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When the Traveling Museum :cheers: pulled up this week for a periodic visit to have Epson portraits made I was VERY excited to see these-- BOTH of these-- since I once had a Tragically Close But No Cigar Encounter with one myself.

These were Hessen-Kassel's deliberate eqivalent of the Prussian Iron Cross, made of blackened iron and silver.

Created by Kurf?rst Wilhelm I on 18 March 1814, the original 1814 crosses (73 awarded on 22 September) were the "Brabant" ball-tipped version. This was altered for the 1815 awards (63) to the more closely Iron Cross shaped version.

Both versions were made by and marked "KUMPFF" on back

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I almost had half a stake in an 1815 type....

Back in the spring of 2001, I was up at a gun show in New Hampshire with my friend Ted when a bug-eyed druggie zombie the whites of whose eyes were vivid tomato red began barging into people, chest-butting like some crazed real life WWF performer, and demanding 300 dollars for the contents of a cardboard cigar box.

All over the hall, hammers were cocked.... :unsure::rolleyes:

When it was my turn to be so assailed (we were packed in the aisles like sardines so it was only a matter of time) what was in the cigar box were...

2 1914 Iron Crosses 2nd Class without ribbons, a sprinkling of Wehrmacht NCO shoulder board numbers, a couple of the most ordinary of 1930s Nazi "day" tinnies... and an 1815 type Iron Helm.

"300 bucks! 300 bucks!" the drug crazed zombie demanded, butting me--oblivious to my very much larger size and what total strangers have uniformly described at varying times for a number of my family members as our untattoo'd Maori-ish "death look." (I once caused an adolescent male to pee himself just by glaring at him--his imminent fate clear in my eyes-- while rescuing a cat he had been attempting to lynch. But I digress.)

Of course, we were sans National Currency Units ... enough. Ted had a whip round of his friends up there (I think people would have donated just to get the guy out of there) and... all we could come up with was...

$270.

As the designated Former Nut Ward Employee it was my duty to attempt to talk Tomato Eyes into parting with JUST the one little icky black THING for 90% of his demanded fee.

"NFW! NFW!" and similar drift suitably censored (the visual reenactment is much more impresssive :catjava: ) and...

end result was we left with no Iron Helm and deranged junkie left with ZERO cashg for his next fix.

I am as certain as the republic is dead and over that he tossed the whole thing in a trash can and went on to mug some passing pedestrian that night...

so I can say with sad, sad direct personal experience that while there may have been 63 1815 Iron Helms MADE

there is certainly ONE LESS "out there." :( :( :( :(

(I am sure stamp collectors and Barbie afficionados have similar tales of high drama and violence to tell. Riiiight.)

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Several years ago I had a chance at one on ebay and passed ofer it because I did not

understand what it was :banger::banger:

Very nice. I have never seen nor heard of this award before. Does anyone have a portrait of one in wear?

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Ayuh-- but what could possibly have been MORE unlikely than Cigar Box Tomato-Eyed Homicidal Loonie?

There is always that hoped for, dreamed of, miraculously (in that case sadly) unlikely yet....

This particular award is a prime example of what I call Ignorable Treasures:

EVERYBODY knows what an Iron Cross is. A swastika is universally (and often quite wrongly) associated with German Nazis. Pretty enamel and GOLD pieces perk up anybody's interest...

but the Iron Helms (especially when like all three of the ones I've seen have silver patina so dark they look like nothing BUT cast iron) look like some sort of circa 1905 fraternal groups Silly Games dress up junque.

Another friend (the Traveling Museum is a Collective like the Research Gnomes Collaborative) found a Prussian Gold Military Merit Cross, loose, in a local Junque Shoppe in with costume jewelry. Since it is as :sleep: as a XV Years Service Cross he picked that up for under 20 bucks.

Me? I get psychotically intransigent tomato eyes! :banger:

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I can't imagine that a real specimen of this gem would show up on e$cam.

That is an error that can cost dearly....

I have some of the cream of my collection from Ebay, mostly stuff put on by non collecting "Civvies". And I mean mind blowingly rare, extremely sexy and historically cutting edge pieces.....

From a dealer you would never afford it and from a collector you would never get it.... but ebay.... :-)))))

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"Kurf?rst" is kind of tricky rendering into English. "Prince-Elector" maybe. It's like a "Prince-plus" of the old Holy Roman Empire. We've got no Anglo-equivalent.

Last I knew about what 1939 Knight's Crosses go for these days... which just goes to show how CRAZY the supposed connection between "supply" and "demand" really is.

