Plaques and Medals of World War I
We have recently acquired a group of large cast German WW1 medals
There were three major firms that struck “Gedenktalers” during the war: Ludwig Christian Lauer (Nuremberg), B. H. Mayer (Pforzheim), and Robert Ball Nachfolger (Berlin); this firm was owned by Hugo Grunthal, who also issued medals in his own name (Hugo was the father of Henry Grunthal, later a central figure in the American numismatic community). These were commemorative medals, about 33.5 mm., usually silver, in medium relief, thus suggestive of the nineteenth century taler coins issued by all the German States. Most of these are cataloged in Georg Zetzmann, Deutsche Silbermedaillen des I. Weltkriegs (2002).
Many of these medals were also issued in much rarer cast versions, generally 4-inches or so, in bronze and/or iron. Often, the iron ones were blackened – “Berlin Iron”.
25-35 years ago, we bought and sold these regularly, but the supply has lessened considerably and demand for large artistic pieces has grown. Due to the increased price point, auction appearances are now normal in the coin trade, but assuredly these pieces are much scarcer. Karl Goetz’s cast medals are common in comparison (because he was an astute businessman and moved more product than his contemporaries in medallic art).
Iron examples can rust, but most of those seen are quite nice. (Most of ours are PERFECT.) Bronze examples of the same medal may or may not have a premium over their ferrous brethren.
Battle of Dixmuiden by P. Leibküchler, issued by Lauer. Obverse: unidentified soldier; reverse: soldiers with apocalyptic skeletons riding above, cf. Zetzmann 4049. Cast iron, grey finish, 103 mm., edge marked DS7-97, EF, $295.
Battle of Bois-le-Prźtre (Priesterwald), 1914-1915, notorious trench warfare engagement in which poison gas was used, models for a medal for the French 128th Infantry Division ‘Les Loups’ by S. E. Vernier, cast bronze, two pieces, each 110 mm plus (filled) loop, $325 the pair.
Capture of Belgrade by Martin Götze. Obverse: busts of August von Mackensens, and earlier conquerors Gideon Ernst von Laudons, Max Emanuel of Bavaria and Eugene of Savoy; reverse: view of the fortress city of Belgrad. Cast iron, grey patina, 106 mm. marvelous portrait medal! $395.
General von Beseler, Battle of Nowogeorgiewsk. Obverse: bust right; reverse nude male brandishing fulmens. Cast bronze, dark patina, 103 mm., small scuff above head and some friction on nude male, else choice, $329.
Otto von Bismarck, 100th anniversary of birth, by Paul Sturm, issued by Grunthal. Obverse: Bismarck, right; reverse: Atlas bearing German on his shoulders. Cast iron, blackened, 112 mm., perfect condition, $450. Cast bronze, very dark patina, perfect condition, $495. We also have this as a struck silver medal, Zeitzmann not, 34 mm., EF, small rim bruise, $175.
Otto von Bismarck, by Paul Sturm, issued by Ball. Obverse: Bismarck on horseback; reverse Frederick I, Elector of Brandenburg. Cast bronze, very dark brown patina, 117 mm., perfect condition, $349.
General von Falkenhayn by F. Eue, issued by Ball. Obverse: General facing forward; reverse: eagle on rock, cf. Zetzmann 2144. Cast iron, blackened, 109 mm., perfect condition, $295.
General von Kluck, by A. Galamabos, issued by Ball. Obverse: General ¾ right; reverse: horseman in armor, left, cf. Zetzmann 4106. Cast bronze, dark brown patina, 107 mm., perfect condition, $295.
Unidentified general, by Hans Guradze, issued by Ball. Obverse: general standing beside horse; reverse: knight on horseback advancing forward. Cast iron, blackened, 103 mm., perfect condition, apparently very rare, $349.
Rassemblement (the Muster), cast bronze uniface plaquette by the foundry F. Claessens, Paris, small screw mount on back, 100 x 100 mm., $250.
Count Nikolaus zu Dohna-Schlodien, Commander of the Merchant Raider Möwe. Obverse: bust right; reverse: winged ship. Cast bronze, 83 mm. $350.
