Original German WWII Iron Cross First Class 1939 with Vertical Pinback - EKI
Original Items: Only One Available. This a very good example of a WWII Iron Cross First Class 1939, with a Magnetic core, flat design, and straight pin attachment. The pin is the early style we sometimes see, which does not have the usual contouring on the edge. It is not maker marked, but that was not uncommon for early war produced awards. Close examination may be able to determine the maker, as the major makers had their own distinctive styles.
The medal is in very good condition, and the silver plate is retained very well, with some lovely areas of tarnish and patination. The black paint on the background is retained well, with just a bit of checking and age crazing. The paint on the raised date is retained well, however the central Swas has lost some of the paint on the top.
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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