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PLM markings

Article about: This is (presumably) a daily wear copy of a PLM that I have had for several years. It is not in bad shape, but it has obviously spent a lot of time on somebody's collar and has taken quite a

  1. #1

    Default PLM markings

    This is (presumably) a daily wear copy of a PLM that I have had for several years. It is not in bad shape, but it has obviously spent a lot of time on somebody's collar and has taken quite a few knocks over the years. I wondered if anyone was familiar with the mark on it. Photos are attached. The ring is marked 900 vs the 800 seen on most German silver. I had a hard time deciding that, but the bottom of the loop is definitely open when looking at it with a loup. There are a number of details that I think are important, but I am more interested in hearing what some of you all have to say without coloring your thoughts in advance.

    PLM markingsPLM markingsPLM markingsPLM markingsPLM markings

  2. #2

    Default Re: PLM markings

    The cross you show is supposed to be in the style of those made by "C.F. Rothe and Neffe". Very distinctive,
    tall skinny eagles make them easy to spot.

    "Wagner" marked their crosses with the "W". A Rothe cross should not have a Wagner makers mark.
    Live to ride -- Ride to live

    I was addicted to the "Hokey-Pokey" but I've turned
    myself around.

  3. #3

    Default Re: PLM markings

    What was Rothe and Neffe's mark? (I am sure it is not this or you would have said so, but I had to ask.) Isn't Wagner just a "W"? This has more: there is a very distinct "check" mark over the left arm of the "W". I do not believe this is a random impact mark (though I obviously cannot rule that out entirely, but it would seem highly unlikely after examining he mark). It clearly is not a mis-strike of the W. A mis-strike would not have produced the short arm of the check and it would have also produced a second "check" for the other bottom end of the "W". Of course, I suppose it could be a mis-strike of a V with the W. Is anyone familiar with a VW mark? (No car lovers if you please!) Does anyone know of a "check W" mark? (Wagner's Prague office perhaps? Just joking.) I know clockmakers will often add their own mark (actually more usually a signature or initials) to a clock they have worked on, though they would certainly not, to my knowlege, do that in a way to obscure or detract from the original maker's mark; has anyone heard of anything like that with regard to German (or other) jewelers? There is no question but that this cross has been repaired at some point in its life so that may be a pertinent question.

    The glare on the back of the cross makes it harder to see, but the reverse has many small, and some not so small, scratches and striations from an underlying piece of metal that this has spent a good deal of time riding on top of. Perhaps a metal button, perhaps another decoration. There are no similar marks on the top surface, so nothing else rode atop this. It also has a jeweler's repair on the left upper arm where the enamel has been refilled.

    And now a question about how these were made? I raise this because the 900 mark is on the suspension, not on the PLM itself. If this PLM were gold plated silver, would the jeweler, prior to plating, have four silver eagles that looked identical to how they would look after gold plating, or are the details of the piece (such as the feather details) added seperately as part of, or after, the gold plating process? This could be an important question. If the feathers and all the other final details should already be present on the silver underlay prior to plating, then we may be looking at a gold piece rather than a vermiel (gold plate over silver) piece. The reason I say that is because at some point, probably when the repair was made to the enamel, it was buffed. In so doing most of the feathers were stripped off the backs of two of the eagles and off the breasts of the two opposite eagles. If those feather details had been part of the underlying silver, however, they would not be readily susceptible to stripping by buffing, even with a power buffer. Gold is soft enough to strip fairly easily, but silver is not. (I used to use a power buffer to strip the oxidation off my USAF silver filled insignia to get a nice polished silver look long before they went to chrome. I never went through the silver to the underlying base metal: silver is tough!) If the feathers were part of a silver underlay they should all still be there, but (now) in silver instead of gold. As you can see, however, that is not the case. I don't know if there are any jewelers out there or if anyone knows how these were made, but this has seemed very curious to me since I noticed it a couple years ago. The loss of the feathers suggests very strongly to me that either the feathers were added after plating, or this is a gold piece, the 900 mark on the suspension ring notwithstanding.
    Last edited by wingandprop; 05-01-2011 at 04:20 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: PLM markings

    I am not an expert on PLMs. I would not begin to answer some of your questions.
    As far as I know. Wagner was the ONLY maker to mark to mark the PLM.

    There have been several good discussions on the PLM over at the WAF forum by people
    Who actually own and study them. Here is a link that might help -----------------

    A 'Study of' the Pour le Merite series - Militaria Forums
    Live to ride -- Ride to live

    I was addicted to the "Hokey-Pokey" but I've turned
    myself around.

  5. #5

    Default Re: PLM markings

    Thanks Chopperman! (By the way, you are looking a bit thin there in your avatar. More mashed potatoes are called for at dinner.)

  6. #6

    Default Re: PLM markings

    It's my job, They are working me to the bone--
    Live to ride -- Ride to live

    I was addicted to the "Hokey-Pokey" but I've turned
    myself around.

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