Verdun, by Martin Götze. Obverse: Goddess of War hovering over Verdun with sword and blazing torch; reverse: nine line inscription signed Petzols, Frankenhuis 1075; BDM VII, 386. Cast iron, grey patina, 106 mm., EF, $349.
Battle of Skagerrak (Jutland), by Hans Lindl. Obverse: German eagle attacks British bulldog; reverse: skeleton trampling on men in lifeboat. BDM VII, 558. Cast bronze, 73 mm., $495.
Following its defeat in 1918, Germany underwent a revolution that replaced the imperial government with the Weimar Republic. In celebration of this, the Frankfurter Kunstverein (Frankfurt Art League) held a competition for a medal on the theme of Revolution. The winner was Karl Roth, whose design was issued as a cast medal; we offer here an unsigned (and possibly unique) entry by another artist in the competition, featuring a nude man rising up between a torch (symbol of enlightenment) and a fasces (symbol of strength and just then being taken up by the Italian nationalistic movement). Cast bronze, loop attached at back, 150 mm, $395.
Zinc plaquette of the Hungarian 41st Defense Infantry Headquarters (41. Honvéd Gyaloghadosztály-Parancsnokság), 1914-1918. Image of soldier wielding a bayonet against man with a knife. Zinc, 80 x 58 mm., $195.
A fascinating link between World War I Italy and the Fascist era. In 1924, Arrigo Minerbi, one of the leading monumental sculptors of Italy, designed a large sculptural group commemorating medical personnel who died in the First World War for the cloister of the Military Hospital of Florence. The image of this monument was depicted on a 1928 plaque by the medalist Carlo Rivalta and cast by the Vignali foundry. However, as Minerbi was Jewish, his recognition as sculptor was removed by the Fascists under the Italian racial laws, and he had to go into hiding during World War II. He survived the war, but members of his family as well as other members of the important Ferrara Jewish community were deported and killed. Cast bronze, 195 x 125 mm., four screw attachments on the back, $495.
Selections from our vast stock of World War I medals and plaques
Austria, Battle of Komarow-Janowka (known in Russia as the Battle of Tomaszów), August 31, 1914, Oberst Karl Friedrich von Bardolff on horseback, by Oskar Thiede, uniface bronze plaquette, 200 mm. This was Austria’s great victory at the outbreak of the war, but created a line it was not able to hold. $595.
Austria, Franz Josef I, 1914, by Arnold Hartig, uniface bronze cast of reverse, smooth brown patina, 190 mm. Angels and marching gunners! $550.
Belgium, Battle of the Yser, 1914, by Emile Vloors, model for the Yser medal instituted in 1918 for participants in the battle. Cast iron, untrimmed, 160 x 210 mm. $295.
Belgium, Antwerp holds back German divisions, 1914, by Paul Wissaert, issued in 1921 by the Amis de la Médaille d’Art. Bronze, 70 mm. $135.
Belgium, Jesus Protect Belgium, 1914, by Josef Witterwulche. Silvered bronze, 64 mm., VF-EF, $65.
Russia, Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolayevich, Commander of the Russian forces, 1914-1915, by Henri Huguenin, BDM, 7, 468. Bronze, 50 mm., $149.
Switzerland, Roulez Tambours!, 1914 by Holy FrŹres, with exhortations in French, German and Italian. Bronze, lozenge-shaped, 50x50 mm (40 x 40 “flat to flat”), in custom leather case, $165.
France, Marshall Joffre by Jules-Prosper Legastellois, uniface portrait cliché, 97 mm., reverse engraved 20-10-1. $195
Great Britain, copy of notorious Lusitania medal by Karl Goetz, issued to stir up anti-German sentiment, cast iron, 56 mm. $49.
United States, Brand Whitlock, American Minister to Belgium, by Godefroid Devreese. Bronze, 74 mm, $49.
Austria, Archduchess Maria Theresa, Sister Michaela, 1916, by Arnold Hartig. Bronze, 65 mm, $80.
Belgium, Germany Re-established Slavery, May 15, 1916, by Godefroid Devreese, issued in 1923 by the Amis de la Médaille d’Art. Bronze, 70 mm. $140.
