Original German mounted medal group: Kyffhauser League Commemorative Medal, War Honour Cross & Hungarian War Commemorative Medal - WW1, VERY NICE CONDITION, GENUINE RIBBONS, WORKING PIN DEVICE, A REALLY NICE MOUNTED MEDAL GROUP, THE WAR HONOUR CROSS IS A VERY RARE AWARD
HISTORY OF THE AWARDS:
Kyffhauser 1914-1918 War Veterans Commemorative Medal (Kyffhäuserbund Kriegsdenkmedaille 1914-18 - Oval gilt bronze medal with eyelet for ribbon suspension; the face with a tattered standard, lightning bolts below, dated ‘1914 1918’ to the left above a sprig of laurel, inscribed above ‘Blank die Wehr, Rein die Her’ (Shining Arms, Pure Honour), signed ‘HOSAEUS’ at the base, all within a stylised laurel border; the reverse inscribed ‘Aufrecht u stoß gehen wir aus dem Kampfe den wir über vier Jahre gegen eine Welt von Feinden bestanden, Hindenburg’ (Upright and battered we came through four years of struggle withstanding a world of enemies, Hindenburg), a small five-pointed star above and below, circumscribed above ‘für Treue im Weltkriege’ (for Loyalty in the World War), circumscribed below ‘Der Kyffhäuserbund’, a sprig of laurel to either side; on original court mounting. The medal was instituted in 1922 and, until the issue of the Cross of Honour of the World War (Ehrenkreuz des Weltkrieges), better known as the ‘Hindenburg Cross’ in 1934, was often the only medal of the German soldiers of World War I. The Kyffhäuserbund der Deutschen Landeskriegerverbände veterans’ organisation was set up some years before World War I and Field Marshal Paul von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg was its President of Honour during the 1920s. After his death in 1934, the medal was amended by the National Socialist government with the addition of a cross gammée (Hackenkreuz or swastika). After WWI, a variety of German veteran organization sprang up across the country, keeping with a long-established tradition. One of these was the "Kyffhäuserbund" (Kyffhäuser Veteran's Organization) who issued a brass type oval medal to commemorate service in WWI. For many veterans, this was the only WWI service medal that was worn until the German Cross of Honor ("Ehrenkreuz") was officially established in 1934. After the Cross of Honor was authorized, many veterans continued wearing their unofficial medals so it is not uncommon to find this with an official medal grouping - usually worn on civilian clothes, band uniforms, etc. Obviously, if they were wearing their medals in official uniform, the medal wasn't allowed. It's interesting to note that many - if not most - of the organizations allowed veterans of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War to join - normally as honorary members - and allowed them to wear the organization's medals. On 2 May 1931, possibly the last Franco-Prussian War veteran joined. The main trivia point being that a Kyffhäuserbund Medal with a Franco-Prussian War Medal and 1897 Centenary Medal is unusual but certainly not impossible and does not indicate service in WWI. This very low cost medal is fairly well documented and illustrated on the internet. What generally isn't illustrated is the numerous devices or attachments that might be found with it but not necessarily. Since the veteran had to purchase the medal (often included in the initial membership fee), finances sometimes prevented buying every (or any!) device authorized. Each organization had a list of devices available and the veteran could make his own selection from that list, at an additional cost. The most common device found is the crossed swords (which indicate a combatant). Absence of the crossed swords does not necessarily mean that the recipient was a non-combatant, just that they are not on the ribbon. The medal is sometimes found with a laurel wreath supporting a diagonal sword (which usually indicates a naval combatant recipient - but it was the buyers decision). Other attachments are the various battle bars which closely resemble those found on the Franco-Prussian War Medal. Probably the most common is one that has "PARIS" (probably followed at a distant second by "YPRES") in black letters on the bar which is roughly the size of the ribbon width to almost doubled the size (depending on manufacturer). Other battle bars are available and have almost every German battle listed. The most bars I've seen attached to one medal was 7 but this one appeared to be a "made-up" grouping of bars. The rarest bars would possibly be ones for Africa (no originals are currently known). I've never seen a "country" bar - only battle associated. All devices and attachments are generally made of a similar metal as the medal but come in a wide variety of sizes and styles (depending on the manufacturer). The impressed names on the bars are usually filled in with black enamel. Most devices use a double prong back attachment although one series of the battle bars are the "slide-on" type and are large enough for a double-wrap ribbon.
