The Iron Cross medal was perhaps one of the most historically noteworthy military awards in Nazi Germany. The Iron Cross already held a venerable place in German history that dated back to 1813 and the rule of King Friedrich Wilhelm III before Adolf Hitler added his own mark to it in 1939 by adding a prominent swastika to its center. There were 3 versions of the Iron Cross medal during the period of the Third Reich – the Iron Cross 2nd Class, the Iron Cross 1st Class, and the Knight’s Cross. The Iron Cross 1st Class and 2nd Class shared the same dimensions, measuring 44mm in width and height. The larger Knight’s Cross measured 48mm in width and height. All three versions of the Iron Cross were emblazoned with the date 1939 at the bottom. Of the three medals the Iron Cross 2nd Class was most common while the Iron Cross 1st Class was awarded much more sparingly. The Knight’s Cross was only awarded to the most exemplary soldiers and as such it is very rare to find one today. Unfortunately as one of the more desirable and coveted pieces of WWII memorabilia there are quite a few fakes or reproductions to be found today. If you would like help verifying the authenticity of your Iron Cross medal, submit hi-res digital photos of the front and back of the medal via our Free Appraisal form.
This is one of the nicer Imperial 1st Class Iron Crosses we’ve come across in a long time in terms of condition and type. We typically see these in the flat pin-back type, so it is a real treat to have one of these with a nice rounded vault and in the clamshell “sunburst” screwback version...
Iron Cross 1st class, EKI (Eisernes Kreuz I Klasse mit Etui) by Klein & Quenzer (65). Though unmarked, this German WW2 EKI bears all of the hallmarks of the K&Q maker, and is a stunning example retaining 90% of its black finish, with a nice patina around the edges and absolutely no rust or corrosion. The reverse shows average age patina, with hinge, pin and clasp functioning perfectly.
Here’s one right out of the woodwork. Completely uncleaned and untouched, this Cased Iron Cross 1st Class award still has dust on the surface from the years of storage! The cross is in beautiful condition, with much of the original silver wash remaining on front and back sides. The black paint over the magnetic core is 100%, with no visible chips.
Iron Cross 1st class, EKI (Eisernes Kreuz I Klasse mit Etui) by Funcke & Brüninghaus (L/56). A very nice, minty example with a shiny frame that has only slightly colored. The magnetic black core retains 100% of its finish, with absolutely no discoloration or signs of rust. The reverse shows splotches of discoloration, but only adds to the beauty of this piece. There is a solid metal hinge and a “C” shaped flat metal catch to go along with a coke bottle shaped pin that functions smoothly. It is stamped in relief on the outside with the LDO code of the manufacturer, Funcke & Brüninghaus (L/56). Examples just don’t get better than this one.
Iron Cross 2nd Class, EKII (Eisernes Kreuz). 1939 pattern, Gustav Brehmer (13) die struck, three piece construction. The typical front-facing side features an embossed, high relief swastika with the "1939" date below it. The reverse shows the date, "1813".
Iron Cross Second Class EKII, 1939 (Eisernes Kreuz II Klasse) with “65” stamped into the ring, which signifies the maker, “Klein & Quenzer”. This Iron Cross may look a little rough, but a cross like this tells a story all its own. As any collector knows, to clean or restore a piece such as this one would destroy its history and value. Aside from some modest petina, and very slight surface color, the overall black finish is still about 95% on both sides, with the trademark “veins” running through random sections. A very nice cross indeed!
Iron Cross 1st class, EKI (Eisernes Kreuz I Klasse mit Etui) by Wilhelm Deumer (L/11 maker mark). A fine cross indeed, retaining about 97% of its black finish, with only a very small chip to note, and only modest tarnishing. On the reverse, the coke bottle pin is standard for this maker, and the clasp is strong and firm, with the Wilhelm Deumer L/11 mark stamped clearly beneath it.
Here’s a great example of a non-magnetic brass core vaulted Iron Cross 1st Class. These brass core Iron Crosses were typically issued to the Kriegsmarine (navy) because they weren’t susceptible to rusting. On the front we see what is typical with these brass core crosses, which is wear to the raised areas (swastika and 1939 date). Otherwise the black paint coverage is about 90% overall.
A very nice Zimmermann Iron Cross First Class, with standard Zimmermann pin and double proof marks, “L/52” and “20”. What is unique about this example is the double stamping of the “L/52” (see photos). The front of this 1st Class Iron Cross is typical for the maker with the correct “1939” font and other quality features we expect to see from Zimmermann...
An absolutely gorgeous 25 year Jubilee Spange to the 1870 Imperial Iron Cross 2nd Class. This spange was authorized to be worn by recipients of the 1870 Iron Cross who were still in service in 1895, the 25 year anniversary...
Here’s a fine, hard to find, and very old award, in exceptional condition for its age. This Franco-Prussian war 1870 / 1813 Iron Cross 2nd Class includes its original ribbon and 25 years Jubilee spange. The cross itself has managed to retain all of its black paint...
A very nice WWII 2nd Class Iron Cross (EK2) by J.E. Hammer & Sohne. Stamped “55” on the ring, this Iron Cross has 100% of the black paint, even patina and a magnetic core. Multi-piece construction as expected.
Here is a fine WWI Imperial German Iron Cross 2nd Class. These Iron Crosses varied in quality. You can see the unique non-uniform edges of the cut of this one. Has the expected magnetic core, 100% of the black paint (no chips), and a very nice, even patina to the metal. The ring is unmarked, which is not uncommon with these Imperial Iron Crosses.
Here’s a rare one, a vaulted 1870 Iron Cross first class with a couple of very nice, unique features that set it apart from the standard versions (possibly a private purchase example), including a brass or even copper core and a custom pin style. On the front we see some flaking to the black paint, which reveals an underlying copper/darkened brass tone.