It is a very interesting and exciting mini group that includes an 1813 Iron Cross 2nd Class, its actual award document, and another document from some twenty years after the initial award. The 1813 Iron Cross introduced a completely new concept in medals awarded to soldiers for their battle service, i.e., that a man could be awarded a medal no matter what rank he possessed, whether he was a private or a general. The Napoleonic Wars had been raging for several years, but the tide was turning by the time the 1813 Iron Crosswas first awarded. As a matter of fact, the wars ended that same year. Napoleon, however, was never one to give up easily. He escaped from exile in March 1815 and returned to wage war at theBattle of Waterloo in June. Bonaparte was finally defeated on 18 June 1815 and sentenced to permanent exile on St. Helena, where he died six years later.
The Iron Cross was instituted under König Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia’s rule. Since it was a new decoration that suffered production problems, its award process did not complete until the late 1830’s. Similar situations occurred in 1870 and 1914, in that those particular Iron Crosses continued to be awarded AFTER their respective wars had ended. [TRIVIA ALERT! The award of the 1813 Iron Cross included a pension from the Crown].
Our mini group includes its award document. The award document (urkunde) was made out to a man named Jacob Nagel. The document measures 8″ x 8.” It is housed in a sturdy plastic holder due to its age. It is a pre printed form to which the appropriate information has been added in black ink. Its bottom left corner features the House of Hohenzollern’s Coat-of-Arms. The document was signed by the Ordens Kanzler, and is dated 16 March 1818. This makes it one of the earlier awards, even though it was made five years after the decoration was introduced.
The second document measures 6 ¾” x 8.” It is a simple handwritten paper that is also penned in black. It refers again to Jacob Nagel, and was signed by a Major who commanded a Landwehr-Regiment. It refers to another decoration that I believe was being forwarded to Nagel as it refers to an award numbered 3218. I am presuming that the Major sent that decoration and its urkunde to Nagel. The document is dated 1840. I am sorry I cannot be more specific about the document’s contents. It is handwritten in German Fraktur Script, which is difficult to decipher (in spite of the fact that the lettering strongly stands out against the yellowed paper).
The group’s final piece is Jacob Nagel’s awarded 1813 Iron Cross 2nd Class. The medal’s plain black obverse is devoid of any information. The paint shows honest age, which includes some paint bubbling (entirely normal for a two-hundred-year-old Iron Cross). Its reverse features Friedrich Wilhelm III’s crown and cypher with an oak leaf branch below it. The Cross’s bottom arm, where we normally expect to see the year 1813, has been damaged and obscures the date. The damage actually begins at the oak leaves’ bottom. One can see up under its iron center. The damage is regrettable, but it lends a certain character to the decoration. The EK 2 sports a combatant’s ribbon.
This is a high-quality mini group that simply screams “HISTORY!” It affirms the emergence of Imperial-era Prussia.
This is a consignment item.