Original German WWI Prussian Vaulted Iron Cross First Class 1914 marked 800 - EKI
Original Item: Only One Available. Established by Frederick William in 1813 for gallantry in action, the Iron Cross decoration was revived several times for later conflicts. The bulk of the issues are divided into 1st and 2nd class versions, but a rare and superior 'Grand Cross' was also awarded for successful field commanders. During WW1 the lower decoration was freely awarded with 5½ million second class types issued. Originally, the Iron Cross was an award of the Kingdom of Prussia, however given Prussia's pre-eminent place in the German Empire formed in 1871, it became an award for all of Germany.
The basic design of the WW1 crosses is a central cross patee struck from iron and mounted in a silver frame which has a raised crenulated decorative border. The obverse of the cross bears the date 1914 under a crowned W monogram. Second class crosses would have a ring at the top where a ring was attached, and had more markings on the back. The first class award, however, was meant to attach directly to the front of the uniform.
This example is in very good condition, and is a "vaulted" design, meaning that it has a curved profile from the side, as opposed to the usual "flat" design. It has the standard hinged retainer clip on the back, and has a lovely tarnished silver patina, with most of the original black paint retained on the front. It is not maker marked, which is not unusual, as only some of the makers would put any type of marking on the rear. It is however marked with 800, which is the silver content mark for .800, a common marking.
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.
This is a fantastic chance to own a lovely period example of the most iconic of all Imperial German awards. Ready to display!
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