Product Description: The 40 Year Heer Long Service Award was the highest grade of long service medal issued by the German Army. Far, far fewer of these were awarded, than the lesser grades. It is an extremely rare award to find in untouched condition. This one is spectacular and very nearly perfect. The medal and oak leaves both have been die struck. This process results in distinctive shear marks, which are visible in the photos of the oak leaves. All of the metal components here retain all of the original, gorgeous fire gilt finish, with highly polished burnishing to the high points. The medal, oak leaves and Heer eagle are highly detailed and of the highest quality. The original cornflower blue ribbon is pristine. There are a couple of old zinc staples at the top of the ribbon, holding the ends together. This 40 Year Heer Long Service Award is textbook in every sense, and very likely impossible to upgrade.
Historical Description: Prior to WWII, the German military and civil authorities instituted a wide range of Long Service Awards to reward personnel for years of service. These awards were used by all branches of the German military, as well as civil and political organizations such as the police, the customs service, and the National Labor Service (RAD). There was also a general Long Service Award for civil service. Each of these awards was issued in the form of a medal that was suspended from a cornflower blue ribbon. Many of these were made in different grades denoting a specific number of years of service. They were worn on the uniform in the form of ribbon or medal bars, and up to two long service awards could be worn at the same time. In most cases, a device affixed to the ribbon bar would denote for which service the award had been issued; sometimes the medals themselves had devices on the ribbons, either in the form of pinned-on metal emblems, or else hand or machine embroidery applied drectly to the ribbon. Some German Long Service Awards were very widely awarded, others were made and issued only in small numbers.
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