Product Description: This is a very nice example of the Mine Rescue Medal. It’s an uncommon award to find, having been only issued in very limited numbers. The official German designation for this award was “Grubenwehr-Ehrenzeichen,” sometimes translated as Mine Rescue Service Decoration. This medal was originally instituted in 1936. It was awarded to members of the Mine Rescue Service who performed outstanding rescue work, individuals who risked their lives to save others in the case of a mine disaster, and those with long service in the Mine Rescue Service. This example retains great original finish, with attractive blue toning to the original heavy silvering. It’s made of a brass alloy (Tombak), and there is some slight wear to high pints and to the edge, that reveal some golden tones of the base metal. The crossed mallets and eagle and swastika emblem are crisply struck, with lots of detail. The reverse of this Mine Rescue Medal is extremely clean, with frosted decoration contrasting against a smooth field giving it a “proof” look. The inscription reads “Für Verdienste im Grubenwehrwesen” (For Services in Mine Rescue). This medal is complete with its correct original ribbon. The ribbon is clean, with only slight age toning, as well as a small area with some adhesive and paper residue on the reverse. This scarce award remains in a strong excellent condition. It’s a great example.
Historical Description: During the Third Reich, the various German trade unions were nationalized and consolidated. One of the trade associations that was not wholly incorporated into a larger organization was the German Miners Association (Bergbau). The National Bureau of Mines was created in 1936 to oversee the German mines tasked with extracting and distributing various raw materials. This National Bureau of Mines was the successor to many state and individual miners’ associations. The German miners service was steeped in tradition, with miners having their own formal regalia long before WWII. This tradition continued in the Third Reich, with the various Bergbau formal uniform items being among the most elaborate of all German uniforms from that time. In addition to these ceremonial uniforms and headgear, Bergbau personnel had specific belt buckles and various edged weapons bearing the crossed sword and mallet organizational Bergbau emblem. Bergbau items were manufactured in smaller quantities than items made for other, larger organizations, and are often difficult to find today.
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