Original German WWII Iron Cross First Class 1939 with Pinback by Alois Rettenmaier of Schwäbisch-Gmünd - EKI
Original Items: Only One Available. This an excellent example of a WWII Iron Cross First Class 1939, with a Magnetic core, flat design, and straight pin attachment. It is maker marked with LDO number L/59 on the back under the pin, which represents Alois Rettenmaier of Schwäbisch-Gmünd. 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 Alois Rettenmaier was partially licensed in the organization, entry number 59.
The medal is in very good condition, definitely one of the better examples we have seen. The silver plate is retained almost completely, now tarnished to a nice dark patina. The black paint on the background is retained well, but there is checking and some flaking, as expected due to the age. The painted on the raised areas is retained well.
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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