Der Rittmeister Militaria, LLC. Imperial German Merchandise: Documents Nr 1: Awards with Documents. Updated on 29 March 2017.  Contact us @:kgreenfield@derrittmeister.com

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Award & Document Groups

 

06-223 XWB DOCUMENT/DECORATION/PHOTOGRAPH/ARTIFACT GROUP - GENERALLEUTNANT WALTHER WILHELM von GERSDORFF. This is a consignment item. Today we are sharing a fascinating artifact group with you from Generalleutnant Walther Wilhelm von Gersdorff’s (1848-1929) estate. [The von Gersdorff family had a long history of service to Prussia and the German Empire].

 

 

Generalleutnant Walther von Gersdorff’s History

Von Gersdorff entered the Prussian Army as a cadet in 1860. He served with distinction during the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. Subsequently, he was awarded the Crown Order 4th Class with Swords. Next, he was attached to several Garde units as a leutnant during the 1870/71 Franco-Prussian War. He. This time he was awarded the 1870 Iron Cross on 19 February 1873. Following the war’s conclusion, von Gersdorff began his rise through the German Army. He was attached to several Garde units, including the 3. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß. His first regimental command came in 1895, when he became the oberst of Infanterie-Regiment Nr 52. Previously, he had been a Bataillon commander as both a major and an oberstleutnant. He was promoted to generalmajor in 1899, commanding the 16. Infanterie-Brigade. In his career’s final years, he received several other awards, and retired (in 1905) as a generalleutnant. (As was the German Army’s custom, an officer usually was advanced one rank upon his retirement for pensionary and social reasons). Von Gersdorff died in 1929.

 

Walther Wilhelm von Gersdorff’s Documents

 

The documents listed below are included in this group from Generalleutnant Walter Wilhelm von Gersdorff’s estate.

1) Promotion Patent to Premiere Lieutenant. This document was prepared at General Headquarters in Versailles (during the 1870/71 Franco-Prussian War). The document measures 8 11/16" x 9 5/8." A string binds the document. Also, a major tear measuring 6 1/4" appears along a tear across the document’s folded middle section. The document is NOT signed by König Wilhelm I (he had not yet assumed Germany’s throne), as usually was done for a hauptmann’s rank or higher.

2) The 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class Award Document. The document measures 9" x 14." (It has some minor bends at the corners, and has been folded in half, but remains in near-perfect condition). Von Gersdorff and his unit, the 3. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß, are named. The document is boldly signed in black ink by Kaiser Wilhelm I. The document is dated 19 February 1873. I cannot emphasize enough the sheer RARITY of these documents! It is an amazing part of this group.

3) Promotion Patent to Oberst and Infanterie-Regiment Nr 52's Commanding Officer. The document measures 8 7/16" x 14." The document opens to reveal information written on three of its four pages. It represents his promotion from oberstleutnant to oberst. It also confirms von Gersdorff’s first regimental command. The document has been folded in half and has sustained some damage at its bottom (a small section appears to have been torn off). This damage, however, does NOT affect any of the pertinent information, which is clearly visible. The document is completed by Kaiser Wilhelm II’s large, bold, and distinctive signature. The House of Hohenzollern’s seal has been applied above his signature. [It is a very important document in von Gersdorff’s career.

4) Kaiser Wilhelm II’s Confirmation Letter (with Envelope) to Generalmajor von Gersdorff. This is an interesting document and envelope that von Gersdorff received from Kaiser Wilhelm II. The document measures 8 3/16" x 10 ½." It has been folded into quarters so that it will fit into an envelope measuring 5 1/4" x 6." The document is quite simple and entirely handwritten. It confirms von Gersdorff’s appointment as commander of the 16. Infanterie-Brigade. The document was prepared by one of the Kaiser’s clerks, then he signed it with quite a large signature. The Infanterie-Brigade was located in Magdeburg. [An Infanterie-Brigade generally consisted of two regular regiments paired with two Landwehr (Reserve) regiments].
Its envelope is equally as interesting. It is blue. Its exterior’s writing was done by the same clerk who prepared the document for the Kaiser’s signature. It is addressed to "Generalmajor von Gersdorff" in Magdeburg. It was delivered to him by registered mail. Its flap and reverse are secured with the House of Hohenzollern’s red wax seal. The two artifacts create an amazing set.

Photographs of von Gersdorff

As a part of the group, we have two photographs to share with you. They are from two different times of von Gersdorff’s life. Each depicts him with a different medal bar size and type.

1) CdV of Walther von Gersdorff. This CdV of von Gersdorff measures 2 ½" x 4." It shows him at a Berlin photographic studio. I would guess the photo was taken between 1873 and 1883. It depicts von Gersdorff in the 3. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß’s uniform. Behind him we can see his Garde-Regiment pickelhaube. On his left breast is a five-place medal bar that includes his 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class, and his Crown Order 4th Class with Swords. His sword and portépée are at his side.

