Volume 33, Issue 2                                                  The TMCA News                                                                   Page 3








This month we’ll look at a very common, and widely reproduced medal. The German Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class.

Basically all Iron Crosses since 1813 were made from three main pieces that were soldered together. An outer silver frame, made of two silver halves, was basically sandwiched around an “Iron” Cross core. The two halves were then soldered together, holding the core in place. The center was usually made of actual Iron, thus the nick name “Iron Cross” and it is magnetic. There are some center cores that are made of brass and will not stick to a magnet. These were said to be  made for the German Navy, since Iron often rusted very easily in the salty sea air. Note: There is no confirmation for this reason in using brass, it’s just a collector theory, but one that is widely accepted.

There are many ways to tell a real, verses  fake Iron Cross, but we’ll just look at the most common flaw in most fakes, the “Seam”. Basically it’s like this, if you can not see a seam a long the edge where the two halves are soldered together, it’s probably a “Fake”. Most, (but not all) fakes are made from just one stamped piece of metal. These are the ones we are covering in this article. Please note; some original crosses were so well made that the edges have been highly polished the seams may be very hard to detect. In this case, try a second method to tell if it’s made from three pieces. There should be a gap between the frame and the center Iron core. It may even be possible to slide a piece of thin paper under this gap, so give it a try. Some center cores may even move around in the frame itself, this is a good sign. Next, if you can see black paint running up onto the frame, that means one of two things, it’s fake, or it’s been repainted at some time. On originals, the black cores were usually painted before they were assembled and the paint never got on the silver frame. On a one piece fake, the black was painted last. I have received Crosses from veterans that were repainted at one time or another, so do take that into some consideration. Paint does wear off, and a solider could have easily touched it up a bit, just to make it look better. Remember, if it’s not made of three pieces, then it’s usually considered to be a fake, BUT !… if it is made of three pieces, that does not mean it’s “real”. Fakes of all quality are being made these days. For years, Iron Cross 2nd class fakes have been made from just one piece, it is actually rare to find an older three piece reproduction of the Second Class. In the past, it was cost prohibitive to make them accurately , but today with original 2nd Classes bringing as high as $75-$100, the forgers are investing more into reproducing them correctly. A cased Iron Cross 1st class today, will bring $450-600, so the incentive is defiantly now in place for the forgers to make them as accurate as possible.  Knights Crosses are made the same way, but due to their long past history of high values, good reproductions have always been made in a three piece format.

  - Original - Solder seam along the edge.

 - Fake -      No Solder seam on the edge.

  - Original -   Paper may slip under the edge and no black paint on the Silver frame.

  - Fake -   No gap under the frame, and  black paint running up onto the Silver frame.

  Note:   This is an un-finished cross and you can clearly see the two sides of the frame before any solder has been added.





    Iron Cross