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Several years ago I had a chance at one on ebay and passed ofer it because I did not

understand what it was :banger::banger:

Although I agree with Chris that some amazing items do turn up on eBay, I think you did the right thing in this case as I've seen these rare crosses on eBay fairly regularly from some of the usual dodgy Euro dealers.

Regards

Mike

Edited by Mike K
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Of course, an item awarded only 136 (both types) times 194 years ago can be expected to show up on e$cam or at gun shows or at car boot sales all the time. Of course. :rolleyes:

Not "all the time", but it can. Why not? My father bought even rarer stuff on eBay.com, that was not even expensive.

By the way, thanks for showing! One of the best looking pre-imperial German awards of all. I think I've never seen both at once... ;)

Edited by saschaw
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Of course, an item awarded only 136 (both types) times 194 years ago can be expected to show up on e$cam or at gun shows or at car boot sales all the time. Of course. :rolleyes:

As an "expert" :speechless: (yeah right) on the kurhessian ODM, I can say there were some more than 136 but not that much. I thought I saw one in a Thies catalogue (a GC one) some years ago. I am researching the recipients and specific reasons for the awards.

regards

David

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When the Traveling Museum :cheers: pulled up this week for a periodic visit to have Epson portraits made I was VERY excited to see these-- BOTH of these-- since I once had a Tragically Close But No Cigar Encounter with one myself.

These were Hessen-Kassel's deliberate eqivalent of the Prussian Iron Cross, made of blackened iron and silver.

Created by Kurf?rst Wilhelm I on 18 March 1814, the original 1814 crosses (73 awarded on 22 September) were the "Brabant" ball-tipped version. This was altered for the 1815 awards (63) to the more closely Iron Cross shaped version

Both versions were made by and marked "KUMPFF" on back

Hi Rick

Where did you get these numbers from? They do not entirely correspond with the data I have, and I am most curious as to what other kind of publications there are around

regards

David

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dear mr. card! ;)

somehow i balk less at 8k for one of these

versus the 8+k for , what?, 30,000

manufactured RK's.

wish , oh wish, oh wish i could have one!

thanks!

joe

Hi joe campbell,

I completely agree, but we see these contradictions all the time. Now, I am going to say something that I hope does not offend any members -

When I see anonymous 1st class Iron Crosses selling for close to the same amount as named Brunswick and Hannover Waterloo medals, to me, it does not make sense. Now I will admit that these stratospheric prices are ?rare? variants, but still... we?re talking about named pieces to participants in one of history?s most famous battles.

Of course, it all comes down to this. Why are we interested in Imperial German? Probably does not make sense to Third Reich, British Commonwealth or Soviet, to name only a few, collectors; not to mention stamp, coin and antique car collectors. We all see this collecting thing from different angles, even within seemingly confined areas. For instance, George Seymour, who had one of the finest collections of our time, pretty much confined his interest to orders and medal bars.

With regard to these Iron Helms, aside from their rarity, I think that they are beautiful and absolutely classic German in design. Thank you for bringing them to our attention Rick.

Wild Card

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Happy to be of this small service to the wider community. :cheers:

being a Collective (like the Research Gnomes) sometimes the Traveling Museum brings SS insignia from Dachau, or Damascus swords... and other times Napoleonic things undreamed of.

I live to Epson-scan. :catjava:

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Somewhere out there exists an award roster.

I have seen this medal on one or two Prussian senior officer portraits. Given the centrality of H-K to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia, ruled and played with by the spoiled Jerome, some of the original 73 were almost certainly given to some of the @750 Russian campaign survivors (and survivors of Spain).

Later these troops fought with the Prussians and in 1815....well, that's another story.

Edited by Ulsterman
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Somewhere out there exists an award roster.

I have seen this medal on one or two Prussian senior officer portraits. Given the centrality of H-K to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia, ruled and played with by the spoiled Jerome, some of the original 73 were almost certainly given to some of the @100 Russian campaign survivors.

Later these troops fought with the Prussians and in 1815....well, that's another story.

The russians and the iron helm, that's a whole different story :rolleyes: . Although it is to be expected some of them got it. In one of he books I have, there is a roster and it will be published, along with some biographical details on the recipients someday. At the moment however, I am mainly concentrating on the Wilhelmsorder. In the protocols of the Ordenscommission, the occasional Iron helm awardee drops by. Basically because they literally drop dead around the mid 1850's one after another.

regards

David

Edited by David M
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