L008379 SPANISH CROSS IN GOLD WITH SWORDS. (Spanienkreuz mit Schwertern in Gold) 

BACKGROUND: With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936 the Germans supported the Nationalist Falangist Generalissimo Francisco Franco against the communist allied Republican Loyalist party. The German support consisted of assorted field equipment and weapons, the Imker-Gruppe, (Beekeeper Group), of ground personnel which included the Drohne-Gruppe, (Drone Group), of Panzer units and a group of Luftwaffe volunteers designated as the Condor Legion. The participation in this conflict enabled the Germans to test their fledgling armed forces and by rotating personnel gave them a core of troops with actual combat experience. With the successful conclusion of the Spanish Civil War at the end of March 1939 the German contingent returned home, (May 1939), to be heralded as heroes and on April 14TH 1939 Hitler instituted the Spanish Cross series of awards to recognize the service of the German volunteers in Spain. The award was introduced in three classes, bronze, silver and gold, and a special class of gold with swords and diamonds. The bronze and silver crosses were awarded with swords for combatants and without swords for non-combatants, while the gold cross was only awarded with the swords. Criteria for award of a combatant's Spanish Cross included voluntary service in the Condor Legion, participation in specific Naval actions, and/or outstanding bravery or merit in combat. The non-combatant's crosses were awarded for three months service in a support role. Recipients of most German awards were permitted to privately purchase a replacement or copy of their awards with the proper ownership documentation. As of March 1941 the private purchase, or retail sales awards were 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 private purchase/retail sale and manufacturers were to use an assigned LDO, "L", code on their products. 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. 

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Nice quality, die struck, multi-piece, fire gilt finished, alloy construction, private purchase award. The nicely convex award is in the form of a Maltese styled cross with a separate circular centerpiece featuring an embossed canted swastika. The circular centerpiece has two fine, raised, smooth, circular border lines encompassing the swastika and the arms of the cross also feature a raised, smooth, outer edge. The base field of the centerpiece and the arms of the cross feature a finely textured background field. The sword blades and hilts emanate upwardly between the cross's arms and have a separate Luftwaffe eagle clutching swastikas affixed to each. The swords indicate the recipient served in a combatant role. The smooth plain reverse has a solid soldered hinge, a broad tapered vertical pin and a heavy soldered catch assembly all intact.  Well marked with embossed manufacturer's LDO code, "L/21", in a rectangular recess, indicating manufacture by Foerster & Barth, Pforzheim. 

GRADE ****1/4                                                         PRICE $2,669.00

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