H014481 IRON CROSS 1ST CLASS, 1939. (Eisernes Kreuz I Klasse)

BACKGROUND: On March 10TH 1813, Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III established the Iron Cross as a temporary award for bestowal during times of war. Originally the Iron Cross was introduced in three grades with a Grand Cross intended for award to Senior Commanders for successfully leading troops in combat and the First and Second classes for award to all ranks for bravery or merit in action. The Iron Crosses were re-instituted by King Wilhelm I on July 19TH 1870 for award during the Franco-Prussian War and again on August 5TH 1914 by King Wilhelm II for award during WWI. On September 1ST 1939 Hitler once more re-instituted the Iron Cross series of awards in the First and Second Classes and established the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. The first class medal was for award to personnel who performed three to five acts of bravery in combat, and had already been awarded the Iron Cross 2ND class. Recipients of an Iron Cross were permitted, with the proper documentation, to privately purchase a jeweler’s copy of the award, at their own expense, if so desired. Due to the prestige of the award personnel who could afford it would opt to buy a jeweler’s copy for everyday wear with the actual award being put away for safe keeping. As of March 1941 manufacture of the Iron Crosses, as with other German awards, destined for private retail sale, was regulated by the LDO, Leistungsgemeinschaft der Deutschen Ordenshersteller, (Administration of German Medal Manufacturers). The LDO, acted as a quality control agent for awards that were intended for retail sale and manufacturers were to use an assigned LDO, "L", code on their products destined for retail sales. Awards that were to be bestowed by the government were also issued an official numerical government contract code known as a Lieferantnummer, (Contractor's Number), that was issued by the Präsidialkanzlei des Führers, (Presidential Council of the Führers), for formally approved manufacturers. The manufacturing firms that were licensed by both the Präsidialkanzlei des Führers and the LDO and would have used the same dies to stamp both the official issue and retail sales types of awards making them virtually indistinguishable from one another except for the markings. In 1941 the LDO decreed that manufacture of the Iron Cross 1ST class be standardized with the only variation allowed being the type of attachment device on the reverse. The two acceptable attachment devices were either the standard hinge, pin and catch assembly or the screw-back version.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Private purchase, die struck, three piece, iron and nickel/silver plated alloy construction Patté style cross with a single piece bronze core and a two piece alloy frame. The obverse of the award features an embossed, central, canted swastika with the re-institution date, "1939", to the bottom arm. The swastika is in nice high relief while the date is somewhat lower. The plain reverse has a central, raised, screw receiving post with internal screw threads and a raised pin to the center of the top arm to prevent the cross from rotating when worn. The cross comes complete with a silver washed, convex, 31mm diameter, circular, alloy screw-back plate with a single embossed, horizontal rib, and a threaded screw post to the reverse center. The reverse of the screw-back plate cross is well marked with the embossed manufacturer's LDO code, "L58", indicating manufacture by Rudolf Souval of Wien. Nice!

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $395.00

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