This cased medal honors Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen, who founded Germany’s first rural credit union in 1864. Born in 1818, Raiffeisen was the mayor of several towns. He served in Weyerbusch/Westerwald from 1845 to 1848, in Flammersfeld/Westerwald from 1848 to 1852, and Heddesdorf from 1852 until late 1865. He had to retire from public office in 1867 due to ill health. He died in 1888. As a young mayor in Flammersfeld, Raiffeisen observed local farmers suffering from the predation of loan sharks. He founded the first cooperative lending bank in 1864, which was, essentially, a rural credit union. A number of banks in existence today are named after him. They operate in Germany Austria, Switzerland, Romania, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
The brass-toned, circular medal features Raiffeisen’s high-relief portrait on its obverse. The reverse features the words “Für Treue Arbeit” (For Faithful Participation/Assistance), surrounded by an oak leaf wreath. The wreath is further encircled by twinkling stars. The medal has an attachment by which one could insert it for display in a suit’s buttonhole. The medal comes with a black leatherette presentation case. The case has the standard white silk upper lid, and a blue velvet base with a cutout area to accommodate the medal. It is an interesting historical item.