Product Description: The Knight’s Cross Oakleaves is an award that is missing from most even very advanced collections. This is a beautiful example that is absolutely loaded with eye appeal. The patina on this is spectacular, front and back. It bears the textbook markings for the second type Oakleaves manufactured by Godet, one of the premiere awards manufacturers of the Third Reich. It is stamped “900” for the silver content and “21” for Godet. The first pattern Godet die was usually used on the “L/50” marked types, while this “21” stamping is typical for this second pattern die. All of the Oak Leaves struck from this die have distinct die flaws on the vein of the right leaf, this one is no exception. The condition is wonderful, I couldn’t discern any issues or anything that detracts from this piece in any way at all. It shows only extremely slight traces of handling and does not appear ever to have been actually worn. The overall look and especially the patina of this piece are typical of those originating from the Schloss Klessheim hoard that was discovered by American soldiers at the end of the war. If you are looking for an absolutely textbook and near perfect example of one of the most prestigious awards earned by German soldiers in WWII, this is it.
Historical Description: The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross was instituted on September 1, 1939, and was awarded for skilled leadership, distinguished conduct, or individual acts of bravery in combat. At that time, it was the highest award for bravery that a German soldier could earn. On June 3, 1940, the Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross were introduced as a way to further recognize extremely distinguished achievements by soldiers who had already been awarded the Knight’s Cross. The Knight’s Cross Oakleaves award was in the form of a finely struck cluster of oak leaves, made of silver, and affixed to a suspension loop from which the Knight’s Cross would be suspended when worn. On September 28, 1941, two further grades of the Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross were introduced. The Knight’s Cross Oakleaves and Swords was nearly identical to the Oakleaves, but featured two crossed swords beneath the leaf cluster. The new highest grade, the Oakleaves with Swords and Diamonds, was intricately made, and recipients were given one set with rhinestones and a second set with real diamonds. On December 29, 1944, with the war coming to an end, a highest and final grade was introduced, the Knight’s Cross with Golden Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds. Originally intended for the 12 most distinguished service members in the German military, made of real gold and diamonds, only one set was awarded before the end of the war.
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