THE GERMAN CROSS OF HONOUR
OF WORLD WAR ONE
The Cross of Honour is not the most exciting looking awards, but is probably one of the most historical items issued, of all German Third Reich awards.
The cross is unusual in that it is devoid of both a swastika and eagle. emblem either.
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A CROSS OF HONOUR COURT MOUNTED
Instituted just after Hitler came to power in 1934 , the cross is called by some, The Hindenburg Cross, after the German Head of State (Reich President Generalfeldmarschall Von Hindenburg) who, along with Adolf Hitler, instituted the award.
Hitler & Hindenburg
The Cross comes in three grades or class, and the design of the cross for all three grades is the same.
A Page from a German Medal Catalogue show the types of Crosses Of Honours You could have besought
It is only the colour of the cross and ribbon that differs. The first cross is for combatants and this is with swords. The next class is for non combatants and this comes without swords. The last class is a cross that is similar to non combatants but is black instead of bronze. This was given to widows and parents for the German's soldiers killed in enemy action or a death resulting from enemy action or in the cause of Germany's defense. The award was also eligible for civilians who gave their life in futherance of the German war effort. One private example of the Cross Of Honour for the war relatives has been seen that appears to be smaller and with a brooch pin fitting to the reverse with no loop for any ribbon.. I feel that this is just a privately purchased item and not an official award but worth a mention.
All the grades of the Cross of Honour
As stated earlier, the cross comes with two forms of ribbon, the type that was worn on the combatant and non combatant ribbon which is black, white, black, red, black, white, black. The colour for the Cross of Honour for relatives was the reverse, ie White,Black white red white, Black and white.
Due to the large amount of crosses issued, the award is quite common for collectors and was in fact issued in its millions for the combatant (With swords) class, with estimates ranging up to 9 ½ million. The non combatant class appears to have been issued to around 1 ½ million and the War relatives cross to around ½ million, making it a relatively scarce award in comparison.
The cross has comes with a multitude of of maker's marks, making it more interesting to collect, with many well known firms participatiing ina manufacture of the cross, premier makers such as C E Juncker, Assmann, and Steinhauer and Luck to name but a few.
Makers Marks on the Cross of Honour
Occasionally the cross is found in a presentation box or case. This is usually a high quality affair, with either red leatherette or black leatherette covering the case, usually with a cut out for the cross to the base which normally lifts out of the case. To the underside of the case, it is usually lined with white silk, with the wording "True and True" in German and the signature of Von Hindenburg. So far, I have found, in the cases, the following types of cross, combatant ones usually appear in black cases and non combatants and ones for relatives in the red cases. Whether there is any significance is not known by me.
Each award was issued by the local town mayor of chief of police and these crosses replaced several of the German State war medals for World War one. The citations themselves give the designation of front fighter, supporter or relative and widow. Some of the more rare citations are the full colour large size types which appear to have been given to special or persons with a prominant standing within the Third Reich.
RARE AWARD DOCUMENT
When not worn on the service tunic, provision was made for the award to be worn in miniature through the buttonhole or on a stick pin with a small facsimile of the award corresponding to it's grade.
Cross of Honour Miniatures and award ribbons
Variations can be found within these ribbon bars and bows etc. A collection of different manufacturer's and variations can be compiled quite cheaply with the examples ranging from about £10.00 to £20.00 for the cross of honour with swords, up to £30 for the cross of honour to the war relatives.
The values for citations seem to range between £10 - £50 and most collectors try to purchase the scarcer cased versions which sell for between £75 - £125. Also an interesting collection can be amassed for the cost of an Iron Cross 1st class, for those on a tight budget.
First published by Jamie Cross 17.9.2005 Copyright Reserved
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