This is a very high-quality, custom two-piece screwback Army Silver Wound Badge. Wound badges (Verwundetenabzeichen) were first authorized for award on 3 March 1918 in three different classes. The 3rd Class award was black (for one or two wounds), the 2nd Class award was silver (for three and four wounds), while the 1st Class award was gold (for five or more wounds, or more severe traumas such as the loss of a limb).
The issued badge was oval-shaped and featured a stahlhelm’s profile superimposed over crossed swords in its center. A laurel leaf wreath encircled the entire badge. [The stahlhelm replaced the pickelhaube in 1916, and was used for WW I’s duration. The Germany military continued to use it all the way through WW II. A very similar helmet model was adopted by the American military in WWII and is still in use today]. An issued badge sported a solid, pebbled surface behind the stahlhelm and crossed swords, with a vertical pin attached to its reverse. It was also stamped and hollow.
Those soldiers who were willing to pay for something more elaborate had the option of purchasing a custom badge from a jeweler or military effects establishment once they had received their original award (just as did those who desired special Iron Crosses). For wound badges, the most common custom badge variation was the cutout. In this process, the badge’s solid background was eliminated and only the stahlhelm and crossed swords remained within the laurel leaf wreath. The badge was stamped just like an issued badge. Another option, particularly for the Silver Wound Badge, was to have it made of .800 silver then hallmarked to that effect. The ultimate in wound badges was to have it made into a two-piece screwback.
Our offering today is exactly the latter, a cutout Silver Wound Badge that has been converted to a two-piece screwback. It measures 1 ½” x 1 ¾,” and is in excellent condition. It has a muted patina. Its reverse reveals that a female receptacle has been installed on the helmet’s back. The backing plate’s male portion screws down into the female portion. On the backing plate’s underside is the word “Fein” and an “A” (possibly for Assmann und Söhne, an insignia maker). This is a very fine example of a true custom Silver Wound Badge.