2) Cabinet Photograph of Walther von Gersdorff. A cabinet photograph is a larger example of a CdV. This one measures 4 1/4" x 6 ½," and comes from a studio in Cottbus. Here, von Gersdorff is a bit older than the CdV above. He is no longer wearing a Garde-Regiment uniform. (We can tell this from the tunic’s neck). Although I cannot see his shoulder boards, the medal bar on his left breast not only displays a significant increase in its decorations, but reveals that the 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class on the extreme left boasts the 25-Year Jubilee Oak Leaves! This dates the photograph from 1895 (at least), when von Gersdorff was an oberst AND regimental commander.

 

von Gersdorff Family Artifacts

 

 

Von Gersdorff Family Seal. This is a small seal that bears the von Gersdorff family’s Coat-of-Arms. The seal stands 2 1/4" tall. The metal device on the bottom featuring the Coat-of-Arms measures ½" x 5/8." Its handle appears to be made of ivory. As we look at the family’s Coat-of-Arms, we see it is topped by a "Freiherr’s" (Baron’s) Crown, which has seven points. [In the accompanying photographs, we have printed an example of the seal on paper. Because it is on paper, not wax, the recessed Coat-of-Arms’ details do NOT appear].

 

Generalleutnant Walther von Gersdorff’s Decorations

 

Crown Order 4th Class with Swords. He received the decoration following the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. The Prussian Crown Order decoration family was instituted by König Wilhelm I in 1861. The decoration’s obverse displays a (Hohenzollern) crown as its central theme. It is surrounded by blue enamel. Within the blue enamel is the gold enameled phrase "Gott mit Uns." (It is important to note that the blue enamel shows substantial chipping). The decoration’s reverse displays the König Wilhelm (Rex) royal cypher. The blue field displays (in gold) the decoration’s authorization date, 18 October 1861. Once again the blue enamel has suffered substantial chipping.
The balance of the decoration is gilt. A pair of gilt swords extends through its center. As the ribbon was awarded with swords, the decoration has a black and white war ribbon (from the Iron Cross), which measures 7 ½" in length.

 

1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class. This is the 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class owned by von Gersdorff. While the paint is nearly complete, some "bubbling" shows on the cross’s surface. It is very common in both 1813 and 1870 Iron Crosses due to their age. Its overall condition is quite good. A ribbon, measuring 5 ½" in length, comes with the cross.

 

This very diverse and important group from a man who participated in two of Germany’s wars (1864 & 1870), and went on to become a general officer. He was a nobleman and a member of a well-known German military family. We are very pleased to share it with you. $4,995.00  Reduced to $4,495.00!!

 

 

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21-325 XBS LUFTSCHIFFER OFFICER’S DOCUMENT AND PHOTO GROUP. This is a consignment item. If you have an interest in document groups, we have something special for you. If you have an interest in observation balloons and zeppelins, this wonderful group is VERY special for you. The number of documents it contains is absolutely staggering, and will enable you to track and research almost everything the man ever did. His name was Werner Eugen Möschke. He was born in 1881, then first entered the army at the dawn of the 20th Century. The document group indicates he saw early service in Nassau Field Artillery-Regiment Nr 27. After completing his mandatory two years of military service, Möschke began his post high school (called "gymnasium" in Germany) studies, eventually becoming a mechanical engineer. The group contains many documents from this period, including some confirming his graduation and his qualifications as an engineer.
When WW I broke out, Möschke found himself in a Luftschiffer-Bataillon as a Leutnant der Reserve. Luftschiffer-Bataillons included the observation balloons that were launched from mobile units to spy on enemy positions and call in artillery strikes, which was his assignment. Later he was transferred to the Luftschiffer-Bataillon’s zeppelin section. He finished the war as a Hauptmann der Reserve. Our document group provides definite proof that he did indeed serve with a zeppelin unit, although I am unable to determine if he was onboard as a zeppelin commander or if he was a unit commander. [Please note: in 1917, the Imperial German Army decided it was no longer interested in fielding Luftschiffer-Bataillons. So, the Army turned over all its airships and zeppelin-related equipment to the Kaiserliche Marine, including (perhaps) some transfer of personnel].
Möschke returned to his peacetime profession when WW I was over. In the 1930's, however, he returned to the army, where he eventually achieved a major’s rank. The group’s consignor has included several typed papers containing translated information concerning some of the documents, including his war service. These papers indicate that he served as a member of the executive committee for a military reporting office in Freiburg during WW II. Photos from the group show him wearing the very rare Army Commemorative Airship Badge, which further documents his involvement with zeppelins as well as an observation squadron.
We are listing some of the group’s military-related documents below. Some of them detail his various assignments during the Great War.

 

Above all, they show some of the more important and costly battles in which Möschke was involved.

 

 

1) 1907 Artillerie Officer’s Patent. The same type of patent was used whether its recipient was a Leutnant or a Generalmajor. The only real difference is that junior officer’s Patents were not signed by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Prior to WW I, the Kaiser had personally signed Patents in the rank of Hauptmann and above. Due to the Imperial German Army’s size, however, as the war progressed, he signed far fewer Patents, perhaps only for Majors and above.

