Iron Cross 1914, II Class Cross, by Königliche Muenzamt

CATEGORY: Version

SKU: 02.PRU.0103.104.01.009

Estimated market value:

$75 USD

  • Model III, II Class Cross, by Königliche Muenzamt
  • Model III, II Class Cross, by Königliche Muenzamt
  • Model III, II Class Cross, by Königliche Muenzamt

Estimated market value:

$75 USD

Attributes

  • Country
    Germany
  • Makers
    Königliche Muenzamt, Stuttgart
  • Composition
    Blackened Iron/Silver
  • Inscription
    Obv: W 1914 Rev: FW 1913
  • Size
    43mm

Physical Description and Item Details


An First War Iron Cross 2nd Class 1914 by Königliche Muenzamt

An First War Iron Cross 2nd Class 1914 by Königliche Muenzamt - Silver frame with iron core, magnetic, maker marked "KM" (Königliche Muenzamt, Stuttgart) on the ring, 42.5 mm, dark patina, surface rust and scattered paint loss evident on the arms, very fine.

History


The Iron Cross was a military decoration founded by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and it was awarded for acts of heroism, bravery and exemplary leadership, regardless of rank or status.

The Cross was primarily a military decoration, yet on numerous occasions, it was awarded to civilians for services rendered to the military. The concept was originally conceived in 1806, and finally confirmed in mid February of 1813.

The design of the Cross was inspired by the Cross pattée, which was used as a symbol of the Teutonic Order, as well as the Prussian Army from 1871 to 1918.

The Order consisted of three grades, I Class Cross, II Class Cross and Grand Cross. The I and II Class are largely the same in size and composition. The Grand Cross was double the size of the former.

The I and II Class Crosses were worn on the left breast (II Class with a ribbon), and the Grand Cross was worn suspended from the neck. The II Class must be awarded prior to the I Class being awarded.

The Cross was first awarded in recognition of exemplary military and civil service during the Napoleonic Wars. These crosses, awarded between 1813-1815 are often referred to as Model I.

Model III of the Decoration was awarded during the First World War (1914), and subsequent versions were awarded during World War II and featured a swastika in the center of the obverse.

When war broke out in August 1914, the Iron Cross was renewed, linking the grave situation of affairs to the heroic deeds of 1813 and 1870. Commanding generals had the right to reward acts of bravery in the name of the King. The Iron Cross was used as a national emblem on aircrafts, captive balloons, airships and armoured cars. Foreigners (allies of Germany) were awarded with Iron Crosses, which did not have to be approved.

The Cross itself remains largely unchanged since its inception in 1813. The date on the obverse was changed to 1914 located under the crowned W.

The II Class Cross may be flat or curved in shape. The II Class Cross may be composed of silver or silver gilt.

The Cross could be awarded to both combatants and non-combatants. The crosses are the same, but the cross for combatants was awarded on a black ribbon, with thin white stripes, and the cross for non-combatants was awarded on a white ribbon, with thin black stripes.

Non-combatants included military doctors, engineers, logistics personnel, etc.

Once a highly esteemed award, that status of the Iron Cross II Class was downgraded significantly during the First World War, due to how often it was awarded. The II Class was awarded 5,196,000 times, including the 196,000 awards during 1919-1925.

As there were a very large number of II Class Crosses awarded, there are many manufacturers. Due to the difference in manufacturer the appearance and most commonly, the size, may vary.

These manufacturers include, but are not limited to:

F.A. Assman & Sohn, Lüdenscheid (marked “A”)
Emil Weigand, Vienna (marked “E.W.”)
Falckenberg & Richter, Koblenz (marked “FR”)
H (unknown manufacturer)
K.A.G. (unknown manufacturer)
KD (unknown manufacturer)
KM (unknown manufacturer)
Alfred Roesner, Dresden (marked “R”)
Sy & Wagner, Berlin (marked “SW”)
Paul Meybauer, Berlin (unmarked)
Steinhauer & Lück, Lüdenscheid (unmarked)
Wilhelm Deumer KG, Lüdenscheid (unmarked)

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