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Old 02-05-2019, 05:24 PM   #16
David Christian
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Patrick: These type of (cross-hatched) crosses are very prevalent in old literature where examples of authentic crosses are shown. I will post examples. The JHW cross that you mentioned above is owned by Ericn who is a contributor to several threads of WAF. It is discussed on this thread: http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=212705 It is the only known example of a cross with both JHW markings and cross-hatching on the eagles' breasts and neck. One other difference between it and the plain cross-hatched PlM's is that it is polished. That is, the eagles have been polished down slightly on their legs, breasts and heads, flattening them slightly from the more rounded eagles on the plain cross-hatched crosses. The polishing makes the eagles appear flatter and smooths out leg striations as well as smoothing out head and breast features. The features become less distinct. If you inspect the eagles on Ericn's PlM you will see that they have been polished. The breast cross-hatching has been polished down and is less prevalent than on unpolished pieces. I will continue with my observations and some pictures shortly.
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Old 02-05-2019, 11:18 PM   #17
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Here are examples of cross-hatched eagles on Wagner crosses presented as authentic PlM's in literature. the first is an image that David Edkins sent me when I was corresponding with him several years ago about PlM's with oak leaves and the 3-striped ribbon. The second is an example that 20th Century Fox used in production of their movie The Blue Max Please forgive the dot matrix black and white photography. It was taken from plate 17 of Manfred Von Richtofen's autobiography The Red BaronEnglish version. The cross-hatching is visible. The third and forth example are the same cross from David Edkins' book The Prussian Orden Pour le Merite - History of the Blue Max page 36.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:01 AM   #18
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These 3 photos are from Edkins' book. The cross-hatchings are evident on the example from page 40 with oak leaves in pictures one and two. Picture three is of page 35 of the book, where he describes coming across several crosses with the cross-hatching on the eagles' breasts and considers perhaps that it is a Wagner characteristic. I am showing these examples to indicate that the cross-hatched PlM's were common and were worn interchangeably with awarded pieces. There is evidence here to consider that perhaps the cross-hatching was significant in a different way than has been suggested previously.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:23 AM   #19
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Wagner pieces were awarded to PlM recipients. The wartime awarded Wagners were without cross-hatching on the eagles and that the eagles were polished as discussed previously. We know that unfinished PlM's came out of the dies at the Wagner factory and went to other firms for finishing and awarding or retailing to recipients.
Two of the finishing firms that we know about were Friedlander and J.H. Werner. There is evidence that the crosses sent out from the Wagner firm to finishers were unmarked, although they were of silver-gilt construction and 938 parts silver as prescribed by the Kaiser’s government. The evidence for this practice is that Friedlander marked some of their blank pieces with FR and 938, while some were only marked with FR. Some Friedlander crosses are marked on the lower inside legs of the cross similar to Wagner pieces, while some were marked on the suspension ring leaving the cross leg unmarked. We know that most if not all of the Friedlander finished crosses were actually awarded and not retailed.
The only existing example of a confirmed J.H. Werner finished cross is marked with slight cross- hatchings on the eagles’ breasts and JHW, with no 938. That cross is the one in the Wagner-style PLM discussion threads.
Since no other initial-marked JHW crosses have come to light, one theory is that Ericn's cross may have been the first that JHW finished or it may have been for a high-profile recipient. Werner may have decided to finish subsequent crosses with more prominent cross-hatching as its “trademark” and with no initials. Examples show that except for this one cross, it was not Werner's practice to mark for maker or silver content. This is logical because the cross-hatching provides instant recognition of Werner's work while the cross is being worn. It also may explain the lack of any other markings on these crosses.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:38 AM   #20
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There is evidence for another explanation. Before Steven Previtera came out with his book, no one had really looked at how PlM's were made and finished. Perhaps the belief that Werner cross-hatched the eagles as the firm’s “trademark” on retail pieces is backwards. The example on page 304 of Steven Previtera's book Prussian Blue looks as if the cross-hatching on this PLM was started on the reverse (on the upper-left eagle) of the example but never finished. Could the Wagner firm have put cross hatches on retail pieces that were sent to Werner to identify them as such? Could this one have been intended as a Werner or a retailed piece and then been “rescued” and made into an awarded piece before the cross-hatchings were finished? We may never know, but I would suggest that this piece is evidence that Wagner may have put the cross-hatchings on the eagles before sending them out to Werner or other retailers. The PLM pictured in Prussian Blue is an awarded piece and the eagles have been polished to give them the flattened appearance. Ericn’s JHW-marked piece may have been cross-hatched and polished before it left the Wagner firm if we consider the awarded piece in Steven P’s book as an example of what may have been done in common practice. Ericn’s JHW marked piece may have actually been awarded to someone or “slipped through” to the Werner firm after being mistakenly polished, accounting for both the cross-hatching and the polishing. Remember that David Edkins ran across several cross-hatched Wagners in his research and considered cross-hatching to be a possible Wagner characteristic.
