Iron Cross 1st Class with Case & Carton

Condition: Excellent

Maker: Mayer 26

SKU: C11378 Category: Tags ,


Product Description: This 1939 Iron Cross 1st Class with Case & Carton is a stunning set that would be very hard to upgrade. The cross still retains all of the original black paint on the core. The frame is gorgeous, with full original frosting, and bright, polished edges with only typical age patination. On the reverse, the wide pin is marked “26” indicating manufacture by the firm of B. H. Mayer. The hardware setup is completely original and functional, and is typical for a Mayer cross, with a barrel hinge. There is some extremely minor wear to the edges on the reverse. The cross rests in its original case, on a cream-colored, flocked insert. The case has rounded corners, and is covered with leatherette, with a silver Iron Cross motif on the lid. This is the type of Mayer case that has the rounded push button. All of the original leatherette is intact, and the push button and hinge function flawlessly. The presence of the extremely rare, original outer carton really pushes this set to the next level of desirability. The carton is a textbook original type, made of a fairly thin, off-white card stock. The front of the carton bears the title of the award as well as the wording “Nür vom Empfänger zu öffnen” (only to be opened by the recipient). The carton shows handling and storage wear, with a split along one of the folds at the bottom, but remains complete. The overall condition of this Iron Cross 1st Class with Case & Carton is a strong excellent. It could be the centerpiece of a collection of Wehrmacht combat awards.


Historical Description: There is no more iconic German military award than the Iron Cross. The long history of this order began during the Napoleonic Wars. King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia instituted the “Eisernes Kreuz” (Iron Cross) in March of 1813. The award criteria changed somewhat with time, but generally speaking, Iron Crosses could be awarded for individual acts of bravery, or for leadership achievements on the battlefield. The design was created by a Karl Friedrich Schinkel, his choice of the black cross with silver outline was derived from the heraldic emblem of the Teutonic Knights. There were a number of different type and grades of Iron Cross awards throughout its long history, but the basic details of the most widely awarded grades: The Iron Cross 1st Class and Iron Cross 2nd Class- remained the same. The first class award was a breast badge, with fittings on the reverse to allow it to be worn on the uniform. These fittings varied widely over time and from maker to maker, and could be a simple in and catch, a screw post and retaining disc, or more elaborate setups. The second class award was suspended from a ribbon, originally in the Prussian colors of black and white, later in the Reich colors of black, red and white. On the original versions of these crosses, in 1813, the front of the iron core of each grade was bare, and only the second class award had ornamentation: a crown over the initials “FW” representing the King, a sprig of oak leaves, and the date 1813. The core was redesigned in 1870, when the cross was re-instituted during the Franco-Prussian War. The reverse ornamentation on the Iron Cross 2nd Class remained the same, but the front of the core on both grades now bore another crown, a “W” representing Kaiser Wilhelm, and the date 1870. This pattern repeated again when the cross was reinstituted for WWI- everything stayed the same, only the date 1870 was replaced with 1914. The final reinstitution of the cross came in 1939. For this version, the front of the core for both grades bore a swastika and the date 1939. The oak leaves, crown and royal initials were removed from the reverse, with only the date 1813 remaining as a reminder of the legacy of this award. In WWII, hundreds of thousands of Iron Cross First Class awards were bestowed, and four and a half million Iron Cross Second Class awards. Iron Crosses were made by a large number of authorized manufacturers Some variants of these awards were mass produced in huge numbers. Others were made in very limited quantities.


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