Original German post WW2 Mine Rescue Medal / 1957 pattern, IN VERY NICE CONDITION, PERFECT ORIGINAL RIBBON & PIN DEVICE, MAKER: ST&L (STEINHAUER & LUCK), VERY NICE EARLY EXAMPLE - RARE MEDAL
FEW FACTS ABOUT GERMAN 1957 PATTERN AWARDS:
In 1957 the West German government authorised replacement Iron Crosses with an Oak Leaf Cluster in place of the swastika, similar to the Iron Crosses of 1813, 1870, and 1914, which could be worn by World War II Iron Cross recipients. The 1957 law also authorised de-Nazified versions of most other World War II–era decorations (except those specifically associated with Nazi Party organizations, such as SS Long Service medals, or with the expansion of the German Reich, such as the medals for the annexation of Austria, the Sudetenland, and the Memel region). The main government contract to manufacture and supply these new de-nazified WW2 1957 official decorations went to the world famous German firm Steinhauer & Lueck, Luedenscheid Germany. Knights Crosses, Iron Crosses , Wound Badges, Tank Assault Badges etc were re-designed by Steinhauer & Lück - often with the oak-leaf spray replacing the swastika, with S&L having the sole patent rights to all WW2 1957 German decorations. S&L did not have the whole monopoly on medal making, other famous firms such as Deschler & Sohn, BH Maher and Juncker also manufactured these new German decorations. Lüdenscheid is situated between the cities Dortmund and Bonn. It was here that one of the youngest medal firms was founded in 1889 by August Steinhauer and Gustav Adolf Lück. The first production began in a cellar, the customer base continued to increase. A property was bought at 51 Hochstrasse which is still home for this famous company today. During WW2 Steinhauer & Lück produced medals and badges, like the famous Knights Cross and many other types of medals and badges. In 1957 this company was awarded the contract to produce all the newly re-designed legal WW2 1957 de-nazified decorations, plus the contract to manufacture all of Germany's official decorations including Germany's highest order the Bundesverdienstkreuz. Only a very limited number of original WW2 1957 medals are still produced, mainly Iron Crosses, German Cross Gold & Silver & Wound Badges and are considered 100% genuine by the German Government.
HISTORY OF THE AWARD:
Mine Rescue Medal - The official German designation for this award was “Grubenwehr-Ehrenzeichen,” sometimes translated as Mine Rescue Service Decoration. This medal was originally instituted in 1936. It was awarded to members of the Mine Rescue Service who performed outstanding rescue work, individuals who risked their lives to save others in the case of a mine disaster, and those with long service in the Mine Rescue Service. The front of the Mine Rescue Medal depicts the Bergbau organizational emblem, on which is superimposed a German national eagle and swastika. The reverse of the medal bears the inscription “Für Verdienste im Grubenwehrwesen” (For Services in Mine Rescue). This medal has a heavy silver plating which still covers the entire surface, although it shows handling wear and a deep, old patina. There is some thick buildup of patina in some recesses of the design. There are some scattered handling marks here and there on both faces of the medal as well as the rim. The original ribbon is missing, though the ribbon retaining ring remains. These medals were only issued in very limited numbers, making this a rare medal to find. This Mine Rescue Medal is a good, representative example. During the Third Reich, the various German trade unions were nationalized and consolidated. One of the trade associations that was not wholly incorporated into a larger organization was the German Miners Association (Bergbau). The National Bureau of Mines was created in 1936 to oversee the German mines tasked with extracting and distributing various raw materials. This National Bureau of Mines was the successor to many state and individual miners’ associations. The German miners service was steeped in tradition, with miners having their own formal regalia long before WWII. This tradition continued in the Third Reich, with the various Bergbau formal uniform items being among the most elaborate of all German uniforms from that time. In addition to these ceremonial uniforms and headgear, Bergbau personnel had specific belt buckles and various edged weapons bearing the crossed sword and mallet organizational Bergbau emblem. Bergbau items were manufactured in smaller quantities than items made for other, larger organizations, and are often difficult to find today.