The Military Service Cross from the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was that state’s equivalent to Prussia’s Iron Cross. Like the Iron Cross, it was awarded in both a 1st and 2nd Class. After the Iron Cross, it was the oldest award of its type within Imperial Germany, having been first offered in 1848. The Iron Cross was offered in 1813, 1870, and 1914. [Although not part of the Imperial Period, it also was awarded in 1939 and 1957]. The Military Service Cross was offered in 1849, 1859,, 1864, 1866, 1870, 1877, 1900, 1914, and without a date. Like the Iron Cross, the Military Service Cross generally was awarded in a normal full size. It sometimes was awarded or purchased in the prinzengroße size, as well.
Our offering today is a very scarce Prinzengroße 1870 War Merit Cross 2nd Class for Non Combatants. While I am not certain how many non combatant versions of the decoration were awarded for the 1870/71 Franco-Prussian War, it is safe to say the number was far less than the 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class for Non Combatants. Only about 3,000 examples were awarded for the latter medal. This award’s original owner opted to acquire a prinzengroße-sized example. These were typically about two-thirds the size of an issued cross. The cross is gilt-toned (unlike the Iron Cross) and measures 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4.” Like the Iron Cross it features a crown at the top, the ruler’s cypher ( FF for Friedrich Franz), and the conflict’s date (1864). The reverse displays the words, “Für Auszeichnung im Kriege.” The smaller cross is highly-detailed.
The ribbon is the type used on a non combatant’s decoration. The predominant color is magenta. Flanking that wider band are narrow bands of yellow and blue. This would make a superb addition to any decoration collection