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Old 02-06-2019, 01:28 AM   #21
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Please notice how the eagles in the above pictures are polished on both the obverse and the reverse. I believe that this is one of the differences between the retailed pieces and the awarded pieces, with the retailed pieces receiving cross-hatching and no polishing or flattening of the eagles.
I guess that the bottom line is that cross-hatched PLM's are common in old literature. They were worn interchangeably with the awarded PLM’s and were made in the same dies. Now that more information has come to light, we have a possible explanation. I believe also that purchased pieces may have been worn more commonly in combat or for everyday use, while the awarded pieces were put away by some recipients. I am kind of surprised that Steven Privetera did not encounter more of them in his research, but he did make a point of looking at awarded pieces. I don't like the retail pieces being called "wearer's copies", which implies fakes. I would rather call them Wagner private purchases, retail pieces, or retail editions. They are 100% legit wartime Wagners in my humble opinion, no matter who finished them. I believe that when the Wagner dies were shut down shortly after the Kaiser's government fell, production stopped on both awarded and retailed pieces. Surplus pieces were sold to recipients post-war as most people believe. Other decorations made by Wagner such as the Golden Military Merit Cross and the Order of the House of Hohenzollern did not go on long after the war.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:02 AM   #22
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Interesting finding of a PLM with eagles displaying both characteristics Dave. How would that occur on less they were both in production at the same time? Or if you vigorously polished a cross hatch eagle would the metal smooth out to appear as scales?
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:52 AM   #23
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Good point, Don. The only 2 crosses that have come to light that have both characteristics (cross-hatched eagles' breasts and polishing of the eagle) are the J. H. Werner example seen for sale on eMedals here https://www.emedals.com/europe/germa...-werner-g16656 and the one on page 304 of Prussian Blue seen above. Both of thes examples show what happens when the polishing was done over the cross-hatching. The cross hatching, leg striations and head features become fainter and the eagle bodies become somewhat flattened, but the cross-hatchings are still visible as such. They do not become more breast feather-like. These 2 pieces are evidence that the awarded pieces and the retail pieces were produced at the same time and that the cross-hatchings, therefore, may have been put on at the Wagner factory before being sent out to retailers such as Werner. Finishers such as Friedlander got uncross-hatched eagles because their pieces were to be awarded after finishing.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:17 AM   #24
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Don: Another point that has occurred to me is that several of the Wagner crosses that I have seen with oak leaves over the years have been with cross-hatched eagles. A recipient of the second award of the PlM may have been awarded only the oak leaves themselves and then purchased a retail piece and a 3 striped ribbon to keep his original awarded piece in good condition. This is further evidence that the cross-hatching was done to show that it was a retail piece and not an awarded piece. Custom ribbon loops were popular for second pieces. Makers such as Godet and Rothe were also selling through vendors, the Rothe ones being marked with the vendor's mark on redone suspension loops. If a recipient wanted a showier or more finished piece than a Wagner with more enamel and hand-chased letters and crowns, those types could be chosen, not only during wartime, but through the early post-war years also.
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Old 02-06-2019, 04:40 PM   #25
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Hopefully more experienced members will jump in here.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:36 PM   #26
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I am hoping for some discussion also. In the mean time here is a comparison between a Wagner retail piece and a Rothe and Neffe with oak leaves, both available at retail for recipients from German vendors. There is still debate about whether the Rothe was available pre-1918. It has a custom ribbon loop and reconfigured suspension which may have been done by German vendors/finishers. It is marked WB on the suspension loop. Note the wider arms and chased crown and lettering, similar to the Godet design.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:59 PM   #27
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Very attractive PlMs, and the Oaks have a very interesting mounting ring.

Can you post reverse of each?
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:45 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Christian View Post
I am hoping for some discussion also. In the mean time here is a comparison between a Wagner retail piece and a Rothe and Neffe with oak leaves, both available at retail for recipients from German vendors. There is still debate about whether the Rothe was available pre-1918. It has a custom ribbon loop and reconfigured suspension which may have been done by German vendors/finishers. It is marked WB on the suspension loop. Note the wider arms and chased crown and lettering, similar to the Godet design.
See this thread for another one: http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...d.php?t=991436
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:36 PM   #29
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It wasn't my intent to discuss the Rothe PlM on this Wagner thread, but here are the reverses of each of the above as well as the ribbons, with the Wagner first. The Rothe has damage to the bottom arm, possibly from dropping, and yes, a custom ribbon loop with the s-stripe ribbon.
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:41 PM   #30
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I meant to say 3-stripe ribbon on the Rothe above. We can go wherever you want to go in this discussion. The Rothe has obvious wear from use. The presentation case is also well worn.
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