Belgium, Cardinal Mercier, Bishop of Mechelin, 1916, by Alfonse Mauquoy. Portrait / exquisite view of the cathedral. Bronze, 54x72 mm. $95.
Belgium, Childhood Health, 1916, by Godefroid Devreese. Silvered bronze, 54 mm. $65.
France, Battle of the Marne, by Jules-Prosper Legastellois, Silver, 68 mm, $450; bronze, 68 mm ex Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, $75.
Poland, Polish legions to their protector Archduchess Isabella of Austria-Hungary, 1916, by W. Chodzinaki. Zinc, 70 mm, $139.
United States, tribute to Anna Coxe Yarnell, Chair of Main Line Philadelphia Emergency Aid Society, 1915-16. Cast bronze, probably unique, 118 mm, $250.
Austria, Enigmatic iron plaque with legend W.A.T.V. 1914 1917, initials R P (Richard Placht?). Cast iron uniface, 90x154 mm, $149.
Belgium, We must clothe them – the future, 1917, by Alfonse Mauquoy. Bronze, 50 x 70 mm, $95.
Belgium, L’Union fait la force, Memorial to ArsŹne Seguin, ‘mort pour le devoir,’ by R. Lamourdedieu. Silver, 40 x 56 mm, price on request.
Canada, Troops at the Battle of Vimy Ridge, region of Arras, France, April 9, 1917, German soldier surrendering and begging “Mercy Kamerad.” Crude bronze shield-shaped plaque, 175x190 mm, $249.
France, To the Heroes of Verdun, 1917, by Charles Pillet, Nicholas Maier, French Medallic Art, #209. bronze, 68 mm., ex Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, $65; also as a large c. 12” cast of obverse, $1,600, and a 15” (plus 1” rim) galvano model of the obverse, price on request.
France, The Terrified of War, 1917, by Raoul Lamourdedieu. Bronze, 69x56 mm, ex Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, $149.
Germany, Frankfurt, for service in the War Welfare Service, by F. W. and Richard Rother, silver, 46 mm.
United States, Visit of Marshall Joffre on mission to get the U.S. to enter the war, 1917. Uniface gilt bronze plaque by Louis F. Ragot of Milford PA, 115 mm., numbered 28 on reverse, $195.
United States, Visit of Marshall Joffre on mission to get the U.S. to enter the war, Institut Franćais aux États Unis, by Cartier. Silver, 41 mm, in original custom case, $195.
United States, Christian Union of Francophone Youth, New York, To Our Valiant Soldiers. Bronze, uniface, 51x76 mm, $95.
VLTRIX AMERICA JVRIS [America the avenger of law], Lusitania, 1918, by Réné Baudichon, struck by the French Mint, edge marked BRONZE cornucopia, 54 mm, EF, $550
Belgian Congo, Fighting in Ruanda, Camaroun, Tabora, Rhodesia, 1914-1918, by J. Witterwulche, issued by the Amis de la Médaille d’Art. Bronze, 71 mm., $249.
France, French entry into Strasbourg and reunification of Alsace with France, (Nov. 22) 1918, by Henry Dropsy. Bronze, 80 mm, VF-EF, $149.
France, Memorial to brothers Jules and Louis Jeanbernat Barthélemy de Ferrari of Marseilles, both killed in 1918, by Gustave Martin. Silver, 71 mm, $450.
France, Marshall Foch, Order of the Day, November 12, 1918, announcing Victory to forces, issued from the Grand Quartier Général des Armées Alliées. Bronze, 230 mm, $295.
France, Marshall Foch, by Auguste Maillard, 1918, issued by Paris-Art, numbered 350. Cast bronze uniface, 115 mm, VF, $175.
France, Food Committee of the North of France, 1918, by Victor Prouvé. Bronze, 67 mm, $110.
Germany, Honor to the fallen, 1914-1918, by M. & W. Bronze, 54 mm, price on request.
Italy, ‘Io triumphe’ acclamation, by M. Melli. Bronze, 60 mm, $115.
