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The Age Old "Wearer's Copy" story....


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You'll see the "Wearer's Copy" story tossed about all over the net, various on-line auction houses and at shows. I personally believe that as we speak, there are probably enough Imperial German Pour Le Merites (aka PLM, aka Blue Max) floating about for every man, woman and child in Germany right now!! Interesting from the standpoint that less than 800 were awarded for WW1 laugh.gif

But as with most "Fairy Tales" and "Urban Legends", they have a basis in truth. Certainly a few of Germany's elite winners of the PLM had a copy (or in the case of G?ring, 10-20) or two laying around.

My experience is that this practice carried down through the ranks even to the enlisted. A Kingdom's (Duchy, Principality, etc.) highest award may have just been so revered that to actually wear the piece was akin to wanton disregard.... Here are a few examples of what I mean.

This Silver Max Josef Bravery Medal is a "wearer's copy" from the Bavarian grouping of C. Engelhardt.... he kept the original pristine in its' original case and i doubt it was ever worn. But this piece, an entirely different story! Notice the bizarre suspension system of this period (!!) copy!

I invite all to share any versions of "wearer's copies" they might have in their collections!

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Here for comparison are two Bavarian MVK2XmKrs-- on the left, an original wartime piece in that "almost silver" alloy, and on the right, a circa 1930s replacement. (Originals should NEVER be buffed BTW -- they will not "polish up" to anything "like new" but will only look like... buffed, ruined pieces)

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The frosted silvery white finish of the replacement is not bad, but it is not what originals looked like. Notice the 3-D obverse disk on the original and the completely smooth "hubcap" on the replacement. The original has the crowned L cipher stamped in relief in imitation of the separate piece disk devices of the Order grades. The later copy's silvered plating has simply come off on the L-Crown.

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another difference is the later piece having the swords RIVETTED on rather than fitted through the scrollwork on a threaded post and affixed with a "donut" nut:

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Here is a Beauty And The Beast pair-- an original HHOX and a post-1939 remake 1914 EK2-- in the 1939 frame size, base metal not silver, and absolutely appalling lumpy smeared ironwork. Makes me shudder just thinking about this one!

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and the whole circa 1940 Frackspange:

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This belonged to an artillery in-law of the REAL von Ribbentrops, and between me and Neal O'Connor we got most of it back in mail catalog days. I got a Seniority List he and pa-in-law had annotated and his HHOX document and Neal got (and YEARS later I finally got from him, forgotten in his files after he returned everything to countries of origin because he knew I wanted it jumping.gif ) the then-Oberleutnant's EK1 document as a temporary aerial observer. We both missed a crucial WW2 KVK2 no swords document since the famous German auctioneer couldn't have cared less about keeping the set together and listed no names for anything, all sold individually and without ANY catalog info on recipient! speechless.gif There are still such creatures 20+ years on! wacko.gifangry.gif

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