Original Imperial German WWI Era Medal Bar with EKII and Kingdom of Württemberg Medals - 4 Awards

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a very nice genuine medal bar, owned by a German soldier who fought during WWI, and also may have 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 quite nice, so these were definitely kept out of the sun and safe for some time. Two of the medals are specific to the Kingdom of Württemberg, so it is very likely that the soldier was from that area.

The set of 4 medals offered in good condition is mounted on a metal backing board with pin and lined in black velvet material and consists of the following medals:

- Imperial German WWI Iron Cross 1914 2nd Class Medal
- Württemberg Wilhelm II Military Merit Medal in Silver
- German WWI Honor Cross of the World War 1914/1918 (Hindenburg Cross) Medal
- Württemberg Long Service Decoration III Class - 9 Years

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.

Kingdom of Württemberg Wilhelm II Military Merit Medal in Silver
This is the standard military merit award for the Kingdom of Württemberg during the WWI era, known as the Militärverdienstmedaille in Silber. The individual German Kingdoms, Duchies, and states during WWI all had their own leaders and medals, which varied quite a bit in design. This medal features a front face with the head of King Wilhelm II of Württemberg facing right, circumscribed WILHELM II KOENIG VON WUERTTEMBERG. The rear face has a ring of laurels around the edge, with FÜR TAPFERKEIT UND TREUE (For bravery and loyalty) in the center. The medal was instituted in 1818 to be awarded for military merit. Wilhelm II became king on 6 October 1891 and the new version of the medal bearing his image was introduced on 26 June 1892. It was suppressed in 1918 when, along with all other German rulers, Wilhelm was deposed at the end of World War I

This example is in good shape, with a lot of the silvering remaining, with the usual oxidation. It is mounted on the correct Post-1914 yellow and black ribbon.

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.

This example is marked on the back with G 19, which is unfortunately an unknown maker.

Kingdom of Württemberg Long Service Decoration III Class - 9 Years
Known in German as the Dienstauszeichnung III. Klasse für 9 Dienstjahre, this is the later war version in blacked steel, for manufacturer from 1917 to 1921. The medal was instituted by King Wilhelm II on 19 July 1913 by amendment to the award in buckle form (Schnalle) created on 16 March 1874. It was intended to recognize the completion of 9 years’ exemplary service in the Württemberg army. The medal was produced in nickel silver (Neusilber) until 1917 and in blackened iron from 1917 until its suppression in 1921.

The face of the medal shows the crown of Württemberg within a circular laurel wreath; the reverse inscribed in Gothic characters Für treue Dienste bei der Fahne (For loyal service under the flag) above the Roman numeral IX (9) within a circular wreath of oak leaves. There is some wear through the blackening on the edges, but it is in good shape. attached to the correct red and blue ribbon.

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