The French National Order of Merit; Grand Cross
The French National Order of Merit; Grand Cross: silver gilt and enamels, 65 mm x 97.5 mm inclusive of its wreath suspension, on its original full-length sash, enamel chipping at the tip of the arm at 10 o'clock on the obverse; and Breast Star: two-piece construction, silver gilt and enamels, 88.5 mm, dual prongs flanking a vertical pinback, small chip in the enamels above the "T" in "NATIONAL" on the centrepiece ring. Near extremely fine. In its hardshelled case of issue, marked "R.F." (République Français) on the lid, maker marked "ARTHUS BERTRAND Paris" on the inside lid, raised slotted medal bed for the star, case extremely fine. Footnote: The National Order of Merit is an Order of State with membership awarded by the President of the French Republic. It was founded on December 3, 1962 by President Charles de Gaullle. The Order was established for two reasons: to replace the large number of ministerial orders previously awarded by the ministries; and to create an award that can be awarded at a lower level than the Order of the Legion of Honour, which is generally reserved for French citizens.