 

 

 

 

 

2) Award Document for the Long-Service Award 2nd Class. Dated March 1914, it was issued through the XVIII Armeekorps.

 

 

 

3) Award Document for the Iron Cross 2nd Class. It is dated August 1917.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Award Document for the Ernst Ludwig Allgemeines Ehrenzeichen für Tapferkeit. He was awarded Hesse’s Iron Cross 2nd Class equivalent in 1915. The very ornate document bears the Grand Duke of Hesse’s signature. Möschke probably was a native son of Hesse to have received its award so much earlier than the Imperial Iron Cross 2nd Class he later was awarded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Enlisted Man/NCO’s Militärpaß and Soldbuch. This dates from his two-year mandatory service.

 

 

6) Two Kriegsranglisten. These documents were used by officers, much as an enlisted man and NCO used a Militärpaß. Each contained all of their owner’s critical information about his rank, promotions, areas of service with dates, awards, and so on. They are excellent sources for research. They indicate that he saw service in the battles of Verdun and Ypres. One of the two was updated in 1935 when he once more re-entered the army.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7) Hindenburg Cross with Swords for Combatants Award Document. The document is dated 1935.

 

 

A number of military-related documents date from 1935 forward. Following WW II, Möschke went through the de-Nazification process where he was deemed not to be a hard-core Nazi threat. He again returned to engineering, although the papers indicate he had health problems that stemmed from his many high-altitude flights. He died at the age of 73.
We have barely scratched the surface of what is contained in this fantastic document group. We have never offered anything as extensive as this group! Möschke took great pains to retain the many documents that related to his military and professional life. Stacked up, the group measures some two-to-three inches in height! Frankly, the group is mind-boggling.
You will have hours of fun pouring though all of these documents and learning more about a man who served his country through two world wars. Please be ready for the large number of photographs attached to our entry. In this case, a picture IS worth a thousand words! $2,495.00 PRICE REDUCTION!  $2,250.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-240 FELD-LUFTSCHIFFER-ABTEILUNG DOCUMENT AND DECORATION GROUP. Due to their limited numbers, we are seldom able to offer Luftschiffer-Abteilung document and decoration groups. Today, however, we have just such a collection! The Imperial German Army operated a variety of airship detachments, although its "glamour" division featured zeppelins. Early in WW I, the Army and Navy both operated zeppelin fleets. In 1917 the Army closed down its zeppelin operations and turned the balance of their equipment over to the Navy for their zeppelin raids against England. Once they had eliminated their zeppelins, the Army continued to operate observation balloons that monitored British ground units and helped with artillery spotting. [Their operations were similar to the Imperial German Air Service’s airplane observation squadrons that scouted out enemy operations and assisted with coordinating artillery strikes].
Today’s group is from one Otto Justus, a Gefreiter who served in Feld-Luftschiffer-Abteilung Nr 21, a balloon detachment. He was further assigned to Balloon Nr 61 within that Abteilung. His group contains the two documents and two decorations listed below.

 

 

 

 

1). A cased Free State of Hamburg Hanseatic Cross and its award document. The document is dated 2 July 1917, and measures 8" x 13." [It and the following document are housed in a plastic protector. HOWEVER, this document has been folded both vertically and horizontally, exhibiting some tears between various points as a result of age and handling. The document remains fully connected, and extra care should be taken if the new owner decides to remove it from the plastic holder]. A Hanseatic Cross from the Free State of Hamburg is also included. The latter was the city/state’s 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class equivalent. The cross’s obverse features red enamel arms, while its center displays Hamburg’s famed Rathaus (City Hall). [The latter is recognized around the world. It was rebuilt after WW II, following its destruction when the Allies bombed Hamburg]. A red and white 1 ¼" x 8 ¾" replacement ribbon for the decoration is included in the award’s presentation box. The presentation box itself measures ½" x 2 ½" x 4 ¾." The top flips up and is connected by the barest thread to its lower half. A piece of scotch tape secures the two halves.

 

 

2. A 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class and its award document. The award document measures 6 ¾" x 8 ¼." Again, it states that Justus served in Balloonzug Nr 61 within Feld-Luftschiffer-Abteilung Nr 21. The document bears Feld-Luftschiffer-Abteilung Nr 21's Prussian unit stamp. The document is dated 21 May 1918. In addition to Feld - Luftschiffer - Abteilung Nr 21's unit stamp, the document was signed by the Leutnant der Reserve commanding Balloonzug Nr 61. A fine 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class accompanies the document.

