WW I veterans that were awarded the 1914 Iron Cross were permitted to wear the award on their Third Reich uniform. If awarded the 1939 EK-1, a clasp was given inplace of another Iron Cross. It depicted a national eagle clutching an oak leaf wreath surrounding a swastika above a trapezoid bearing the year 1939. The 1939 EK-1 Clasp was worn directly above the 1914 EK-1 on the left breast pocket, and was always displayed above all other awards.
The first frame shows the block hinge soldered flat. A view of the "C" catch is shown in the second frame. Note the black patination on the reverse below the pin.
The Iron Cross 1st class (abbreviated EK-1) was originally established by King Friedrich Wilhelm the III of Prussia in March 1813, as a military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia. The German Empire adopted the Iron Cross award in 1871, and later re-adopted it in 1914. Adolph Hitler re-introduced the Iron Cross in 1939, adding the swastika to the center of the Cross. The Iron Cross was normally a military decoration only, though there were instances of it being awarded to civilians for acting out military functions. The Iron Cross is an honor award, and was generally awarded to soldiers who fought Heroically on the battle field.
The Iron Cross 1st class is constructed from three separate pieces. (1) The front frame, (2) the back plate, which includes the hinge, catch and pin assembly, (3) the core. The core is usually constructed from a magnetic metal, giving meaning to the term "Iron Cross", but specimens with a black painted brass core do exist, such as the one pictured above. The reverse shows a block hinge, soldered flat to the surface of the back plate instead of upwright, so that the award would fit tightly against the uniform. A maker mark "15", (Otto Schickle) is stamped in the center of a flat pin. The "C" catch is made of brass. The obverse shows a raised swastika and the re-instituted date of 1939.
Clasp to the Iron Cross 1st Class
(Spange zum Eisernen Kreuz Erste Klasse)
This illustration shows the 1939 EK-1 Clasp properly positioned above the 1914 EK-1 as they should be worn on a uniform.
Iron Cross, First Class
(Eisernes Kreuz, Erste Klasse)
The obverse of this EK-1 clasp displays stunning detail. The reverse shows a block hinge, flat pin and "C" catch. Although unmarked, this badge shows characteristics known to the maker "Otto Schickle.