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The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille of 1898

Article about: I thought a thread on the Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille [Red Cross Medal] of 1898 could be of interest. The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille was instituted on 1 Oct. 1898 by Wilhelm II, King of P

  1. #1

    Default The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille of 1898

    I thought a thread on the Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille [Red Cross Medal] of 1898 could be of interest.

    The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille was instituted on 1 Oct. 1898 by Wilhelm II, King of Prussia and Emperor of Germany. Its institution was suggested by his wife Queen Auguste Victoria, who, in her role as the royal protector of the Red Cross associations, saw the need for a decoration that could be specifically awarded for peacetime Red Cross work.

    The medal was in 3 classes:

    The First Class was a silver pinback cross in the shape of a Red Cross emblem, with the arms of the red-enamelled cross each ending in a Prussian royal crown.

    The Second Class was a round silver (later silver-plated) medal whose obverse showed the same cross-and-crowns device with the cross in red enamel. Between the arms of the cross were the letters W / R / A / V for Wilhelm Rex / Auguste Victoria. The reverse bore the inscription "FUER VERDIENSTE UM DAS ROTHE KREUZ" [= For merit in the interest of the Red Cross] with a decorative oak branch. The medal was worn on a ribbon in red, white and black. The national colors of the German Empire, this also combined the colors of Prussia (black and white) with those of the Red Cross (red and white).

    The Third Class was a bronze medal without enamel work; otherwise its design was identical to that of the Second Class. During World War I, the medal was manufactured in steel (starting ca. 1916) and then zinc/war metal (starting ca. 1917).

    Now for the examples of the medal I have in my collection. So far, I have focused on the humble III. Class.

    (Note that a few of the following items - namely those that combine the Rote-Kreuz-Medaille with a 1914/18 Honor Cross - also appear on my ongoing Ehrenkreuz thread in the 3rd Reich awards section, see: http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/orders...enkreuz-72201/ )
    Last edited by HPL2008; 03-09-2013 at 10:21 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille of 1898

    With a high percentage of female recipients, the majority of the mounted Prussian Red Cross Medals found on the market are mounted as Damenschleifen [ladies' bows]. Here is a rather nice bronze example:

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    The mounting plate/pin assembly is of quite substantial construction:

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  3. #3

    Default Re: The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille of 1898

    A wartime example made of steel. Note the simplified suspension used on the wartime "replacement metal" versions, with the ring replaced by a simple eyelet:

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    Last edited by HPL2008; 03-09-2013 at 07:00 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille of 1898

    Two even later examples. A dull-grey zinc medal:

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    A medal made of a "war metal" alloy with a slightly brownish appearance; its ribbon has faded to an orange hue:

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  5. #5

    Default Re: The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille of 1898

    Here we have two miniatures for civilian wear. One is mounted on a button for wear on the lapel of a civilian suit, the other is a miniature ladies' bow. The former was made by the well-known company of Friedrich Sedlatzek of Berlin.

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    Note the care taken on the Sedlatzek piece; the ribbon bow has been affixed to the ring on the metal lapel button with a few stitches:

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    Last edited by HPL2008; 03-09-2013 at 07:07 PM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille of 1898

    As the material for the full-sized medals changed, so did that used for the miniatures. In strong contrast to the gold-plated minis seen above, here is one made of grey "war metal". Despite the unglamorous material, it is still nicely detailed and well made:

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    A bronze miniature medal:

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    Here is a "familiy photo" of the above miniatures, with some scale reference to illustrate the quaility of their details in relation to their tiny size:

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  7. #7

    Default Re: The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille of 1898

    A lapel bow for civilian wear, clearly showing its age with its rumpled appearance, frayed edges and faded colors:

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    A ribbon bar and a ribbon roll [Bandrolle] for civilian wear, the latter on a nice mother-of-pearl button:

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  8. #8

    Default Re: The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille of 1898

    Apparently worn by a Red Cross nurse serving in the Great War, here we have a double bow combining the Rote-Kreuz-Medaille III. Klasse in its steel version with the 1914/18 Ehrenkreuz für Kriegsteilnehmer, complete with a matching lapel bow:

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    Another double bow, this one combines the ribbon of the Prussian Red Cross Medal with one for a decoration from the kingdom of Saxony [Königreich Sachsen], the Kreuz für freiwillige Wohlfahrtspflege [Cross for Volunteer Welfare Care]:

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  9. #9

    Default Re: The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille of 1898

    Two more lapel bows combining the Red Cross medal with the 1914/18 Ehrenkreuz, on the left, in its Kriegsteilnehmer [participants in the war] class and, on the right its Hinterbliebenen [next-of-kin] class:

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    The latter combination is also seen in this miniature ribbon bar. Made of 15 mm wide ribbons, it shows its age with some patina and fading:

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  10. #10

    Default Re: The Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille of 1898

    Which brings us to the final piece for now.

    I am very pleased with this one, both for its neatness and because this is a rather rarely found mounting style: It's a tiny five-place miniature ribbon bar for wear on the lapel of a civilian suit, made from the 8 mm ribbons more commonly used for ribbon bows/rolls.

    Tightly sewn down over a one-piece metal frame/button, the ribbons represent the 1914 EK II, the 1914/18 Ehrenkreuz, the Prussian Kreuz für Kriegshilfsdienst, one of the various Prussian or German long-service decorations sharing this blue ribbon and the Prussian Rote-Kreuz-Medaille III. Klasse:

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