N033481 MERITORIOUS ORDER OF THE GERMAN EAGLE 3RD CLASS WITH SWORDS. (Verdienstordern vom deutschen Adler, Erster Stufe mitt Schwerter)

BACKGROUND: As a result of Germany’s defeat in WWI and the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in November 1918, Germany enacted a new, liberally democratic, constitution in August 1919, (Weimar Republic, Circa 1919-1933), that official abolished the Germanic monarchy and also discontinued all awards and decorations that had been bestowed by the monarchy, although recipients of such awards and decorations were permitted to retain them. The Weimar Republic era was plagued with numerous problems that ranged from the restrictions imposed by the victorious allies in the Treaty of Versailles to mass civil unrest, as well as uncontrollable unemployment and inflation. Although the Weimar Republic era government had a diplomatic corps it did not reinstate the Imperial German awards or decorations or institute any new awards or decorations for bestowal to foreign Statesmen, diplomats and dignitaries. This lack of a visibly appreciative gesture for foreign dignitaries was a political and diplomatic embarrassment for the Germans and as a result on May 1ST 1937 Adolf Hitler instituted the series of the Meritorious Order of the German Eagle specifically for bestowal to deserving, foreign Statesmen, diplomats and dignitaries. Of Note: There were a few exceptions of bestowal of the Order of the German Eagle with the German diplomat and Foreign Affairs Minister, (1938-1945), Joachim von Ribbentrop being conferred a Special Degree of the Order of the German Eagle on February 4TH 1938 and German diplomat and Foreign Affairs Minister (1932-1938), Constantin von Neurath also being conferred a Special Degree of the Order of the German Eagle on April 29TH 1939. Originally the Order of the German Eagle was instituted in six varying grades with regulations of April 20TH 1939 establishing an additional grade, the Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle in Gold, along with permission for the addition of crossed swords for the other grades of the award when it was to be issued to personnel who had displayed distinguished military merit. Further regulation of December 27TH 1943 revised and expanded the grades of the Order of the German Eagle to a total of nine. Interestingly the designations of the 1943 versions of the awards were altered to, "Class", (Klasse), instead of previous designation of, "Degree", (Stufe). Although the basic design of the Meritorious Order of the German Eagle was retained with the 1939 and 1943 revisions and expansions there were subtle difference, primarily in the ribbon suspension loops and rings, where applicable, and the manufacturer’s markings. Of Interest: Notable recipients of one of the Meritorious Order of the German Eagle include Italy’s Duce Benito Mussolini who was conferred a unique, one of a kind, Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle with Diamonds, Spain’s Generalissimo Francisco Franco, Bulgaria’s Tsar Boris III, Hungary’s Regent Admiral Nicholas Horthy, Romania’s Marshal Ion Victor Antonescu, Finland’s President Risto Heikki Ryti and Field Marshall Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, among others. Of Note: After the revisions and expansions of the awards in 1943 this example was re-designated as a 3rd Class award.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: German Eagle Order by Godet; Third Class with swords, in silver gilt and enamels (50mm x 50mm), of very fine quality. Silver content marked "900" and maker marked "21" for Godet Berlin on the ring. All enamels intact without chipping, excellent fire gilting. Full lenght, 45mm wide neck ribbon. Nice!

GRADE ****1/2                             PRICE $2,795.00

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