When the 1. World War more or less changed into a static warfare -“Stellungskrieg” - the production of medals and decorations took a different course. Money and material became scarce. In Prussia, like in other German small states, only medals in silver gilt were manufactured from this point on. Gold was too valuable a material and could be easily replaced by silver. This fact surely met the needs of the forgers. It explains the usually poor quality of their falsifications easily by the influences of the late war years, like: "That was normal in wartime..." or "Money had to be saved...". Unfortunately they forgot that one could probably save at the material, stamps for medals and decorations nevertheless had to be manufactured. The wages of gold or silver workers were compared to the saving with the change from golden to gild silver medals and decorations of rather small influence for the actual expense. 

Actually there were considerations in the last war years to manufacture one-sided medal characters (Saxony Kingdom) or medals in zinc with a reduced number of work procedures, still stamps had to be created, further by the typical high quality. I refer here e.g. to the Crown Order Medal last type.

As a further example I would like to present a version of the Prussian Red Eagle Order. 

Briefly anticipated, is said, that the Prussian medals and decorations were provided with fineness labels starting from the change of material, which makes it easy for today’s collector to separate the original decorations from fakes. Following the tradition or rather the fineness laws of the used "15 löthigen" silver, the decorations manufactured in gilt silver material were provided with the stamp of "938" - 938 sections silver in thousand sections material or "15 Löth" silver. (Falsifications carry mostly the stamp "935" probably a read error, because the original marking is very often strikes. It is advisable to use a magnifying glass also here and check exactly.) 

Let’s take a look now at the Red Eagle Order 2. Class with crown and swords: 

The Order has the "938" marking at the lower cross arm and under the crown. It also has the stamp "W" for the manufacturer of medals Wagner in Berlin. Other makers marks, such as "FR" for Friedländer, may be found instead of the "W".

The material under the enamel of the crown is guillochiert, which one can determine very well by a magnifying glass, even with the naked eye. Swords are one-piece coined and as for Prussian medals typical screwed over a thread into the sides of the medallion. 

Order of the Red Eagle 2nd class with crown and swords

Although the order was made in silver gilt it is made in an outstanding quality.

The following picture shows a "938" mark besides the upside down "W" on a silver gilt 3rd class cross with swords of the Crown Order:

The 9 in the 938 mark looks usually like an 8.

© A. Schulze Ising, V/99