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Of course this bar is for a unidentified Prussian NCO who recieved the highest Prussian award that could be awarded to an enlisted man, the Militarverdienstkreuz. Also known as the enlisted mans Pour le Merite. This and his EK2 are represented here and he would also have had the EK1 as well. It is unusual that there are no other awards, but perhaps this worn when he put on his "black and white front". Here are examples of the awards displayed with the bar. The MVK has most of it's gilt missing and an odd brown patina but it is an issue piece. The Iron Cross is a "KM".

Dan Murphy

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Dan,

The angle of the photo makes comparing your GVK to others difficult. Andreas S-I in a thread on another forum, pointed out the presence of a die-flaw in the ones that Wagner made. I'm too lazy to dig my own of it's storage spot and photograph it at the moment, so I'll "borrow" the photo of the real one posted on that other place, and in a follow up post here, a copy of the counterfeit one posted by Andreas.

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Very impressive bar, Daniel. Just how rare are the Militarverdienstkreuz? How many were awarded?

Paul,

O'Connors first volume of the aviation awards series discusses this (pages 167-169). In easily remembered numbers, less than 2000 were awarded between the time it was initiated in 1864, to the last award in 1918. Slightly over 1700 were awarded during WWI, with over 95% of the awards made during the last year of the war.

O'Connor provides an intersting comparison between this award (presented to enlisted men only), and the PlM (presented to officers only). During WWI, roughly 12 and a half million enlisted men were in the German army, which he says results in a ratio of one awarded GVK per 7113 enlisted/fighting men. If you then consider the award of 687 PlMs (excluding non-Germans, oak-leaf awards) among 325776 officers in the German army, he states that one GVK is "worth" FIFTEEN PlMs.

Les

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It could also be the mysteriously-why-still-awarded Military Decoration 1st Class Cross, statistically minute and improbable numbers of which also show up for WW1. It has always amazed me that the Prussians never bestirred themselves to create ribbon bar devices for this incredibly noteworthy awards.

Either way, a VERY nice and unquestionably original very rare enlisted man's Wunder Bar indeed! :jumping::love::jumping: Congratulations! :cheers:

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Les,

Here is a montage of the detail of the crosses, I am still no good at this. I can never get them all the same size. Left is my real one, center is the other real one and right is the fake. Notice that the real ones have a ball suspender heavily soldered to the top of the cross in the center. The fake has a wide ring (not even close to the real thing) weakly soldered to the top. It looks like it would snap off under slight pressure. One other thing, look at where the crown rests on top of the cypher. See the gap between the two, it is wider on the right side on the real ones. The gap on the fake is even all the way across. Also look at the bottom of the cypher the "curls" are small on the the real ones. Of course there are spangenstuck pieces made as duplicates for the original owner to put on his medal bar and were made during WW1-30's. These have a simple wire ring as on a EK2 and are usually bronze gilt.

Dan Murphy

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It could also be the mysteriously-why-still-awarded Military Decoration 1st Class Cross, statistically minute and improbable numbers of which also show up for WW1. It has always amazed me that the Prussians never bestirred themselves to create ribbon bar devices for this incredibly noteworthy awards.

Either way, a VERY nice and unquestionably original very rare enlisted man's Wunder Bar indeed! :jumping::love::jumping: Congratulations! :cheers:

If you grant the "black-white" only, it could also be a 1914 EK2 and a colonial Military Decoration 2nd Class. However, I think a longer-serving guy with colonial service would probably be more likely to go by the book and have his other awards.

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May I assume this the die flaw that was reffered to earlier.

Dan Murphy

Dan,

I've boot legged an accompaning photos from the previous one at the other site. Note the upper left arm, and what appears to be a badly "trimmed" upper diagonal edge? That's the flaw Andreas was talking about. He said this flaw is found on Wagner made pieces.

Les

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Here is mine. It looks like the finisher removed the whole misformed edge on the one you display. Mine appears to have been left mostly intact. As far as the 1st class Military decoration is concerned, Andreas' site states 917 were awarded. He also breaks down the awards between 1864 and the colonial wars as 888 awarded. That leaves only 29 for WW1, truly rare indeed.

Dan Murphy

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I've never seen ANY explanation as to why the Military Decoration 1sts were given (runner up awards not quite "up" to the GMMC?) but odd commissioned from the ranks types show up in Weimar ranklists with a couple. I've never seen an MEZ2 for World War One, presumably because that would have equated to the Iron Cross.

I thought there were at least two MEZ1 holders in the Reichsheer, but could only find one:

Queckb?rner, shown as Oberleutnant 20.6.18 #158 in 1923-- no awards shown in my "cheapo" edition, but absence of a regiment shows that he was NOT the holder of an Imperial Patent, but rather an ex-NCO with retroactive seniority. In 1924 he is shown as ONLY holding an EK2 and HT, however in 1928 (this is why identifications are tricky, folks) he'd moved up to Hauptmann 1.2.28 #15, still showing only an EK2 and HT, but with the MEZ1 and a Black Wound Badge! Particularly noteworthy in his case, unlike all the other former NCOs-- no enlisted long service award! He was Oberstleutnant 1.8.37 #50 and (with uniform of the Army Gas Protection School), Gasschutzger?tinspizient 2 at the OKH (AHA/GGJ2), and a fossilized Oberst (S) 1.8.40 #5 in May 1944.

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