United States, ‘Kultur in Belgium’ satirical anti-German medal by Paul Manship. Bronze, 66 mm, Nearly Perfect condition, $1,100.
United States, American Monument at ChČteau Thierry, by A. de Possesse. Bronze, 50 mm, price on request.
United States, General John ‘Black-Jack’ Pershing by J.-P. Legastellois. Bronze, 66 mm, price on request.
Belgium, National Federation of Prisoners of War, 1919, issued 1940, by Bernard Callié. Bronze, arch-shaped, 44x66 mm, engraved to Georgette Corryn, in original custom case, $135.
England, George V, Commemoration of the Victorious Peace, by Turner and Simpson, 1919, in Brown, British Historical Medals, 3, #4147, only in 39 mm size. Silver, 76 mm, in custom leather case, edge numbered 2, ex Dix-Noonan-Webb sale, 28 Jan. 1997, #826, $750.
France, Exposition Nationale de Strasbourg by Henri Nocq after Hansi (Jean-Jacques Waltz, an Alsatian artist active in pro-French activity before and during the war). Note the triumphant rooster representing France crowing at the departure of the German eagle from Alsace in this World’s Fair medal. Bronze, 67 x97 mm., scarce, $275.
France, Inter-Allied Games, Pershing Stadium, Paris, 1919, by Lucien Cariat. Bronze pin-back, shield-shaped, 52x50 mm in original leather case, $125.
France, Tanks – Front Line of Victory, by Pierre-Alexandre Morlon, 1919, bronze, 95 x 55 mm., restrike c. 1960 (edge marked BRONZE cornucopia), would be if original $500-600, $120.
France, Electoral Victory of the Right Wing, 1919, featuring the Statue of Liberty on the obverse and the Arc de Triomphe on the reverse, by the Arthus-Bertrand firm, Paris, bronze, 45 mm., in original case of issue, $95.
France, Wards of the State, by Émile-Séraphin Vernier, 1919, silvered bronze, uniface 58x90 mm., in custom leather case, $175.
Belgium, Study for the plaquette for the Reunion of Malmédy to Belgium, 1920, by Paul Wissaert, 1921. Copper galvano, bronzed and lead filled, 70x101 mm [struck piece is 48x70 mm], $195.
France, Les Gueles Cassées, organization for those seriously wounded in World War I, instituted 1921, plaque for patrons, engraved to the surgeon Hally-Smith, by Heinrich Kautsch, silvered bronze, 73x86 mm., in custom leather case, $175.
United States, Marshall Foch from the School Children of America, medal presented 1921 in gold to Foch by the French Restoration Fund, by J. Hansen. Silvered bronze, 76 mm, inscribed on edge to H. Rogers Winthrop from James M. Halsted, President of the F.R.F., $500.
United States, Myron Herrick, Ambassador to France, 1912-1914, 1921-29, by J.-P. Legastellois. Bronze, 67 mm, $45.
Austria, Plaque of the K. und K. Hoch- und Deutsch Meister Regiment, with portrait of Kaiser Karl I, by Anton Rudolf Weinberger, cast iron, 108x148 mm, $175.
Belgium, two uniface lead splashers of medals by the Godefroid Devreese: Grateful Belgium 80 mm, and Aid to the Distressed, both inscribed on the reverse by the artist to Mme. Paul Errera. Very Rare personalized pieces from Belgium’s most important 20th century medalist; the pair $300.
Belgium, Phoenix: Belgium repairs from the war’s disasters. Bronze, 70 mm, $75.
France, Battles of Flanders, by Pierre-Alexandre Morlon. Silver, 59 mm in original leather case. A fine Art-Deco medal, done in the 1920s. Rare in silver, $595.
France, Somewhere in France, cast bronze plaquette in the shape of a bomb or bullet, by Maison Riquet, Paris, 150x74 mm, $395.
United States of America, General John Pershing, by Jacques Callot. Bronze 115x115 mm, $325.
Click here for a listing of categories of historical medals in our stock.
Click here for a complete listing of our personal medals, including Bismarck, Hindenberg, Foch and Joffre.
For information on these medals, or any others in our stock, email me at email@example.com .