Product Description: The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross is one of the most iconic and most desirable pieces of all Third Reich militaria. This is an outstanding example with a ton of eye appeal. This one is an earlier cross by Steinhauer & Lück, using the earlier frame known as Type “A”. All of these early crosses struck from this die (including this example) have the necessary authenticating die flaw on the inner corner of the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock arms. While all of the early Type-A S&L Knights Crosses will have this inner corner die flaw, the later Type-A produced crosses developed an additional die flaw on the beading of the 3 o’clock arm. The 3 o’clock die flaw started subtly and grew over time. This beading flaw makes it somewhat possible to put an estimated construction time on each cross by gauging the severity of the beading flaw. The cross featured here shows no sign of this beading flaw, which places its estimated production in the earlier part of WWII.
The frame on this Knight’s Cross has a lovely deep patina that gives this cross a lot of character. The silver has darkened with age, and there is some very minor wear to the outer corners. The top rear of the frame has the smaller “800” silver content stamp version that S&L used, which is now termed by collectors as the “micro 800”. Nearly all of the original black paint on the core is still present, with only some minor wear to the corners of the swastika and the “1939” date on the obverse. The cross is complete with its original silver suspension ring, also marked “800.” This example is complete with a very nice original ribbon that has been set up to allow this cross to be worn on a uniform. This is a wartime type customization and though this cross is not attributed, it very likely was worn by a soldier to whom it had been awarded. The original issue ribbon was upgraded with the addition of neatly hand sewn gray fabric ties and a small friction buckle that would enable this to be fastened around the wearer’s neck, under his uniform collar. Overall, an extremely attractive example of a very desirable and absolutely textbook original wartime produced Knight’s Cross.
Historical Background: Instituted on September 1st, 1939, the Knight’s Cross has come to be known as one of the most recognized awards of World War Two. Awarded for acts of extreme bravery during combat, or successful leadership resulting in extraordinary success, the Knights Cross and its subsequent grades was among Germany’s highest military decorations. The Knights Cross was worn around the neck, suspended by a black, red, and white ribbon. Every member of Germany’s armed forces were eligible to be awarded the Knights Cross, provided the requirements of awarding had been met. The awarding process determining whether or not a soldier was worthy of the award began as a recommendation at the company level. This recommendation was then reviewed and either approved or denied. Upon approval it would continue up the chain of command, all the way to Adolf Hitler himself making the final judgment. The Knights Cross was awarded 7,364 times during the course of the war. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 Knights Crosses were produced between September 1939 to May 1945.
The Knight’s Cross was constructed of three separate pieces, a core and two outer frames. The core, made of iron, zinc, or brass, was placed between the two outer silver frames and delicately hand soldered together. The Cross was then suspended by a large loop through the frames top eyelet. A ribbon of black, white, and red was then threaded through the suspension loop. The production of the Knights Cross was strictly regulated. Only the companies granted approval by the government were legally allowed to produce the Knights Cross.
Steinhauer & Luck
Klein & Quenzer
Unknown “3/4 Ring”
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