Original German WWII Iron Cross First Class 1939 by Schauerte & Hohfeld with Case - EKI
Original Items: Only One Available. This an excellent example of a WWII Iron Cross First Class 1939, complete with its original case, also in great shape. The award features a Magnetic core, flat design, and straight pin attachment. It is maker marked with rare LDO number L/54 on the back under the pin catch, which represents Schauerte & Hohfeld of Lüdenscheid, a city with a large garment accessories industry. The The LDO, (Leistungs Gemeinschaft der Deutscher Ordenshersteller - Administration of German orders Manufacturers), was a self-governing organization formed in 1941 which regulated the manufacturing of all German awards. The firm Schauerte & Hohfeld was a partially licensed in the organization, entry number 54.
The Iron cross is in very good condition, with a great patina from age. The silver is retained quite well, and is still quite shiny, and the black paint on the cross is very good. There is a lovely light oxidized patina on the silver areas, showing it is indeed genuine silver. There is a some paint missing on the central cross, particularly on the raised swas (hook cross), which is very common. The rest of the paint is fully intact, with no checking or crazing.
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, with a bit of light staining contact with the award. The exterior shows only light wear, around the edges, with a fully functional hinge and press button catch. There is a bit of the faux leather covering missing on the bottom left edge of the case.
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 (hook cross). 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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