SAXE-WEIMAR – WILHELM-ERNST KRIEGSKREUZ.
The Order of Heinrich the Lion from Braunschweig and the White Falcon family from the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach are two of my favorite families of orders and decorations. In both cases, it is the superb enamel work and attention to detail that attracts me. That said, I must admit that my favorite is the White Falcon (Weißen Falken). Of course, this is my personal taste. I enjoy the enamel work on ALL Imperial German decorations, but the White Falcon really speaks to me. The White Falcon Wilhelm-Ernst Kriegskreuz with its gold, crosshatched adornment is the decoration’s centerpiece. It just glows.
Our offering today is an old friend of mine. I have had the privilege of offering ONE example of the Wilhelm-Ernst Kriegskreuz in the past. They are extremely scarce. [Only THREE-HUNDRED-SIXTY-SIX awards of this decoration were made during WW I. They were awarded by Grand Duke Wilhelm-Ernst’s decree beginning in June 1915]. The example that we offer today was awarded during 1917-1918. This award was considered an “Offizier’s Steckkruez.” It was awarded to officers and, in some cases, NCO’s of 5 Thüringischen Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 94 the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach’s single Infanterie Regiment. It was also awarded to native sons of the Grand Duchy who served in other regiments. It was mandatory that the recipient also had been awarded the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class.
The decoration essentially is a slightly oversized Maltese Cross. The cross’s arms are white enamel. The cross measures 45.0mm x 45.00mm. Its interior features a wreath of green enamel laurel leaf. A pair of crossed swords measuring 51.0mm x 1.0mm extends through the cross’s interior. The white enamel White Falcon (measuring 18.0mm x 25.0mm) is superimposed over a gold enamel center within a golden ring. A series of cross etchings that represent feathers appears on the falcon’s wings and chest.
The decoration’s reverse features a blue enamel background within a gold-toned ring. Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst’s crowned royal cypher is etched over the blue background. It boasts a coke-bottle-effect-swollen pin. The year “1915” is engraved just above the catch. All of these decorations were produced by Royal House Jeweler (Hofjuwelier) Th. Müller.
The obverse’s enamel has no faults that I can detect. The reverse’s blue enamel displays some very light chipping over the crown. In fact, the “chipping” is almost like the enamel has thinned with age. That is my observation, while you can make your own determination. I am glad that the fault is on the reverse and is partially obscured when the pin is swung down into place. When displayed with the obverse, this fault will not be apparent. Again you, as the collector, must decide the level of damage. With only 366 of these decorations awarded, they just do NOT enter the market that often. I jumped at the opportunity to acquire it!