I put some enlarged photographs of the area of the ring.
Enamel eagle area has been repaired in some areas.
is this your cross and do you have it to hand?
As you know these crosses as issued are quite rare (less than 800 issued examples)
but I do believe that there would have been a few cased examples that were liberated and now reside in collections and they don't often come on to the market.
I like the 'defects' that your cross shows.
The white enamel was hand laid and will always show a variation but for sure the tell tale signs that the forgers have yet to discover are all on your example.
The mecurial fire gilding is in excellent shape and this as far as I am aware has never been copied to same standard as an original cross.
It is my belief that for the first class cross there was only ever one die. The relief was struck out of a substantial piece of plate bronze. In the cental area of the white enamelled cross there were two raised parts that would later become the centre punch areas for drilling (after the enamel had been laid) and where the rings would rivet through.
(The attachment below is from an unfinished 2nd class cross but the procedure would have been the same for the 1st)
Another tiny point to note which may help collectors identify a good from bad cross are the wing and body detail:
Note looking from the front of the cross at the lower right breast you will notice a missing raised area that would form another feather that is always visible on the left hand side indicated by the arrows. This is evident on every original cross I have seen as it is on yours.
You point out that at some points the feather edging has over run and the edges do not meet the outer edge of the eagle silhouette ...again for me this is another indicator of a genuine award as most I have seen show this trait.
Same cross as I show above:
Below: A SPACE FILLER
Just look at the really flat precise detail of this reproduction cross:
So all in all it is my belief that yours is a good cross.
Thank you so much Saladin, with its excellent explanation, the images that teaches and the information it provides is very clear that it has all the characteristics of an original piece.
Also tell the piece is part of my collection.
I've been comparing the design of swastikas and you put as an example and mine are identical.