Original German WWII Screw Back Iron Cross First Class 1939 by Alois Rettenmaier in LDO Case - EKI

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Available. This is a very rare and sought after "Screw Back" version of the 1939 Eisernes Kreuz (Iron Cross) 1st Class, in its original LDO box. No Iron Cross collection is complete without the rare LDO box. This one shows only minor wear, with a lovely black exterior. Thankfully, the original hinge is still intact and works nicely, as does the original closure clip. The typical black artificial leather covering has traces of handling and age. The interior of the case is also very nice with minor wear. The cross sits on a black rayon covered insert, with an inlet for the screw back. The inside lid is marked with a faced gold LDO logo, which stands for Leistungsgemeinschaft Deutscher Ordenhersteller (Guild of German awards manufacturers).

Inside the rare case is an excellent condition example of a WWII Iron Cross First Class 1939, with a Magnetic core, flat design, and rare screw back attachment. It is maker marked with LDO number L59 on the back under the screw back, which represents Alois Rettenmaier of Schwäbisch-Gmünd. The LDO, was a self-governing organization formed in 1941 which regulated the manufacturing of all German awards. The firm Alois Rettenmaier was a partially licensed in the organization, entry number 59.

The Iron Cross is in excellent condition, with the silver plate retained completely, now oxidized to a lovely dark patina on the front, with a bit less oxidation on the back. The the screw back is mostly bright on the side facing the case, having been protected by it. The black paint on the cross is excellent as well, with minimal crazing and no flaking or other major wear. Just a great example in the highly desirable "screw back" iron cross!

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 fantastic "screw back" EKI set, in really great shape. 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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