The Jubilee Medal was instituted on 18 August 1898 to commemorate the 50th Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef’s accession to the throne. It was awarded to the armed forces and the Gendarmerie and was issued in two versions, gold and bronze.
The medal had a diameter of between 34 and 35 mm and the obverse depicted the bust of Emperor Franz Josef, slightly turned towards the left, with his head in profile, wearing the uniform of a field marshal with the Order of the Golden Fleece, the Military Order of Maria Theresa with sash and star, the War Medal of 1873, the 50 year Military Service Decoration and the Russian George Cross. The inscription round the upper rim read: FRANC•IOS•I•D•G•IMP•AVSTR•REX•BOH•ETC•AC•AP•REX•HVNG. The reverse showed a rectangular plaque with the words SIGNVM MEMORIAE (roughly IN COMMEMORATION) surrounded by a wreath, half made up of oak leaves and half of laurel leaves. The inscription round the upper rim read: MDCCCXLLVIII-MDCCCXCVIII (1848-1898).
The gold version, mounted on a double eagle, was awarded to the armed forces who had already served for 50 years, and the bronze, without the eagles, to the military and the Gendarmerie with less than 50 years’ service. As an officer with only six years’ service First Lieutenant Kolbe received the bronze version. Both versions were worn on a cochineal red tri-fold.
While still a First Lieutenant, Josef Kolbe received a certificate of merit in recognition of his consistently excellent performance in the service of the troops, dated 18 October 1906.