A nice original WWII German War Merit Cross with Swords, 1st class. Much of the original finish of this badge is lost to time, however it's strong details remain. Some wear is present in the form of grime/possible oxidization on the surface of the award. On the reverse, a working pin and catch. Pin is clearly stamped with a vertical "4" for the maker Steinhauer & Luck, Lüdenscheid.
This award was created by Adolf Hitler in October 1939 as a successor to the non-combatant Iron Cross which was used in earlier wars (similar medal but with a different ribbon). The award was graded in the same manner as the Iron Cross: War Merit Cross Second Class, War Merit Cross First Class, and Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross. The award had two variants: with swords given to soldiers for exceptional service "not in direct connection with combat", and without swords given to civilians for meritorious service in "furtherance of the war effort". Recipients had to have the lower grade of the award before getting the next level.