 

 

 

 

 

It all makes a fine presentation, whether you are interested in matching documents and decorations, or have an interest in airship collectibles. $550.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-236 AWARD DOCUMENT AND 1914 IRON CROSS 1st CLASS IDENTIFIED TO ULANEN-REGIMENT Nr 10'S BAERECKE. This is an award document and 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class for a man attached to Ulanen-Regiment Nr 10.  The award was to a Rittmeister Baerecke of that regiment. The document is dated 18 April 1916. The document was issued by the VIII. Armee's Oberkommando.  A rubber stamp for that unit appears in the lower left corner.  In the lower right corner, we see that it was signed by an VIII. Armee Staff Adjutant/Oberleutnant.
The 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class that accompanies the document is of the “issued” variety. It is flat.  It sports the “KO” on the reverse, hallmarked under the catch.  The Iron Cross’s condition is quite pleasing, overall. $550.00

 

 

 

 

 

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06-228 POST WW I IRON CROSS 1st CLASS DOCUMENT AND DECORATION. This is an interesting post-WW I Iron Cross 1st Class and award document. As was the case after the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815 and the Franco-Prussian War ceased in 1871, WW I’s Iron Crosses often took several years to be distributed to their worthy recipients. This is one of the latest awards of the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class that I have ever encountered. The Besiß-Zeugnis (document), which measures 8 ½” x 6 ½,” was issued in 1924, some six years after WW I’s end. The document is signed by a General der Infanterie. It bears Gruppenkommando 2's unit stamp. Gruppenkommando 2 was based at Cassel. Along with the Besiß-Zeugnis is a 1914 Iron Cross without a hallmark that shows signs of wear. $525.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-241 AWARD DOCUMENT AND DECORATION - 1914 IRON CROSS 2nd CLASS - GERMAN NAVAL SEAMAN. German naval operations were based in two areas of Germany: the North Sea’s Wilhelmshaven and the Baltic Sea’s Kiel. [During WW I Kaiser Wilhelm II’s brother, Prinz Heinrich of Prussia, was a Großadmiral (the only Großadmiral to have tactical command at the front) based at Kiel. He was responsible for operations in the Baltic against the Russians. Kiel was always a secondary front, since Wilhelmshaven hosted Germany’s biggest, newest, and best ships as they faced the English fleet. This was particularly true in 1916 when the two fleets clashed at the Battle of Jutland (Skagerrak)].
Our offering today is a fine 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class and its urkunde (award document) for a man whose last name was Parschau. The first thing that appears on the document’s "award line" is the abbreviated word "Kan." (I am speculating here) which could be for Kanonier. It is followed by "Griffen," which could be his first name. His last name definitely is "Parschau." The document measures 6 ¼" x 8 ¼." It was prepared at Kiel on 24 March 1920. [I have seen 1914 Iron Crosses 2nd Class that were awarded as late as 1923 and 1924. This also occurred with 1st Class Iron Crosses, although less frequently. Obviously, it sometimes took time to sift through all the necessary reports and requests in order to issue the award]. The unit stamp in the lower left corner reads "Preussisches Marine Kommando Kiel." The document features two punched holes on its left side, which allowed the document to be filed away in a folder.
This pair makes a fascinating mini group.
$250.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-173 IRON CROWN ORDER 3rd CLASS WITH SWORDS - ORIGINAL AWARD DOCUMENT - AUSTRIA. This is an Order of the Iron Crown 3rd Class with Swords along with its original award document, from Austria. The award document is quite large and ornate. It measures 12 3/4" x 7 1/4." The document’s format is quite similar to Prussian documents in many ways. At the top, the document begins," Seine Majestät Der Kaiser von Oesterreich König von Bohmen u.s.w. und Apostolische König von Ungaren." The document follows that the awardee is a Dr. Artur Trotter, who serves in the Army Reserves. The award is dated 7 February 1916 with notice made in Vienna on 26 February by the Chief or the Ordens section. This official’s signature is at the bottom. In the left lower cover of the document is a huge embossed seal of the Kaiser’s House, complete with the double-headed Austrian Eagle. This document is in PERFECT condition for being ninety years old. It has never even been folded. It has been cared for beautifully all of these years. This is the identical theme used on the Iron Eagle itself.  As for the Iron Eagle, it is in wonderful condition. The decoration’s obverse is in sparkling condition, with all of the enamel in first-rate condition. The same goes for the reverse. The decoration’s blue and yellow ribbon is in the Austrian tri-fold style. The gilt crossed swords are attached to the ribbon. They make a very fine pair. $1,995.00

 

 

 

 

