Germany - Imperial German Empire, Prussia, Oldenburg, Hamburg, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenbach, and Austrian Empire: Group of 6 awards comprising: Iron Cross 1914 2nd Class; Prussia: Order of the Red Eagle, 4th Class, silver and enamels, no makers marks; Oldenburg: Friedrich August Cross 1914-1918, 2nd Class on Combatants ribbon, late war version in blackened zinc; Hamburg: Hanseatic Cross 1914-1918; Saxe-Weimar-Eisenbach: Grand Ducal House Order of the White Falcon, Knight’s Cross 2nd Class without Swords, silver and enamels; Austria Empire: Cross for Military Merit, 3rd Class with Wartime issue wreath, bronze-gilt and enamels, on War Ribbon; Austria - Empire: Austrian Red Cross Merit Award, 2nd Class with War Decoration enamelled wreath. Mounted court style as worn, on original ribbons all bearing a matching colour fade and wear, the mounting from the 1920’s to 1930’s. A fine and extremely rare combination of awards, this being quite probably an example of one of only a handful of the Order of the Red Eagle awards to be made in either the 3rd or 4th Class during the First World War.
Condition: slight contact wear, Good Very Fine.
The Prussian Order of the Red Eagle can trace its origins back to the Ordre de la Sincerité founded by on 17th November 1705 by Margrave Georg Wilhelm of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. It was revived in 1734 in the Principality of Brandenburg-Ansbach as the Order of the Brandenburg Red Eagle. In 1777 it was renamed the Order of the Red Eagle. In 1792 when both Principalities were annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia it became the second- ranked order of the enlarged kingdom. In 1810 King Friedrich Wilhelm III revised the order, expanding it from one to three classes and in 1830 a fourth class, as in this example, was added for junior officers and civilians of equivalent rank. The Order was awarded for bravery in combat and excellence in military leadership. It is interesting to note that the 3rd and 4th classes of the Order were awarded only 116 times during World War I in order to maintain its prestige.
The Oldenburg Friedrich August Cross was instituted on 24th September 1914 for all ranks and was the Grand Duchy’s equivalent of the Prussian Iron Cross for bravery in the field. If the Cross has a magnetic core, it is an early issue, as later awards were in zinc alloy ‘Kriegsmetall’.
The Hamburg Hanseatic Cross. Each of the three ancient Hanseatic Cities – Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck – issued a cross of similar design in the First World War, differing only in the arms on the central medallion of the face, that for Hamburg, the Hamburg Hanseatic Cross being instituted on 10th September 1915. Hamburg suffered 40,000 casualties during the war, from a total population of 800,000. The Cross was suppressed at the end of 1918.
The Order of the White Falcon was a grand-ducal order of Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, founded by Duke Ernest Augustus in 1732, and renewed in 1815 by Charles Augustus. In the early 20th century it had four classes and a silver cross, added in 1878.
The Austrian Cross for Military Merit was instituted on 21st October 1849 to be awarded to officers for distinguished service in peacetime and for bravery and leadership in wartime. In 1860 a laurel wreath between the arms was added for wartime awards, as in this example.
The Austrian Red Cross was founded in 1864 and the merit awards were created to mark the 50th anniversary. The Austrian Red Cross Merit Award was awarded from 1914 to 1919 for aiding the wounded and displaced during World War I.