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Chris Boonzaier

The REAL Early crosses....

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I think it is accepted that OFFICIAL issue crosses were flat with a makers code on the back, this code being used as a quality control by the office responsible for orders.

Here is my thought for the day....

Can we really assume that the Germans had a system in place from Day 1 to have the above system in place?

That at a time where folks thought the war would be over by X-Mas and had no idea how many EKs would be awarded, where they had initially not even thought of printing preliminary award documents... that they already had a plan to have makers use a coded system on Iron Crosses?

How do you imagine the crosses issued in 1914 were stamped?

All th ebest

Chris

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I assume that while the system was being developed and implemented the first crosses were probably purchased from private firms. Bureaucracies cannot move at the same speed as a company driven by profit.

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Indeed, I imagine that the first people to start making them would have been those who were tooled up and making/had made 1870 crosses?

1870 EK2s were not marked.... would it be an illogical conclusion that the first 1914 crosses were probably made the same way? Control initials only coming later?

There were not many makers of 1870 EK1s, could we assume that for at least 1914 it would have been the same firms? If it were... would they not have started off doing what was done before?

i.e. The EK1s stamped "Godet" are condidered Private Purchase, the ones stamped "G" award pieces... could it not be that the "Godet" ones were the first early ones, with a full name, like done before.... and later when the control letters were introduced, they changed to "G" ?

You are correct, a company driven by profit is the fastest horse out of the box, but I am guessing it took a few months before anyone realised how "big" this thing was and how many EKs were needed?

Somehow I think the rethink is needed, I really believe we are overlooking a period here...

 

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I think that early crosses are those, whose production technique is similar to 1870ers - with sandcast blackened core. They can be even unmarked. It is quite accepted opinion. The production technique is the first thing to look for when identifying cross as early/late, not the style of marking.

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Hi,

all with the sandcast core? I would be intereted to see examples of accepted early ones if anyone has any?

 

Best

Chris

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I agree with what has been posted, that it makes sense the fancy jewelers would have been first out of the box. After all, it was the five from Berlin that are considered the early manufactures - and they would have been the ones to do it when the war was to be a short one.

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I personally think that if the GODET mark on 1870 crosses and on 1914 private purchased pieces were the same, Chris theory would have some chance. But these MMs doesn´t match. They are the same only in presenting full Godet name, but it is not the same stamp. Same with Wagner, another jeweler from "Berlin five". We don´t see "14 LÖTH" on 1914 crosses.

Secondly - and this opinion is more food for thoughts than argument - there was no reason for jewelers to hurry at the beginning of ww1. Their experience was different, that it seems from our "Divine" perspective (in the sense that we know what happened next). They knew there was postwar "verliehung" after Napoleonic wars, as well as after Franco-Prussian war. So no need to hurry - yes, these companies were driven by profit, but Imperial Germany was not todays USA. They (Godet, Wagner etc) were "Hofjuweliere", they could be sure to receive the orders first.

Here are some sandcast cores. EK1 Wagner, EK2 Godet and EK2 unmarked.

 



 

SW1.jpg

1.jpg

Godet_sm_a.jpg

SW3.jpg

SW2.jpg

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Now I see that pictures have displayed randomly, so the order is - Wagner, unknown, Godet, and again some Wagner pics.

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I personally think that if the GODET mark on 1870 crosses and on 1914 private purchased pieces were the same, Chris theory would have some chance. But these MMs doesn´t match. They are the same only in presenting full Godet name, but it is not the same stamp. Same with Wagner, another jeweler from "Berlin five". We don´t see "14 LÖTH" on 1914 crosses.

​Hi,

Some interesting thoughts so I will take them point by point....

I would have been surprised if the stamps would have remained the same... we are talking about a 40 year passage of time... Most companies, whether medal companies, dagger companies or Burger king have changes to their logos over time... I would be etremely surprised, even fact that Godet made issue crosses in 1914, that the logo stayed the same.

Edited by Chris Boonzaier

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"Secondly - and this opinion is more food for thoughts than argument - there was no reason for jewelers to hurry at the beginning of ww1. Their experience was different, that it seems from our "Divine" perspective (in the sense that we know what happened next). They knew there was postwar "verliehung" after Napoleonic wars, as well as after Franco-Prussian war. "

I think this is an error.... we assume that, or have assumed it for years, because of the dates on the postwar award documents... in fact, the awards were made earlier to that. I think the 1870s roll shows most awards were made during the war...

There also does not have to be a hurry, but fact is, there were 100 000 crosses awarded by the end of 1914, and they had to come from somewhere....