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06-187 1870 MILITARY SERVICE CROSS 2nd CLASS AND URKUNDE - MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN. This is a simply marvelous group which consists of the 1870 Military Service Cross 2nd Class and its Urkunde (award document) from the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71, Friedrich Franz II (1823-1883) ruled the duchy. He sat on the throne from 1842 to 1883. Mecklenburg-Schwerin had long been Prussia’s ally. It fought with Prussia during the 1864 Danish-Prussian War and the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. The document and decoration were awarded to a young officer by the name of Wilhelm Meyer. Meyer served in Hannoversches Pionier Bataillon Nr 10. The regiment was raised in 1804. It was garrisoned in Minden and assigned to the X. ArmeeKorps. The Bataillon was a former Hanoverian unit. It fought proudly in the Peninsular Campaign and at Waterloo with the Duke of Wellington. Its men carried the bandeaux for those campaigns on their pickelhauben. Meyer went on to become a Generalleutnant in the Prussian Army. He was assigned to the General Staff for matters relating to Pionier-Bataillons. The document is quite ornate and measures 12 1/4" x 7 1/2." It is dated 31 December 1872 and signed by Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The embossed seal of the Duchy appears on the document. The decoration is the same size as an 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class. It is gilt-toned. A short length of original ribbon, measuring 4 1/2" x 1 1/2," is present. The silk ribbon is light blue, yellow, and red. The Military Service Cross 2nd Class was awarded in far fewer numbers than the 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class. This is a fine presentation to a future German Army general. In the coming weeks, we will be offering a fine assortment of Meyer’s documents from throughout his military career. $1,495.00

 

 

 

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06-221 DOCUMENT & DECORATION - 1914 MILITARY SERVICE CROSS 2nd CLASS - MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN. This is a fine group that consists of the 1914 Military Service Cross 2nd Class and the award document (urkunde) for that decoration. The decoration has a fine gilt finish and an original ribbon that accompanies it. Also included is the original award document, which measures 12" x 8." The document was awarded to a Leutnant der Reserve Gustav Kluggenburg. Kluggenburg was attached to the 3. Maschinengewehr of Leib Grenadier-Regiment König Friedrich Wilhelm III (1. Brandenburgisches Nr 8. The document was prepared and issued 21 November 1917. It has Mecklenburg-Schwerin’s Coat-of-Arms and a reproduction signature of Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV. It makes a fine presentation. $250.00
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-231 GENERALMAJOR’S WAR SERVICE CROSS 2nd CLASS DECORATION AND AWARD DOCUMENT - LIPPE-DETMOLD. This is an amazing set containing a generalmajor’s Lippe-Detmold War Service Cross 2nd Class and its award document. Lippe-Detmold was a very small principality that only fielded one single Infanterie Bataillon. The War Service Cross 2nd Class was a pinback award that was issued during the 1914 through 1918 time period. The decoration is gold-toned, and measures 1 3/4 x 1 3/4." The decoration is of the highest quality. Its detail and condition is extraordinary. It actually was awarded from 17 January 1915 until 4 February 1921. The award document is included with the decoration. It displays a photograph of Fürst Leopold IV of Lippe-Detmold on the left. The document was issued on 17 October 1917 to a Generalmajor von Blauel. It appears that the general was attached to the VII. Armeekorps. $695.00

 

 

 

 

 

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06-238 AWARD DOCUMENT AND 1914 IRON CROSS 2nd CLASS FROM FUßARTILLERIE-BATAILLON Nr 32. This is a 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class along with the actual award document. The document was for an enlisted man named Schmidt.  He served in Fußartillerie-Bataillon Nr 32. [Fußartillerie was a later development than Feld-ArtillerieFuß (foot)-Artillerie did not come into play until the mid 19th Century.  Fewer units of this type of Artillerie existed than did Feld (field)].  The document measures 8 1/4" x 6 1/2"  The award is dated 17 April 1917.  The date is noted in two different places. It has the unit official rubber stamp in the lower left corner and the Bataillon commander's signature in the lower right. The document has been folded into quarters but reveals no tears.
The 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class comes on a short length of original ribbon. The condition of the cross itself is excellent, with the paint rating right at 100%. 
It is a fine award document and Iron Cross. $195.00

 

 

 

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06-172 RED EAGLE ORDER 4th CLASS AND AWARD DOCUMENTS - PRUSSIA. This is a very fine example of the Order of the Red Eagle 4th Class and its award document (Urkunde) from Prussia. The Red Eagle Order is a complete family of decorations, containing breast stars, neck orders, and ribboned medals. Our example includes an ornate document dated 22 August 1907 and made out to a Carl Friedrich Rohte. It is signed by the Ordens Kanzler. This is a civil, and not a military, award. Three additional documents relating to the decoration’s award and other decorations that he received are included, such as the transmittal letters, etc. The decoration itself comes on a very short ribbon. The decoration’s only  flaw is a chip to its hand-painted center. $695.00
 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-202 AWARD DOCUMENT & DECORATION - MILITARY SERVICE CROSS 3rd CLASS - CROWN AND SWORDS BAVARIA. This is a mini group consisting of the Military Service Cross 3rd Class with Crown and Swords (Militär-Verdienstkreuz 3. Klasse mit der Krone und mit Schwerten) from the Kingdom of Bavaria. The decoration was first authorized in 1866 during König (Mad) Ludwig II’s reign, when Bavaria fought on Austria’s (losing) side with her other allies (Saxony, Württemberg, Hannover, and Braunschweig) in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. The decoration was awarded in three levels (1st through 3rd Classes). It was similar to the Iron Cross awards’ family, except it was awarded during peacetime as well as wartime. The cross was awarded by itself during peacetime. During wartime, it was awarded with swords. A higher level of the award featured a large crown. It is the latter we are offering today. The decoration, swords, and oversized crown are all bronze-toned and in very fine condition. A blue, white, and black ribbon is attached. The document accompanies it is very high-quality. It represents an early-war example, and measures 13" x 8 1/4." The King of Bavaria is mentioned at the top. The award was issued to a Max Kuhnigk, and is dated 23 December 1914. The document is countersigned by the Ordens-Großkanzler. Both document and decoration are in very fine condition. $425.00

