officials and bureaucrats, but also all army, navy and assorted militias, and/or reserves as well.
Given the importance of the Emperor Franz Joseph to the history and stability of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, right from his assent to the throne in 1848 during a European wide revolution for freedom, until the time of his death in November 1916 at the height of World War I, this medal commands genuine political and historical interest.
ABOVE is an enlarged view of the reverse side of this 50th Anniversary Emperor Franz Joseph I commemorative medal. Clearly visible in this shot is not only the excellent detail that this item commands, but also the presence of large portions of its original gold wash finish which it still retains.
In summary, the historical importance of this item makes it a worthy addition to any serious collection of Imperial Austro-Hungarian medals, uniforms or political artifacts.