Original German WWI Medal Bar with Iron Cross 2nd Class and Württemberg Friedrich Order Knight 2nd Class
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is fantastic a 100% genuine medal bar removed from the uniform of a fallen or captured German soldier from the Kingdom of Württemberg during WWI, and brought home by an American soldier as a war trophy. It has a very rare Friedrich Order award, the first that we have seen! The medals and ribbons are attached to a very nice metal backing with red felt padding, with a nice hinged attachment pin.
The set of 2 medals consists of the following:
- WWI Iron Cross 2nd Class (Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse, or EKII)
- WWI Kingdom of Württemberg Friedrich Order Knight 2nd Class
Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz) 2nd Class:
Emperor Wilhelm II reauthorized the Iron Cross on 5 August 1914, at the start of World War I. During these three periods, the Iron Cross was an award of the Kingdom of Prussia, although - given Prussia's pre-eminent place in the German Empire formed in 1871 - it tended to be treated as a generic German decoration. The 1813, 1870, and 1914 Iron Crosses had three grades.
The Iron Cross 1st Class and the Iron Cross 2nd Class were awarded without regard to rank. One had to possess the 2nd Class already in order to receive the 1st Class (though in some cases both could be awarded simultaneously). The egalitarian nature of this award contrasted with those of most other German states (and indeed of many other European monarchies), where military decorations were awarded based on the rank of the recipient. For example, Bavarian officers received various grades of that Kingdom's Military Merit Order (Militär-Verdienstorden), while enlisted men received various grades of the Military Merit Cross (Militär-Verdienstkreuz). Prussia did have other orders and medals which it awarded on the basis of rank, and even though the Iron Cross was intended to be awarded without regard to rank, officers and NCOs were more likely to receive it than junior enlisted soldiers.
Please note the edge seam for authentication, which is not present on reproductions. Iron crosses were commonly constructed from an iron core sandwiched in a surrounding two part silver frame, normally the seam of these two silver parts is visible around the edge of the cross as is seen on this fine example.
Friedrich Order of the Kingdom of Württemberg, Knight 2nd Class
The Friedrich Order (German: Friedrichs-Orden or Friedrichsorden) was an order of merit of the German Kingdom of Württemberg. It was instituted on 1 January 1830 by the second king of Württemberg, Wilhelm I in remembrance of his father, King Friedrich I. In 1918, the end of the monarchy meant the abolition of the order.
The order was created with a single class, conferring nobility. On 3 January 1856, the Order was recreated with four classes were created and on 29 September 1870 a Knight 1st Class and a military division with swords were added (existing Knights were appointed Knights 1st Class). In 1892 the "Medal of the Order of Frederick" was added to the order. An additional rank was created on 6 March 1899, the Grand Cross with Crown (or Crown of the Grand Cross).
The classes were:
Grand Cross with Crown
Commander 1st Class
Commander 2nd Class
Knight 1st Class
Knight 2nd Class
All grades were worn with a sky blue ribbon.
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