Iron Crosses

Iron Crosses remain the single most popular award to collect in relation to German history. The first were awarded in 1813 and re introduced in 1870, 1914 and finally 1939. Hitler introduced a new class system and redesign in 1939. The Second Class, First Class, Knights Cross and Grand Cross. As the war progressed, the need to further recognize achievements of existing Knights Cross holders was needed. This birthed the oak leaves, swords and diamonds.

The lesser grades are rewarding to collect, as there is always a hunt for crosses in remarkable condition. There are also dozens of makers of the first class, so the hunt to collect them all can be an addiction. Second Class 1939 crosses often came with a paper packet. First Class crosses were awarded with a square black leather case.
There is a misconception that center iron core must be made of iron to prove originality. The keen collector knows to be on the look out for brass and sometimes pot metal cores. The brass cores especially, sell for a premium. All crosses are three piece construction. Collector terminology is EK1/EK2 (Eisernes Kreuz first and second class).