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I cannot tell you how much this site has helped my collecting knowledge, but threads such as the PLM thread and the one about the Ebay Medal Bar scream to me that I really know "NOTHING!"

I realize that the path to Imperial Enlightenment is gained over many years and much experience, and there are no shortcuts. (My kids are in Karate, and it seems quite similar.)

However, I thought it would be great to start a thread in which you old hands contribute to a central list as it were, of "must have" books and E-Sites that will teach us "in depth" the history, protocol and other facts we need to learn about Imperial Orders and Medals. There are plenty of sites and books that I deem "fast food" with lots of lovely pictures, but very short blurbs about the item displayed.

Teachers of Imperial, please guide us on our quest for knowledge!

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In process Chris, in Process!

But having said that, there's never a substitute to handling the pieces themselves. You'll have to really get out to the shows and friends and look the pieces over themselves, feel them (and as my (Truly) Evil Twin does when no-one is looking............... Lick them! :P

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Honestly can't recall if we've done this before here but here is a short listing of items in my posession and my opinions of them.

I do not consider myself in the class of those you've asked but I have been guided to some of these references by Rick Research.

Enjoy!

wem

 Deutschland-Katalog 2001/2002 Orden & Ehrenzeichen 1800-1945 by Jorg Nimmergut

Basic listing or awards and decorations by sovereign state. B&W illustrations ? good for quick reference on various orders and decorations and various permutations. No explanations, statutes or numbers.

* Banderkatalog Orden & Ehrenzeichen Deutschland 1800-1945 by Jorg Nimmergut

Companion volume to first entry showing color charts for medals, orders & decorations

* The Iron Cross ? A History 1813 ? 1957 by Gordon Williamson

Good place to start for concise history of this decoration

* Of Red Eagles and Royal Crowns by William Hamelman

English translation of historical statutes for the Prussian Red Eagle Order and Crown Order with black & white illustrations. Provides insight into the various grades and combinations of accoutrements for these complex orders.

* The History of the Prussian Pour le Merite Order in 3 volumes by William Hamelman

Listing of recipients by time period with short citations in most cases. Includes pertinent historical outlines and award descriptions

* Military Medals, Decorations & Orders of the United States & Europe by Ball & Peters

Not recommended ? organization unclear ? WWI sovereigns all listed under Germany without subtitles ? must know enough to figure it out yourself. Illustrations in color of varying quality ? many look like refugees from the ?cigarette books? ? and many inaccuracies. If you really like pictures ? buy it but don?t blame me!!!

* Orders and Decorations of all Nations by Robert Werlick

Due to subject range ? our hobby is sparsely covered but he does give black and white photos of the orders of all the sovereign states of the German Empire with information on foundation dates, ribbon colors and grades within the orders.

* Prussia Award Documents and Authorization Certificates 1793-1972 by Dietmar Raksch

Good one for the ?advanced? collector/historian

* Pour le Merite und Tapferkeitsmedaille by Klietmann

German language concise listing of orders and decorations by state from WWI through Weimar Republic tthrough WWII. Indicates grades and statistics in many cases. Handy and one of my personal favotires for quick reference. Black & white photos of badges and pendants ? no ribbon information

* Aviation Awards of Imperial Germany in World War One by Neal O?Connor in 7 volumes

Best purchase I?ve made for information on Imperial Orders and Decorations. English language. Briefly explains political & military history of each state before providing explanations of the orders and decorations of each state. If you are interested in the people under the medals ? you?ll love this as the author continues to put faces on the names of the aviator recipients. Even if not enamored with aviation ? the other facets of these books make them hugely attractive to the collecting community in my opinion.

* Die tragbaren Ehrenzeichen des Deutschen Reiches by von Hessenthal und Schreiber

This is a fundamental cornerstone of an Imperial Library in my opinion. The information contained is overwhelming. Not particularly impressive for illustrations ? all black & white. Simple lists of orders with no additional information other than foundation dates. As an ?all in one? ? unsurpassed. Currently available in reprinted form as a paperback.

