Original Imperial German WWI Prussian Iron Cross First Class 1914 with Screw Back - EKI
Original Item: Only One Available. 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. Second class crosses would have a ring at the top where a ring was attached, and had more markings on the back. The first class award, however, was meant to attach directly to the front of the uniform, and this example has a double barrel hinge, a soldered catch, and a securing 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. This example is slightly "vaulted" in design, while most examples were completely flat. There were also some that were vaulted out as much as 10mm.
This example is in good condition, with a lovely patina on the silver, which is well retained on the back as well. There is no maker mark, but this is not uncommon for Iron Cross awards. The paint on the interior shows does some wear, and there is some flaking and oxidation on the edges near the silver frame.
The back of the award has a very rare two piece "screw back" attachment, which is something that we have not seen very often at all on WWI era crosses. It definitely looks to be original, but instead of the back being one piece, it is instead made up of a circular plate with a small wingnut.
This is a fantastic chance to own a very good period example of the most iconic of all Imperial German awards, with a rare screw back attachment.
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