Original Imperial German WWI Era Large Medal Bar with EKII, Hindenburg Cross, and Silesian Eagle - 9 Awards
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a very impressive genuine large medal bar, owned by a German soldier who fought during WWI, and also served post war under the Weimar republic. They may have also served in WWII, but there are no medals from that era. The colors on the ribbons are still quite well retained, so it was probably not displayed extensively.
The set of 9 medals offered in good condition is mounted on a metal backing board with pin and lined with pink fabric. It measures about 8 1/4 inches in length, and consists of the following medals:
- Imperial German WWI Prussian Iron Cross 1914 2nd Class Medal
- Imperial German WWI Prussian Lifesaving Medal
- German WWI Honor Cross of the World War 1914/1918 (Hindenburg Cross) Medal
- Imperial German WWI Merit Cross for War Aid 1st Class in Gold
- Pre-WWI Imperial German Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Medal aka Centenary Medal 1897
- Imperial German Prussian 12 Year Long Service Medal 2nd Class for EM/NCO
- Imperial German Prussian 9 Year Long Service Medal 3rd Class for EM/NCO
- German Post WWI Weimar Period Silesian Eagle 2nd Class with Yellow and White Ribbon
- Austro-Hungarian WWI Pro Deo et Patria Military Medal 1914 1918
Below is an explanation of each medal in detail:
German WWI Prussian Iron Cross 2nd Class with Ribbon:
Established by Frederick William in 1813 for gallantry in action, the 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 WW1 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.
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 a crowned 'W' monogram. Reverse bears an oak leaf cluster with the date of the decoration’s institution, 1813 underneath - the crowned initials of Frederick William are in the top arm above the oak leaf cluster. Suspension for second-class types is by means of a ring, and frequently this ring bears a maker's stamp.
Please examine 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 Prussian Lifesaving Medal (Rettungsmedaille am Band) was a civil decoration of the Kingdom of Prussia. Established 1 February 1833, it was awarded to individuals who had saved another person's life, at risk to their own. This medal is referred to as the Lifesaving Medal on Band to differentiate it from a previous non-portable award established in 1802. Otto von Bismarck received it for rescuing a drowning man.
Hindenburg Cross with Crossed Swords (for combat):
The Honor Cross of the World War 1914/1918 (German: Das Ehrenkreuz des Weltkriegs 1914/1918), commonly, but incorrectly, known as the Hindenburg Cross was established by Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, President of the German Republic, by an order dated 13 July 1934, to commemorate the distinguished deeds of the German people during the First World War. This was Germany's first official service medal for soldiers of Imperial Germany who had taken part in the war, and where they had since died it was also awarded to their surviving next-of-kin. Shortly after its issuance, the government of NSDAP Germany declared the award as the only official service decoration of the First World War and further forbid the continued wearing of German Free Corps awards on any military or paramilitary uniform of a state or NSDAP Party organization.
The Prussian Merit Cross for War Aid (Verdienstkreuz für Kriegshilfe) was a meritorious service decoration of Prussia. Established 27 January 1912, by Wilhelm II in his capacity as King of Prussia, it recognized general merit to Prussia. The cross could be awarded to civilians as well as members of the military. The cross was awarded in two classes a gold cross and a silver cross.
The cross was awarded as a Gold Merit Cross or Silver Merit Cross, the gold being ranked the higher of the two. For exceptional service each class could be awarded with a crown, meaning that the cross would be surmounted by a crown and the ribbon attached through it. Awards which commemorated a long period of service could be awarded with a circular shield bearing a jubilee number attached at the top of the cross, and holding the suspension ring
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Medal
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Medal also known as the Centenary Medal (German: Kaiser-Wilhelm-Erinnerungsmedaille Zentenarmedaille) was established on March 22, 1897 by Wilhelm II on the occasion of the 100th Birthday of his grandfather, Emperor Wilhelm I.
The medal was awarded by Prussia to state and university officials, as well as all military officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel, which were actively serving in army, navy and Schutztruppe. Medals were also awarded to the surviving veterans of the First Schleswig War, Second Schleswig War, Austro-Prussian War, and the Franco-Prussian War. The medal is made of bronze gunmetal from captured cannon. It is 40 mm in diameter and was suspended from a ribbon 36 mm wide.
The obverse is a right facing effigy of Wilhelm I in military uniform wearing a mantle and Pickelhaube. To the left of the effigy is the inscription WILHELM / DER / GROSSE / DEUTSCHE / KAISER (William the Great German Emperor). To the right is KOENIG / VON / PREUSSEN (King of Prussia).
The reverse depicts symbols of royal authority including the German State Crown, an orb, sword, and scepter placed upon a pillow surrounded by oak leaves, in the lower half of the medal. To the left is an upward climbing laurel branch. In the upper half is the inscription in six lines ZUM ANDENKEN AN DEN HUNDERTSTEN GEBURTSTAG DES GROSSEN KAISERS WILHELM I. 1797 22.MAERZ 1897 (IN MEMORY OF THE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY THE GREAT EMPEROR WILHELM I. 1797–MARCH 22–1897).
Imperial German Prussian 12 Year Long Service Medal:
This is an award similar to the long service medals used by NSDAP Germany, and has an identical color scheme to those medals. These were awarded for long service in the German empire, and most of the Kingdoms and City States had their own long service medals until the WWII Era. This example is the 2nd class award, given to Non-Commissioned officers and Enlisted men. The back is marked XII for the years of service, and the front reads Treue Dienste bei der Fahne (Loyal service under the Flag). The medal was established in 1913 and was discontinued in 1918, so the soldier who owned this medal bar must have been in the military for some time before the Great War.
The Silesian Eagle Medal:
Known in German as the Schlesischer Adler, this was a medal awarded for fighting the Silesian Uprisings as part of the Freikorps Oberland under the Weimar Republic. Instituted on the 19 of June 1919 by VI. Armee-Korps Generalleutnant Friedrich von Friedeburg, the Silesian Eagle was issued in two classes, 2nd class for three months of service and 1st class for 6 months of service and could be adorned with oak leaves, swords, or both. This medal was one of the few Freikorps awards that were allowed to be worn on uniforms during the Third Reich after the 1935 ban on unofficial medals. However, the swords, and oak leaves, denoting additional bravery, merit or service were banned, but despite interdictions, many veterans continued wearing them in active military service during WWII.
Austro- Hungarian WWI Pro Deo et Patria Military Medal 1914 1918
Hungary (Austro-hungarian Empire): Hungarian WW1 Commemorative Combatant's military medal "Pro Deo et Patria" (for God and Country). Award for the participation in the Great War. The medal was instituted in 1929.
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