Original Imperial German WWI Era Medal Bar with EKII, China Commemorative Coin & Wilhelm Centenary Medal
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a very nice genuine medal bar, owned by a German soldier who was in service since the turn of the century and then in WWI. They may have also served during the Weimar Period, but there are no medals from that era.
The colors on the ribbons are mostly unfaded, except for the Iron Cross ribbon, which shows deterioration in the white stripes. The metals are in good condition, with the expected patina of age.
This set of 3 medals is offered in very good condition, and is mounted on a steel backing board lined on the back with gray canvas, and has three hooks for the three medals. It has a safety pin attachment at the top of the bar, and it consists of the following medals:
- Imperial German WWI Iron Cross 1914 2nd Class Medal
- Pre-WWI China Commemorative Coin Medal 1901
- Pre-WWI Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Medal aka Centenary Medal 1897
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.
China Commemorative Coin Medal of 1901:
The China Commemorative Coin (German China-Denkmünze) is a medal of honor instituted on May 10, 1901 by Kaiser Wilhelm II on the occasion of the armed conflict in East Asia between 1900 and 1901 with the participation of the German armed forces.
The commemorative coin is made of steel or bronze and shows an eagle holding a dragon in its claws on the front, with the imperial monogram on the reverse with the imperial crown above. The Bronze medal bears the inscription DEN SIEGREICHEN STREITERN 1900 CHINA 1901 (The victorious warriors 1900 China 1901), while the Steel medal bears the inscription VERDIENST UM DIE EXPEDITION NACH CHINA (Merit for the expedition to China). It is worn on the left chest on an orange, black, white and red bordered ribbon.
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).
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