 

 

 

 

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06-234 MILITARY MERIT CROSS 3rd CLASS WITH SWORDS DECORATION AND AWARD DOCUMENT - BAVARIA.  This is a Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with Swords award document (urkunde) and decoration.  The Military Merit Cross was established in 1866 during (“Mad”) König Ludwig II’s (1845-1886) reign.  Bavaria had aligned herself with Austria, Saxony, Württemberg, and Hannover.  The sharp, brief war lasted seven weeks in which Austria and her allies were soundly defeated.  During the conflict, Ludwig II authorized two completely different decoration lines for Bavaria’s soldiers.  The first line was the Military Merit Order (MMO), which was limited to officers. The second line was the Military Merit Cross (MMC), intended for enlisted men and NCO’s.  Both were introduced during the conflict. The MMC came to be Bavaria’s enlisted men and NCO’s Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class equivalents.  In wartime it could be awarded with Swords and/or a Crown. The Crown signified a higher or second award within the three classes in which the decoration was awarded.
Our Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with Swords (Militär-Verdienstkreuz 3. Klasse mit Schwerten), with its urkunde, was awarded on 15 March 1915 to an “L. Wiedemann” from Bavaria’s Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr 3.  While the award’s date was 15 March, the Ordenskanzler’s Office did not sign off on it until 24 March.  WW I was only about 19-months-old, so it was a relatively early award.  The document measures 8” x 12” and has been folded into quarters.  The decoration is in excellent condition. The pair will make an appealing display. $250.00

 

 

 

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06-220 1914 IRON CROSSES 1st AND 2nd CLASS - DOCUMENTS & DECORATIONS. This is a most interesting mini group that consists of three backdated documents for the 1914 Iron Cross. The man involved was named Julius Lelonge. He served in Jäger-Bataillon Nr 10 during WW I. He originally was awarded the EK 1 on 30 June 1918. The three documents are all dated April or May 1937. They either are backdated, or served as replacements for his original citation. Lelonge was born in 1898, and was serving with Reserve-Jäger-Bataillon Nr 10 in 1937. Two of the documents are signed by his Bataillon Commander and bear the unit’s stamp. The third document comes from Berlin. Also, another document, dated 6 June 1916, awards Lelonge the Iron Cross 2nd Class. It sports the Armee-Korps to which Lelonge’s Bataillon was attached commanding general’s typewritten name. The general’s name was Kosch. Included are the actual Iron Crosses. The 1st Class is a true issued cross as it is hallmarked "KO" on the reverse. The 2nd Class has a correct period ribbon that shows great age. It is a wonderful group. $550.00

 

 

 

 

 

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06-203 1914 IRON CROSS 2nd CLASS DOCUMENT & DECORATION. This is a mini group that consists of a 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class and its award document. The Iron Cross is in very good condition. It comes on a piece of ribbon that is about 2 1/4" in length. The ribbon is very fragile and is hanging on by a thread. The document, which measures 6 1/2" x 8 1/4," is for the award of the Iron Cross 2nd Class on 27 September 1914. It is for an Unteroffizier Pöhler, who was attached to Infanterie-Regiment Nr 175. The award is for action at the Battle of Tannenberg. It has been signed by a general whose name I cannot distinguish. $195.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-210 NCO’S DOCUMENTS - DECORATIONS - PHOTOGRAPHS - INFANTERIE-REGIMENT Nr 68 - PRUSSIA. This is an interesting group of decorations, documents and photographs. The man to whom it belonged was Vizefeldwebel Heinrich Taenzer. Vizefeldwebel Taenzer served in Prussian Infanterie-Regiment Nr 68. The group includes the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

*1914 Iron Cross 1st Class and Award Document. The document was issued in Hannover on 17 March 1922. It measures 6 1/4" x 8." It boasts a generalleutnant’s auto-pen signature. He was the commander of the 6. Division. It also bears the division’s unit stamp. [I am not sure if its date almost 3 ½ years after the war’s end indicates a "catching-up" on the award document’s issuance, or it was a replacement. I would bet on the first option]. The Iron Cross is an issued, "KO" hallmarked example. Most of the black paint has been worn off on its obverse.

