PRUSSIA – HONOR CROSS FOR WOMEN AND YOUNG WOMEN – A.K.A. VIRGINS CROSS – 1871.
The Honor Cross for Women and Young Women (Ehrenkreuz für Frauen und Jungfrauen), popularly known as the “Virgins Cross,” technically was NOT an Iron Cross. Due to its appearance, however, it is generally classified as an Iron Cross. The decoration was authorized by Kaiser Wilhelm I and his wife, Kaiserin Louise, on 22 March 1871 following the Franco-Prussian War’s end. It was intended to recognize women and young women who had performed good works for the Reich. A total of 2,979 of these awards were made, with one of its most famous recipients being the USA’s Clara Barton. [Barton had worked tirelessly in hospitals to improve medical care during the U.S. Civil War. When the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War broke out she went to Germany, and again helped to improve medical conditions for the German troops wounded at the front].
As previously stated, the Honor Cross for Women and Young Women (Ehrenkreuz für Frauen und Jungfrauen) displays the general appearance of an Iron Cross. That said, it comes in Prinzengroße size, measuring 1.25” x 1.25.” Another of its major differences from other Iron Crosses is that both its obverse and reverse are made of enamel. Its obverse features a crown, with the Kaiser and Kaiserin’s intertwined initials “W” and “A” appearing below it. The date “1870/1871″ is placed below the initials. All of the latter are rendered in silver against black enamel. The reverse reveals a red cross trimmed in white against the same black enamel background. It is enclosed within a fine silver frame that displays high-quality beadwork. A white silk ribbon with two narrow black bands on it extends horizontally from the decoration.
This Honor Cross for Women and Young Women (Ehrenkreuz für Frauen und Jungfrauen) is in excellent condition. It has been several years since we have been able to offer this decoration to you.