* Orden ? the Cigarette Card Album sponsored by the Munich Astoria.

In German and not at all scholarly but great fun in my opinion and semi-antique to boot! Cards are somewhat primitive but useful for major award identification & colors purposes. Organized by ?type? award and state. I have no regrets about this recent purchase at under $100 US.

Two great sites on web:

Dave Danner?s site ?Decorations of the States of the German Empire?

http://home.att.net/~david.danner/militaria/states.htm

And

Andreas M. Schulze Ising?s site ?Imperial German Orders, Medals & Decorations?

http://www.medalnet.net/

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In process Chris, in Process!

But having said that, there's never a substitute to handling the pieces themselves. You'll have to really get out to the shows and friends and look the pieces over themselves, feel them (and as my (Truly) Evil Twin does when no-one is looking............... Lick them! :P

Now is that how to tell precious from base metal? :P

I am fortunate being located near KC, home of the Liberty Memorial, and Chip Minx. The Liberty Memorial, as many of you know, is designated as the USA's "official" WWI Monument and Museum. After years of neglect, there has been a massive multi-million dollar infusion in capital to restore, expand and improve the Memorial. They have the largest WWI collection in the Nation, much of which has sat in storage until now.

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Thanks for the great list. Is Die tragbaren Ehrenzeichen des Deutschen Reiches by von Hessenthal und Schreiber have an English version? My German is not so great. I learned Christmas Carols in German for my Grandfather and Great-Grandfather, who preferred them in the "home" language, but that is about the extent of it.

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For you the best books in english are the O'Connor's books. These books are in the first place in my room. I've read them, read them and will read them all the time. Because I want to have in memory the most important things about medals.

You can read also the following book in french and in english :

BLONDEL (J-M), Ordres des Etats de l?Allemagne Imp?riale, Boissy en Brie, sans ?diteur, 1987, 101 p.

You will find only orders of each states. All orders are in color. I have bought this book in 1987 and I know it is very rare to find one exemplar.

Christophe

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Hi everybody,

Just to say that in France, I know few people who collect Imperial Germany awards. My aera influence is about 3 people only. One near me (less than 40 kms) and the others (800 kms from me). So it is difficult to show your treasure everytime. Vive Internet. With Internet we cans discuss and show via the webcam our new items but that's all.

Christophe

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If your serious, you'll have no choice but to start trying to gain some rudimentary understanding of written German. There is no substitute for the Nimmergutt Series. Niemann's book is also essential for the German Empire" section alone. Well worth it......... just for the one section. never mind all the "stuff" that came post 1935.

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Thanks for the great list. Is Die tragbaren Ehrenzeichen des Deutschen Reiches by von Hessenthal und Schreiber have an English version? My German is not so great. I learned Christmas Carols in German for my Grandfather and Great-Grandfather, who preferred them in the "home" language, but that is about the extent of it.

Nope - gotta do Deutsch!

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Here's our main "everything" thread on our reference libraries:

http://gmic.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=688

Imperial is so vast and de-centralized a field that unless you specialize it will never be possible to know it all.

Personally, I consider von Hessenthal and Schreiber a "must have." It does NOT cover Orders, only Merit Crosses and down, but they were 50 years ahead of their time for measurements and weights and all the things modern collectors consider essential, and provide information on pre-WW2 "replicas" and so on (Napoleonic, mostly) that are great helps for anyone interested that far back, but also get into authorized--and unauthorized-- WW1 "wearing copies." They were the Wilbur and Orville Wright of German awards collecting and NONE of their information is outdated. They're a timeless classic.

At some point (and the sooner the better! :cheeky: ) you simply have to decide where your main interest(s) lie and focus there. I haven't got a CLUE about much of anything pre-1897. I just had to write that off as "insufficient personal hard drive space" between my ears. :rolleyes:

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