*Two photographs of Infanterie-Regiment Nr 68 members from before or early during WW I. The men wear prewar blue uniforms. On the other hand, the men wearing pickelhauben are wearing canvas covers on them sporting the number "68." No indication is given which of the 30+ men might be Taenzer. The second photograph shows a number of NCO’s sitting around a table. Again, no indication is given which man could be Taenzer.

*Taenzer’s Reise=Pass (Travel Pass), dated 1922. His photograph appears in the passbook.

*Taenzer’s Ausweis (identification book), dated 1934. Again, Taenzer’s photograph appears in the booklet. It also contains personal information, such as his birth date, city of residence, etc.

*Hindenburg Cross for Combatants and the Award Document. The decoration is in very fine condition and has an original ribbon attached. The document, which measures 5 3/4" x 8 1/4," was issued on 22 January 1935 in his native city of Minden.

*Versicherungskarte (Insurance Card). This is Taenzer’s insurance card for the years 1920, 1921 and 1922, showing payments made by his employers, Westfäl. Evgl. Blödenanstalt. Wittekindshof b. Bad Oeynhausen. Roughly translated, it was the Westphalian Evangelical Organization for the Mentally Disabled, part of the Lutheran charitable organization named Wittekindshof, located in Bad Oeynhausen. [The Wittekindshof today provides vocational training and opportunities for social workers].

*An Ausmusterungsschein (Withdrawal slip), dated 1944, which shows Taenzer at the age of 55. The document excuses him from service in the Wehrmacht. It states "Ist völlig untauglich zum Dienst in der Wehrmacht. Er scheidet aus dem Wehrpflichtverhältniz aus."(Is totally unfit to serve in the armed forces. He is separated from compulsory military service). It includes several official stamps for Minden, his native city.

This is a fine group for a young man who served his country during WW I. Two award documents and the corresponding decorations are included. The photographs and post WW I documents help flesh out the group. $495.00

 

 

 

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06-201 AWARD DOCUMENT - DECORATION - 1914 IRON CROSS 1st CLASS. This is a marvelous mini group that consists of the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class and its award document. Such a fine pair has a to recommend it. First, it was awarded to an officer, Leutnant der Reserve Coesfeld. Second, he was assigned to Reserve Jäger Bataillon Nr 21. The document was signed personally by the Deutschen-Jäger-Division’s commander, a generalmajor. The document was signed on 14 June 1918. It measures 6 1/2" x 8 1/4,"and sports the Deutschen-Jäger-Division’s unit stamp. The commanding general’s signature is rendered in the typical purple grease pencil so often used in the field instead of black ink. The 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class is vaulted. It has very fine paint on the obverse that rates at nearly 98%. The frame displays a pleasing patina. The reverse features a flat pin, with no evidence of silver or manufacturer’s hallmarks. It is a very handsome group from a unit and division that is rarely represented. $595.00

 

 

 

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06-206 MILITARY SERVICE CROSS 2nd CLASS DOCUMENT AND DECORATION - MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN. This is a fine example of both the award document and the actual Military Service Cross 2nd Class from the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The large-format document measures 13" x 8 1/8." The document was issued to a man who served in Reserve Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 36. The regiment was created in 1890 and garrisoned at Danzig, which was close to Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The document is dated 18 August 1917. It bears Friedrich Franz IV’s reproduction signature. The decoration looks similar to the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class, which was its equivalent. It has a gilt finish and is actually set up as a one-place medal bar. The blue, yellow, and red ribbon shows wear. $225.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-215 MILITARY SERVICE CROSS 2nd CLASS DOCUMENT AND DECORATION - MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN. This is the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin’s Military Service Cross 2nd Class, with its award document (urkunde). The document measures 8" x 12." The award was made to a man named Kruse. He was a member of the XXVI. Armeekorps. The award date was 28 April 1916. At the document’s bottom is the Grand Duchy’s Coat-of-Arms, as well as a reproduction of Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV’s signature. The decoration is in very fine condition with a short length of original ribbon. $225.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-207 DOCUMENT AND DECORATION - WAR SERVICE CROSS 2nd CLASS - BRAUNSCHWEIG. This is the document and decoration for the War Service Cross 2nd Class from the Duchy of Braunschweig. The decoration was its equivalent of the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class. The Duchy had only one Infanterie Regiment, one Kavallerie Regiment, and one Artillerie Battery. The decoration was awarded to both the native sons of Braunschweig and other German allies. The document was issued to an Unteroffizier Furrmann. He served in Reserve-Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 19. The document was issued on 27 June 1918. The decoration is mounted on a blue and yellow, court-wrapped ribbon. It measures 13" x 8 1/4." This makes for a very pleasing group. $225.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-195 OFFICER’S DOCUMENT - DECORATION - PHOTOGRAPH - 1914 IRON CROSS 1st CLASS. This is a mini group to an officer who received the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class. His name was Hauptmann d. L. II Karl Pletscher. As indicated on the document, Pletscher was a member of Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr 30. At the time of the award he was forty-four years-old and hardly a youngster. The award document measures 6 1/4" x 8." It features the award date (1. April 1918) and the regimental commander’s signature (he was a major). [This illustrates the officers’ attrition rate by the late war, having a major command a regiment instead of an oberst]. A privately-purchased EK 1 accompanies the document. The Iron Cross is a "KO-manufactured," flat (non vaulted) model, which was the primary, issued 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class. We can see the KO hallmark under the reverse’s catch. A large-format photograph depicts Pletscher when he was a younger officer, probably as a leutnant around the turn of the 20th Century. A 10 September 1918 clipping from Berlin’s Allgemeiner Anzeiger zum Militär Wochenblatt (General Gazette Weekly Newspaper for the Military) accompanies the mini group. It features several soldiers’ obituaries, including Pletscher’s. His mentions that he died on the battlefield on 10 August 1918, exactly a month before the obituary notice. This is an interesting, and ultimately, touching, group of items. $650.00

