The first of a two part post exploring this iconic German medal.
In this photo the iron cross with the ribbon is a second class and the ribbon only was worn on the uniform. The other is a first class with pin back and would have been worn on the pocket. Both have an iron centre with silver frame and, ideally, all medals should have coin-like definition.
The value of the Iron Cross is largely determined by the maker’s mark, though not all of them have this mark. For the 2nd class, the mark is typically stamped on the ring, while for the first class, it’s either on the back or the pin. Sometimes, you might only find the “800” mark, which represents German silver. During the First World War, letters were used for maker marks. Interestingly, even during the Third Reich, Iron Crosses from the First World War were still produced, and these typically have a number as the maker’s mark.