Original Imperial German WWI Cased Prussian Iron Cross 2nd Class 1914 with Ribbon - EKII
Original Item: Only One Available. Established by Prussian King Frederick William III in 1813 for gallantry in action, the Eisernes Kreuz (Iron Cross) decoration was revived several times for later conflicts. The bulk of the issues are divided into 1st and 2nd class versions, but a rare and superior 'Grand Cross' was also awarded for successful field commanders. During WWI the lower decoration was freely awarded with 5½ million second class types issued. Originally, the Iron Cross was an award of the Kingdom of Prussia, however given Prussia's pre-eminent place in the German Empire formed in 1871, it became an award for all of Germany.
This is a very good example of the Imperial German / Prussian Iron Cross second class, complete with the original black & white ribbon properly threaded through the ring. We checked the ring, and it is marked with what appears to be 3 initials, but we cannot make it out. Condition is very good, with a lovely patina on the silver portions of the award, and minimal staining of the ribbon, though there is a bit of fraying at the end.
The case is in lovely condition with a functioning hinge and hinge style lock on the front. There is minor staining to the white padding and cloth on the inside, but nothing damaging. The EK2 ribbon is inside the case on the inside of the lid, secured behind two pieces of ribbon, which is what they were intended for.
The basic design of the WW1 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 1914 under the crowned W monogram of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The reverse has the correctly crowned FW monogram for Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III, over a sprig of Oak Leaves, with 1813 at the bottom. The top of the cross has a hanger ring to attach to the ribbon. This differs from the first class award, which has an unmarked back with an attachment pin.
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 silver has a great aged patina, and the painted central has almost all of the paint on both sides, with the expected checking and crazing from age.
This is a great chance to own a very nice example of the most iconic of all Imperial German awards. Ready to display!
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