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H025076 KNIGHT'S CROSS OF THE IRON CROSS. (Ritterkreuz des Eisernes Kreuzes)

BACKGROUND: On March 10TH 1813, Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III established the Iron Cross as a temporary gallantry 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 Cross’s were reinstituted 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 reinstituted the Iron Cross series of awards in the First, Second and Grand Cross Classes and established the new Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Hitler reserved the right to personally authorize bestowal of the Knight’s Cross and all ranks were eligible for the award. Originally the criteria for bestowal of the Knight’s Cross was outstanding personal bravery or decisive leadership in combat but this was later expanded to include personnel who had continually demonstrated exceptional acts of courage or an extremely high success rate on the battlefield. The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross was the most coveted award of the Third Reich period and those presented with it were elevated to the status of a national hero. In total it is estimated that roughly 7,360 Knight’s Crosses were awarded during WWII, a relatively small number when one considers the amount of troops fielded and the magnitude of the war. 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. Of Note: The LDO, Leistungsgemeinschaft der Deutschen Ordenshersteller, (Administration of German Medal Manufacturers), began regulating the manufacture of German awards in March 1941 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, (Contractors Number), that was issued by the Präsidialkanzlei des Führers, (Presidential Council of the Führers), for formally approved manufacturers. The manufacturing firms that were licenced 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. Regulations of November 1ST 1941 prohibited further manufacturing of the Knight’s Cross for retail sale. Of Note: On June 3RD 1940 a higher echelon of the Knight’s Cross was established with the introduction of the Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves and on July 15TH 1941 an additional two higher grades of the Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves were introduced with the establishment of the Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves and Swords and the Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Finally on December 29TH 1944 Hitler established the final grade of the Knight’s Cross with the Golden Oak-Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Also of Note: The Grand Cross of the Knight’s Cross was only awarded once to Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring and the Knight’s Cross with Golden Oak-Leaves, Swords and Diamonds was also only awarded once to Oberstleutnant Hans-Ulrich Rudel.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Nicely detailed, die struck, three piece, iron and silver construction Pattée style cross with a single piece iron core and a two piece, silver outer frame. The obverse of the award features an embossed, high relief, central, canted swastika with re-institution date, "1939", to the bottom arm. The reverse bottom arm has the original, embossed, institution date, "1813", also in nice high relief. The arms of the swastika are slightly beveled and it is embossed flush with the inner ribbed edge of the silver frame while the date numerals are slightly lower. The black, baked on, enamel finish to the magnetic center is fully retained. The integral, ribbon, retaining suspension ring is intact. Also included are the correct, vertical oval, silver, ribbon suspension ring. Comes with its original ribbon. Unmarked but an Otto Schickle produced example.

GRADE ****1/2                                                 PRICE $13,925.00

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