Original Imperial German WWI Prussian Iron Cross 2nd Class 1914 with Ribbon & Award Document - 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 condition 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 K, which is a known maker mark that unfortunately has yet to be identified. Condition is very good, with a lovely patina on the silver portions of the award, and some oxidation and paint flaking on the central cross. The ribbon has suffered some damage, with portions missing and the rest stained, probably from the oxidation on the award.
Unlike almost all other examples of WWI awards we have, this actually came to us with the original Vorläufiges Besitzzeugnis (Provisional Certificate of Ownership)! We are unfortunately not able to accurately read the name, but we can see that they were a member of the 5. Kompagnie Infant.-Regiment Hessen=Homburg Nr. 166 (5th Company 166th (Hessen-Homburg) Infantry Regiment), and were given the award on 19. 7. 1917.. The document has all the correct stamps and signatures, and could make an excellent research project!
The basic design of the WW1 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 1914 under the crowned W monogram of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The reverse has the correct 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, complete with the original award document. Ready to research and display!
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