War Honour Cross (Kriegsehrenkreuz) was instituted in one class only in 1925 by the Munich-based Registered Non-commercial Association “Honorary Union of German World War Participants” (Ehrenbund deutscher Weltkriegsteilnehmer E.V. [eingetragener Verein]), one of numerous post-WWI veterans’ organizations that mushroomed amidst the chaos of the Weimar Republic. The Union itself was founded on February 13, 1925 in Munich (Bavaria) and its headquarters was located at Ungererstraße 30, München 23. The very idea of creation of yet another new decoration for German veterans came as a reaction to the disassociation of the former Emperor Wilhelm II residing in Doorn in exile from the still existing and widely popular German Honorary Commemorative Badge of the World War (Deutsche Ehrendenkmünze des Weltkrieges). Thus, according to founders of the newly introduced decoration, it should have taken position of the main, but still unofficial, distinctive badge of the German Great War veterans. However, going forward, it should be admitted that “mission” of Kriegsehrenkreuz had failed. Decoration together with award certificate was issued by the so-called “Department of Grandmaster of the War Honour Cross” (Großmeisteramt des Kriegsehrenkreuzes). Those who aspired to mount one more “award” to their medal bar had to join the Honorary Union first, submit written application for the Cross and provide documented proof of military service during the Great War. Front-fighters (Frontkämpfer) were eligible for decoration with War Honour Cross with Swords (“Kriegsehrenkreuz mit Schwertern”), while those who had served in rear areas, in homeland or with auxiliary services (Kriegsteilhehmer) were given ordinary War Honour Cross, i.e. without swords. Like all the other unofficial badges issued during the Weimar era, Kriegsehrenkreuz had to be privately purchased by veterans who covered badge, ribbon and certificate production expenses. Kriegsehrenkreuz had a shape of an equilateral Maltese cross with pebbled surface and raised polished borders. Circular medallion with raised rim was placed in the centre of the cross. It was encircled with round oath wreath which fragments were visible between arms of the cross. Obverse of medallion bore image of an Imperial eagle with spread wings topped with a crown. Miniature black-, white- and red-enameled shield was superimposed on the breast of a bird of prey. Left arm of the cross bore the year the Great War started, i.e. “1914”, while the right one showed the date it ended, i.e. “1918”. Reverse of medallion bore name of the issuing authority executed in five horizontal lines in capital letters: “Ehrenbund deutsch. Weltkriegsteilnehmer – E.V. –”. Combat emblem superimposed on the upper part of the cross that consisted of two crossed swords pointing upwards and tied with threefold ribbon at the centre was the distinctive feature of the decoration for front-fighters, officially named “Kriegsehrenkreuz mit Schwertern” (“War Honour Cross with Swords”). Kriegsehrenkreuz measured 41,7x41,7 mm, while dimensions of crossed swords were 25x1,2 mm. War Honour Cross for Front-Fighters weighed 14 g, and version for non-combatants weighed slightly less – 13,5 g. War Honour Cross was manufactured of bronze with application of black, white and red enamel. It was worn on the left side of the breast suspended from a 30 mm wide silk ribbon representing two vertical rows made of black, white and red thin stripes, i.e. colours of German Imperial flag, placed symmetrically at edges. Centre of the ribbon was made of short alternate black and white horizontal stripes representing Prussian flag. According to a Decree published on November 14, 1935 (Verordnung zur Ausführung des Gesetzes über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen vom 14.November 1935) that put into effect a Supplement to the Law regarding state awards of April 07, 1933, wearing of Kriegsehrenkreuz was prohibited.
Hungarian Commemorative Medal of the World War - Awarded "with helmet and swords" to soldiers and other combattants or "without helmet and swords" to all other war participants or to the nearest relative of a soldier. This medal was instituted on 26 May 1929 by the Regent, Admiral Horthy. The obverse shows the weapon shield of Hungary surmounted by a crown and, if so awarded, with swords underneath the shield. The reverse bears the text "PRO DEO ET PATRIA / 1914-1918" (for God and Fatherland 1914-1918) and, if so awarded, with a WWI helmet over the dates. In case of the award "without helmet and swords", the ribbon is white with green-red-white side stripes.