Original German WWII Iron Cross First Class 1939 in Rare LDO Case - EKI
Original Items: Only One Available. This an very nice patinated German WWII Eisernes Kreuz (Iron Cross) First Class 1939, in its original LDO box. No Iron Cross collection is complete without the rare LDO box, which shows only minor wear, with a lovely black leatherette exterior. Thankfully, the original hinge is still intact and works nicely, as does the original closure clip. The typical black artificial leather covering has only minor traces of handling and age. The interior of the case shows a bit more wear, particularly on the satin / rayon lining for the lid.. The cross sits on a black rayon covered insert, with an inlet for the screw back. The inside lid is marked with a faded gold LDO logo, which stands for Leistungsgemeinschaft Deutscher Ordenhersteller (Guild of German awards manufacturers).
Inside the rare case is a very nice example of a WWII Iron Cross First Class 1939, with a Magnetic core, flat design, and straight pin attachment. It is not maker marked, but that was not uncommon for these awards. Close examination may be able to determine the maker, as the major makers had their own distinctive styles.
The Iron Cross is in very good condition, with the silver retained completely, now oxidized to a lovely patina over all. The pin back is fully functional, showing just a bit of bending. The black paint on the cross is very good as well, with minimal crazing and no flaking or other major wear on the background. The paint on the central swas has worn away, as well as a bit of the paint on the date, which is common due to how raised they are compared to the background.
The basic design of the WWII crosses is a central Tatzenkreuz (cross pattée) 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 case is also in very good shape, with just a bit of fraying to the rayon top lining, which also shows some marks from contact with the cross itself. There is a bit of oxidation on the metal fittings, but they still function perfectly.
A lovely EKI set, with a rare LDO Box. We do not see these often at all!
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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