Original German WWII Cased Iron Cross First Class 1939 by B.H. Mayer's Art Mint of Pforzheim - EKI
Original Items: Only One Available. This an excellent cased example of a WWII Iron Cross First Class 1939, with a Magnetic core, flat design, and straight pin attachment. It is maker marked on the back with Präsidialkanzlei des Führers Lieferant (Presidential Chancellery Supplier) number 26 on the pin, which represents B.H. Mayer's Kunstprägeanstalt (Art Mint) of Pforzheim.
The medal is in very good condition. The silver plate is retained quite well, and is still quite shiny, and the black paint on the cross is very good, with just a bit of crazing and oxidation. There is a lovely light oxidized patina on the silver areas, showing it is indeed genuine silver. There is a bit of checking on the painted central core, but no real wear or oxidation otherwise.
The award comes complete in its original presentation case, with the Iron Cross emblem on the lid, and a functional catch on the front. The interior velvet and satin lining is very well retained, though it has become stained due to age and contact with the award. There also is some water staining coming from the hinge end of the case. The exterior shows only light wear, and the front closure catch is fully functional. There is however some lifting of the faux leather on the rear, and the hinge is now rusty due to water exposure.
The basic design of the WWII 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 1939 under a "mobile" swas. 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.
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.
The Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz, abbreviated EK) was a military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia, and later in the German Empire (1871–1918) and NSDAP Germany (1933–1945). It was established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia in March 1813 backdated to the birthday of his late wife Queen Louise on 10 March 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars (EK 1813). Louise was the first person to receive this decoration (posthumous). The recommissioned Iron Cross was also awarded during the Franco-Prussian War (EK 1870), World War I (EK 1914), and World War II (EK 1939, re-introduced with a swas added in the center).
The Iron Cross was normally a military decoration only, though there were instances of it being awarded to civilians for performing military functions. Two examples of this were civilian test pilots Hanna Reitsch who was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class and 1st Class and Melitta Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg, who was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class, for their actions as pilots during World War II.
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