Original German / Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt und - Sonderhausen WW1 Medal for Merit in War (Medaille für Verdienst im Kriege), ON GENUINE RIBBON, IN GOOD WORN CONDITION, FINE RARE LATE WAR ZINC EXAMPLE, A REALLY GOOD PIECE
HISTORY OF THE AWARD:
Schwarzburg-Rudolftadt und - Sonderhausen Medal for Merit in War (Medaille für Verdienst im Kriege), 1914 - Circular silver medal with loop for ribbon suspension; the face inscribed ‘VERDIENST IM KRIEGE’ (for Merit in War) within a circular laurel wreath; the reverse with the crowned cipher of Prince Günther, dated ‘1914’ below; diameter 39.55mm (1.557 inches). The medal was instituted by Prince Günther on 21 August 1914, based on the medals created by Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt on 21 October 1870 and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen on 14 April 1871 for the war of 1870-1871 with France (the two Schwarzburg principalities having been united under Prince Günter on 28 March 1909 on the death of Prince Karl Günther of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen). Initially it as awarded, like the earlier medals, to military of the rank of Feldwebel (sergeant) and below for merit in the face of the enemy (‘für Verdienste vor dem Feinde für Militärpersonen vom Feldwebel abwärts’) and later also to such military ‘who did not have the opportunity to face the enemy but who through especially loyal and scrupulous performance of duty, in particular in the territory adjoining the war zone and the occupying forces, displayed merit in war’ (‘Für solche Militärpersonen, die zwar nicht Gelegenheit gefunden haben, sich vor dem Feinde auszuzeichnen, die sich aber durch besonders treue und gewissenhafte Pflichterfüllung, insbesondere bei den Etappen und den Besatzungstruppen, ein Verdienst im Kriege erworben haben’). For merit in the face of the enemy, as in this example, the medal was worn on the ribbon of the Schwarzburg Princely Honour Cross (Fürstlich Schwarzburgisches Ehrenkreuz), that is, gold with three equal blue stripes (two edge stripes and one central), otherwise on a similar ribbon but with a wider blue central stripe. The medal was initially stuck in silver but as the war progressed and material shortages impinged, silvered bronze and later silvered zinc were substituted. The medal was very often worn with the distinctive reverse outwards. The combined population of the principalities was less than 200,000 and the medal is, as a consequence, not often seen, especially in silver.