An absolutely beautiful 1914 Mecklenburg-Schwerin Military Merit Cross, 2nd Class. A nice length of original ribbon is attached, ring is unmarked. Bronze gilt, 40.5 mm. Near mint condition, this will be a difficult example to upgrade.
The Military Merit Cross (Militärverdienstkreuz) was established by Friedrich Franz II, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin on August 5, 1848. Mecklenburg-Schwerin, a grand duchy located in northern Germany, was a member of the German Confederation and later the German Empire.
In several respects, Mecklenburg-Schwerin's Military Merit Cross was patterned after the Prussian Iron Cross. Both came in two classes, a pinback 1st Class and a 2nd Class worn from a ribbon, both were awarded without regard to rank (most other orders and medals of both states were awarded in different classes based on the rank or status of the recipient), and both were awarded for specific campaigns, as indicated by a date on the bottom arm of the cross.
Germany entered World War I in the first days of August 1914. On February 28, 1915, Friedrich Franz IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, reauthorized the Military Merit Cross. The new version was dated 1914 and awards were made retroactively to the beginning of the war. Both classes of the Military Merit Cross continued to be awarded throughout the war, both to Mecklenburgers and to soldiers of other German states and German allies. Upon Friedrich Franz IV's abdication on November 14, 1918, the Military Merit Cross became obsolete. It continued to be permitted for wear by those who had received it through the Weimar era, the Third Reich and in West Germany