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I think that early crosses are those, whose production technique is similar to 1870ers - with sandcast blackened core. They can be even unmarked. It is quite accepted opinion. The production technique is the first thing to look for when identifying cross as early/late, not the style of marking.

​Hi,

Even with the introduction of other techniques, do we know when all companies stopped sandcasting? It could well be that there was a firm out there who could not afford new technology and continued sandcasting up until 1918?

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The reason this intitial thought popped up at all was an almost automatic thing on dealers sites, and on forums, to differentiate between

1) Issue crosses (Stamped with code)

2) Private Purchase (Company names, "800" or no name)

And for me this is no way clears up what 1914 crosses would have had....

I am betting a 1914 issued EK2 could well have had a blank ring... but on many dealers sites that would be considered a private purchase piece...

And this is all stuff we "know" ... inspite of the fact that we have no idea when the system of one and 2 letter codes was introduced... and what there was before that...

Edited by Chris Boonzaier

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P.S. ... I know I am offering plenty of questions and few answers... but I think this is a topic that we simply asuume things and have not really questioned them...

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1. I think there is no 40 years gap. A type cross, as well as Godet B type cross are known to be produced up to the 1914.

2. Technique of stamping and painting cores is quicker than sandcasting/blackening and allows mass production. This is the reason why companies switched to it. I don´t know anything about production price of both technigues, but if you have written order from Kaiser for 100.000+ crosses, you really have no problem with switching techniques, because it is supposed that the price of doing so is incorporated to the price of whole deal.

3. For me it is really new statement, that unmarked crosses are private purchases. As I understood it up to now, the signals of private purchase are - silver content hallmark, vaulting of the cross, using other than pinback hardware. As I know, only about 20% of ww1 Iron crosses are marked. Do you think it means, that 80% are private purchases?

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4. I can´t really beat the argument that some companies kept producing crosses in old technique, but from what we know, and can be sure, both Wagner and Godet started the war with producing sandcast blackened cores, Wagner - on top of it - in 1870 design - so called B type 1914 cross (see the posted pic). We know it because frames are stamped from crisp die. On later pieces from both makers, the frame always looks worn.

 

B14_a.jpg

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Here is slightly later Wagner. Transition piece with already stamped, but still blackened core.

 

SW_a.jpg

Edited by kasle

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Here is comparison of frame condition between early sandcast Godet EK2 and postwar (probably TR) stamped wideframe.

 

 

Godet_1.jpg

Godet_sm_b.jpg

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These are Sy and Wagners you are showing, not Wagner and Sohn, correct? They are both classic Berlin manufacturers but it was Wagner and Sohn who made the 1870s. Or, are they related somehow?

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As I understood it up to now, the signals of private purchase are - silver content hallmark, vaulting of the cross, using other than pinback hardware.

That is my understanding too.

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Some good points for discussion :-)

"I personally think that if the GODET mark on 1870 crosses and on 1914 private purchased pieces were the same, Chris theory would have some chance. But these MMs doesn´t match. They are the same only in presenting full Godet name, but it is not the same stamp.

1. I think there is no 40 years gap. A type cross, as well as Godet B type cross are known to be produced up to the 1914."

Just to revisit this... Fact is Godet DID change stamps... But sofar I am not sure if they did in 1896, 1906 or 1916... I dont think it plays a roll in 1914 crosses. As to the Übergange from making 1870 to 1914... I am guessing they were probably not actively making 1870 crosses anymore. Its a bit like S+L nowdays... they dont make RK to order, they only make lots... so maybe the last 1870 crosses were made in 1900 and there was enough supply that covered needs for a number of years? i.e. 100 crosses made in 1900, but still 40 left on the shelves in 1914? Like I said, just supposing... I find it an interesting topic...

 

Edited by Chris Boonzaier

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"3. For me it is really new statement, that unmarked crosses are private purchases. As I understood it up to now, the signals of private purchase are - silver content hallmark, vaulting of the cross, using other than pinback hardware. As I know, only about 20% of ww1 Iron crosses are marked. Do you think it means, that 80% are private purchases?"

 

Hi,

I dunno, I think most WW1 EK1s are marked, either code, maker or silver stamp. The issue usually comes into play with EK2s and there vaulting and pinback hardware does not help us.

I cannot think offhand of a dealer who goes into detail about cores... right or wrong, they usually have "Award pieces" and "private purchase" decided by codes or no codes...

 

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"2. Technique of stamping and painting cores is quicker than sandcasting/blackening and allows mass production. This is the reason why companies switched to it. I don´t know anything about production price of both technigues, but if you have written order from Kaiser for 100.000+ crosses, you really have no problem with switching techniques, because it is supposed that the price of doing so is incorporated to the price of whole deal."

