IRON CROSS – 1914 – 2nd CLASS – PRINZENGROßE.
This is a very fine 1914 Prinzengroße Iron Cross 2nd Class. The Prinzengroße Iron Cross originated more than a hundred years prior to WW I as a smaller variation of noblemen/royalty’s decorations that could be worn by their young sons. The term Prinzengroße means “prince-sized.” The youngsters wore uniforms that emulated their fathers,’ as well as headdresses and swords to accommodate their stature. By the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War, it became more of an affectation among officers who preferred the smaller Iron Crosses 1st Class and 2nd Class over full-sized examples.
By WW I’s advent, it had become even more unusual for an officer to wear the smaller-sized Iron Cross. This example definitely was privately-purchased AFTER its officer/owner was awarded the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class. He ordered it from a military effects store.
The Iron Cross measures 1.25” x 1.25.” The paint on its obverse and reverse rates at 100%. A horizontal ribbon with a vertical band is attached. The ribbon’s reverse features a safety pin in place that enabled the officer to pin it to his tunic just as he had done with his issued 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class. The latter detail leads me to believe that it was an early-war Iron Cross.
It is a splendid Iron Cross with lots of character.