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2-piece vaulted 1914 EK1?
Old 10-03-2017, 11:24 AM   #1
Bill M
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Default 2-piece vaulted 1914 EK1?

Here's a severely defaced iron cross first class from 1914.
It is non-magnetic , which is not the problem I have with it.
Actually I'm having no problem as to its authenticity but as to its creation.
It appears to be of two piece construction.
It looks to me as if the former details of the cross were formed on the front of the silver backing. If you look where the crown was, it is heavily indented but there is beading left the upper right and left hand top curvatures of the crown. On the very same spot behind, these indentations seem to match. There is also black paint around the edges where the vandal could not reach with whatever implement he used to destroy the front of this cross.
I've never heard of this construction method, am I missing something? This is not my first rodeo.
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Last edited by Bill M; 10-03-2017 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:33 AM   #2
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My pictures are coming out sideways, that's the crown
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:35 AM   #3
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Here's the reverse of the crown
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:39 AM   #4
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Has a full shot of the poor victim
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:43 AM   #5
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Sorry, don't know why these are coming out sideways, actually this one is upside down
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Old 10-03-2017, 07:00 PM   #6
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I also thought of the core being of a nonferrous but malleable metal, but there doesn't appear to be any demarcation point between whatever that metal might be and the silver backing.
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Old 10-03-2017, 07:14 PM   #7
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I've never heard of one being made the way you are describing.
My guess would be as you posted, the core being a thin malleable material.

Sideways picture might be from trying to upload pictures from a phone.
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:54 PM   #8
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Cross is a three piece. You can see the solder seam on the side.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:00 PM   #9
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I think Bill sees the seam. I think what he is saying is that he thinks the core
details were not on an inner core but part of the rear backing plate. So
only two pieces ---front frame, rear frame with details. ( no inner core)
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Old 10-04-2017, 05:15 AM   #10
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More likely a sheet metal core imo.
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Old 10-04-2017, 05:28 AM   #11
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That was my thought as well.
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Old 10-04-2017, 07:37 AM   #12
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I think I do see an area where the one metal gives way to the other. I found my most powerful loupe and had a look. There is a hole below where the cross on the crown would've been that may be an actual crack.

The only experience that I have had with the core of a first class cross was with a 1940s version where the iron was stuck to some sort of copper foil in the shape of the details of the obverse.This was another dilapidated cross in quite miserable shape and it was rusted all the way through. I still have that copper part that fell off the backing with traces of Iron still on it.
I'll photograph it later.

I don't think I've ever seen a picture of a 1914 EK1 being put together. And I don't know that I've ever seen a picture of 1914 first class core on its own, even in a cross-section diagram-type photo like we've all seen for the second class construction.
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:38 PM   #13
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I have been avoiding this posting for 2 days now because I don't be sounding like a know it all. Over the past 40 years I have had a number of occupations including the making of jewelry, a museum tech...etc. Please forgive me if I come across as a pompous ass, or as speaking in redundancies.
When I was a kid in England there was so much German militaria in the junk shops it would make you sick if you saw it; and the prices (till the late 60's)! At some point I bought a bunch of EKs that were in multiple pieces. Some had never been assembled and others had been broken apart. Years later I saw a display, at a militaria fair, where the person basically showed how EKs were made and this prompted me to dig out my bits and pieces of EKs. Then they sat out for years until I got into making jewelry and then began playing at assembling EKs. You learn a lot trying to repair or assemble them and learn what blunders in constructing or reconstructing look like.
What I see in the pictures above is nothing out of the ordinary (that's an opinion based on what I can see in the fotos) except an EK that has been abused by someone who didn't know, or care what they were doing. I suspect that either the core had been broken, or someone thought they would sell the silver [probably not because someone tried to "fix" (or some other word which begins with /f/) the frame], or someone wanted a silver EK medallion to wear. Worst case scenario would be that someone thought it would be easy to slip in a 3rd Reich core and make some money.
I believe at one point there had been enough space, between the frame halves, to put in a standard EK1 iron core. In addition to the the standard core a lot of variations in core size and thickness exist (not exactly a news flash). I don't remember thicknesses, sorry. Some manufactures appear to have used 2 rather thin cores, placed back to back, in their EK2s. This is economical during production and also better use of vital war materials. They would use 1/2 as much iron in an EK1, but still a lot more silver than an EK2. All those pennies saved on iron would add up. If there is not enough space for a standard EK1 core a thinner one, or one of the methods core thinning procedures mentioned above, would fit. I cannot say for sure because I'm going by the space I see under the ridges of the upper frame which haven't bee crushed or twisted.
The cross has beautiful workmanship, but has been abused something fierce. Looking at the top plate, I see pry marks and then a rather clumsy attempt to push the ridged rim back into place. The most delicate tool used was something just short of a ballpeen hammer. The pin may have been repaired as the joining of the pin to the back of the body as is not the same quality as the rest of the workmanship. Does the blob of solder, that looks like a crown on the inside of the cross, positionally directly correspond to one of the pin assembly joints on the outside of the cross?
The solder spot inside the cross does resemble a crown, but at a closer look, it is either pry marks or an attempt to make a hollow for the solder to sit in to make an attachment point for the core.. The jeweler may have put a bit of solder, in a divot he made for that purpose, to attach the core to the back of the frame so it doesn't wiggle and slide out of place when the cross is worn.The divot would mean the core sat more tightly against the back, and / or thinned the back plate which would mean less heating back plate would be required when melting the solder from the outside of the cross. Too much heat could damage the lacquer on the core, or cause other solder points to come undone. If it corresponds with the pin's main attachment point, there's a remote chance the blob of solder inside could be the result of trying to repair severe damage to the pin's point of attachment.
So. after all that, in my opinion it was a nicely made,standard 3 piece EK, that for reasons unknown, someone messed up when they tore it apart.
You can now see why I have been named, "To Make a Short Story Long".
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Old 10-08-2017, 07:34 PM   #14
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Thank you for the reply Stephen,
That was really a nice read, it is still a beautiful cross in many respects I just wish I could do something for it.
Maybe I’ll cut out a piece of black velvet to cover the mess, just try to tuck it in under the beading...
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