Hi,

but if you have a business in a small town making sandcast cores... you may have already reached your production limit and be happy with that... I am sure some big makers did modernise and kick up production, but think that a smaller firm may have continued delivering its 500 cores a month to the assembeler, happy with the money they get and not prepared, willing or able to spend the money to change the tools...

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"As I understood it up to now, the signals of private purchase are - silver content hallmark, vaulting of the cross, using other than pinback hardware. "

 

Here is a wild thought... backed up by ZERO proof... what if the origianal 1914 award EK1s WERE vaulted pieces stamped 800? and the flatbacks with codes became the official ones in, lets say ...1915?

The 1914/Pre coded crosses are still for me the missing link... they must exist... but how to recognise them...

I keep my mouth closed on the Vaulted issue, but secretly I believe that Vaulted ones WERE also awarded... Why should they not have been? Especially when we see how very many officers wore them... who is to say that some commanders did not choose to give their officers vaulted ones? My wifes Greatgrandfather`s group is complete, including old Yachtclub pins... the only cross is a vaulted one. I have a Photo of a Gefreiter on what looks to be Award Day (from the writing on the back), cross hanging crookedly and a rolled up award document in his hand... the cross is vaulted... I believe it to be the exception to the rule, but I believe the argument that vaulted crosses cannot be award pieces simply does not take into account that an army of millions of men fighting in Western Eurpe, Eastern Front and all the way down to the Gaza Strip sometimes had to improvise to keep things going... even if it included organising some Iron Crosses that did not correspond to the rules...

 

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Sorry for not using quoting, but I still didn´t somehow managed to use it correctly. So I will stay with numbers, if you don´t mind.

1. Very good argument, I use it many times, but in this case doesn´t work. The opinion that A type was in production (and not only in offer) up to 1914 (and even longer) is supported by the fact of slowly deceasing quality. The latest pieces are made from really worn die. The crown has not crisp detail at all with nearly no visible beads. The date numerals have visible flaws - mainly obverse 8 and 0. The 0 numeral, undoubtely fat on early pieces, is thin on latest ones, nearly as thin as on 9th bead fakes. And, on top of it, the latest pieces have painted core.

2. My understanding of the thing is that sandcast cores were (if not absolutely, then at least mostly) bought from Iron foundries, not produced by small companies on their own. Jeweler is jeweler because of silver frame, not because of the iron core. I know it from modern experience, jewelers here - despite of improved technology - refuse to work with other metals than gold, silver and bronze. They don´t have education for it, experience, or even tools. And I am not speaking only about Iron, but about tombac, neusilber, or brass as well. I believe that big jewelers could have privilege of having owned or at least subcontracted their own foundry, but smaller jewelers had to rely on generic pieces mostly. So if such thing hapenned - i. e. one day core supplier informed them that there will be no sandcast cores, but die stamped and it will be cheaper - they just had to say: "Fine..."

3. Yes, dealers like quick decisions that look clear. But it was not that easy. If EK1s are mostly marked, than I have (or had) all those exceptions. The best example are two Godets I had - both flat pinbacks with silver frame. One was marked G, second one unmarked. Otherwise totally identical pieces with same hardware, frame condition and stamped core. If the marked one was awarded piece, than the unmarked Godet should be - according to your theory - private purchase. But where the hell is silver hallmark, typical for privately purchased solid silver crosses? Sorry, but I am convinced both were awarded pieces, while privately purchased were those vaulted with sidehooks, or with fancy eliptic screws. Again, the comparison of frame condition between flat and vaulted Godets would tell us more, but, unfortunately, I still didn´t made it to own and inspect those private purchased ones.

 

Godet_4.jpg

Godet_c.jpg

Edited by kasle

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To your last statement, Chris:

In general, vaulted crosses were not awarded pieces, I think we are quite sure with this, but exception could happen from reasons mentioned above in your last post, with which I agree completely. War is not an Ordengesetz. The question is - what do we collect? Common crosses as exceptions?

Ok, then every EK2 1939 can be considered as Ritterkreuz, because EK2s were occasionally worn around the neck, in the time when soldier was verbally awarded with RK, but he didn´t receive the piece yet. Every EK2 1914 mini can be considered as Grosskreuz, because it has inline loop as GKs had - and if GK owner would had ordered GK mini, it would looked precisely the same. This attitude is crazy and destructive to the hobby.

I am supporter of opposite attitude, where we must look at pieces in general, i.e. according to general rules. And if there is some exception, it can be accepted as such, but only according to that particuar cross and only with stone cold proof associated with that particular piece.

Edited by kasle

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