 

 

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06-200 ALLGEMEINES EHRENZEICHEN 2nd CLASS AND AWARD DOCUMENT IN THE ORIGINAL PRESENTATION CASE. This is a mini group of the Allgemeines Ehrenzeichen 2nd Class in silver. The civil decoration was first awarded in two classes during the 1810 Napoleonic War, while König Friedrich Wilhelm III ruled Prussia. Our offering today is the final version, which was awarded from 1895 through 1917. The decoration is in nearly-mint condition. It measures 1 1/2" in diameter. The 2nd Class was only awarded in silver. The obverse displays König Friedrich Wilhelm III’s royal cypher. The reverse states "Verdienst Um Den Staat" (Service for the State). The decoration is housed in a black leatherette case that measures 2" x 2 3/4" x 3/4." Inside the case gold trim runs around the frame’s edges. The case opens from the side rather than from the bottom. The silk liner on the left is black, while the case’s fitted bottom is lined in black velvet. An 13" length of original red and white ribbon is laid over the decoration’s top. The original urkunde (award document), measuring 13" x 8," is included. The document is in the same format used by virtually all Prussian decorations, including the Red Eagle Orders, Crown Orders, Hohenzollern House Orders, and even the Orden Pour le Mérite. The man receiving the award was named Wilhelm Geuting. The award was made in September 1902! Below the basic information, the document is signed by Kaiser Wilhelm II’s Ordens Kanzler. It is a beautiful set, in superb condition. $350.00

 

 

 

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06-193 DOCUMENT AND DECORATION - 1914 IRON CROSS 1st CLASS. This is an award document and actual decoration for the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class. The document is to Leutnant der Reserve Schmidt. The document, which measures 6 1/2" x 8 1/4," is a late-war example. In fact, it was awarded in October 1918. Schmidt served in Fußartillerie-Regiment Nr 50. The document has been signed by an oberstleutnant and regiment commander. The 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class is a "KO" issued example, with normal wear. It is one of the latest Iron Cross documents I have seen that was still issued during WW I. $450.00

 

 

 

 

 

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06-190 BLACK ARMY WOUND BADGE - AWARD DOCUMENT. This is a mini group of the award document and decoration for the Black Army Wound Badge. The document measures 5 3/4" x 8 1/4." The document has been folded into quarters. As the Wound Badge was not authorized until March 1918, many men earned the badge, but did not receive it prior to the war’s end in November 1918. This document is either a replacement document or an award that had not been made previously. It is dated December 1936. It was issued to a Josef Kaufmann. It bears a Third Reich rubber stamp in the lower left corner. I find it interesting that probably a lot of these documents were prepared and issued, as it has a place to note what class (color) the award was for, AND it differentiates between an Army badge and a Navy badge. The accompanying wound badge is in good condition. $95.00

 

 

 

 

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06-188 1914 IRON CROSS 2nd CLASS AND AWARD DOCUMENT. This is a mini group of a 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class and an award document. The man who received the award was a member of Infanterie-Regiment Nr 7 from Bavaria. The award was made in 1920, after WW I ended. The document has been laminated in plastic (not by me). One can see the stains and age on its reverse. One can also tell the document has been folded. The Iron Cross is on an original ribbon that measures 3." $150.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-184 AWARD DOCUMENT - 1914 IRON CROSS 1st CLASS - FELDWEBEL LEUTNANT - RESERVE-INFANTERIE-REGIMENT NR 212. This is a combination of an award document for a 1914 Iron Cross and the actual medal. The document measures 4" X 6 1/2 ". It is typed on onionskin. The document’s condition is not the greatest. It has some tears. It is complete, however. The award was made to Feldwebel Leutnant Gebhard, who served in Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr 212. It appears he was in a military hospital near Hamburg recovering from wounds he suffered at the Front. The date is 28 December 1915. It is signed at the bottom in purple grease pencil. [I cannot read the accompanying comment, or the writer’s name]. The Iron Cross that goes with it is a very salty, well-used example. It is very slightly vaulted. The paint’s condition is poor. The pair has a lot of character. $395.00 

 

 

 

 

 

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