Original German WWII Navy Kriegsmarine Brass Core Iron Cross First Class 1939 with Pinback - EKI
Original Items: Only One Available. This an excellent example of a WWII Iron Cross First Class 1939, with a non-magnetic brass core, flat design, and straight pin attachment. It is not maker marked, which is not uncommon, as many smaller makers did not add any markings to the awards they made. The brass core examples are less often seen than the steel core, and were usually issued to members of the Kriegsmarine (Navy), as the brass alloy was much more resistance to the corrosion caused by ocean air. On the other hand, the paint did not adhere to the brass as well on the core, so these are often seen with very little paint remaining.
However, this example still has all of the black background still present, and is in very good condition overall. It only has wear on the central Swas (Swas), which is typical for all types of EK. The silver plate is retained well, though it is mostly worn off on the back. The pin back is still functional, though the retaining hook is bent a bit upwards.
The basic design of the WWII crosses is a central cross patee struck from iron or brass, 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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