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WW2 German Iron Cross: Genuine or Fake?

Genuine WW2 German Iron Cross 2nd Class with a split frame showing correct three piece construction
An authentic EK2 with a split frame that shows off the three piece construction of a real cross

The collecting of WW2 militaria, German militaria especially, can be a minefield for the honest collector in terms of trying to avoid the many fakes that are now muddying the waters.

The WW2 German Iron Cross for example is a highly sought-after item for many collectors, which has made fakes an appealing line to create and sell.

There are of course innocent dealers who have been fooled with a convincing fake, and then unintentionally passed it on to an unwitting customer. If however someone has a pattern of passing on such fakes, then any experienced collectors will avoid them. Sadly those in this category of repeat offender taint the very hobby of collecting and make it far harder for honest dealers to operate.

Some good fakes made in the 60’s and 70’s are particularly hard for most to spot as they now have some age and patina that add to their perceived authenticity.

Specialists in Iron Cross decorations can draw upon years of study, and perhaps more importantly actual handling of the genuine pieces, to quickly weed out the imitations. Such experts are treasured allies for honest dealers to help combat the multitude of fakes that are to be seen in today’s militaria market.

The subject matter experts that we draw upon take their pieces very seriously, and have been known to actually throw discovered fakes into the ocean, destroy them altogether or as a lesser step engrave ‘Reproduction’ onto the backs of such imitations.

Imitations have their legitimate place as space fillers and as a part of a display, but perhaps a good practice would be to actually inscribe known fakes with ‘Reproduction’ somewhere easy to spot without detracting from its ability to be displayed?

Knowingly passing off a fake as a genuine piece for sale is of course fraud, and taking advantage of well-intentioned new collectors.

There are a few factors to look for when considering a purchase of an Iron Cross:

Does the dealer offer a money back assurance of authenticity?

This is a sign of confidence in the products.

Magnetic or Non-Magnetic?

Although there are some authentic non-magnetic Crosses, but that’s another Rabbit Hole altogether, most legit Crosses are iron and therefore magnetic.

Three-piece construction

All but some extremely rare variants should be of three-piece construction. Iron core and silver frame made from 2 separate pieces.

Patina and general look of the Cross

Whilst some mint examples may lack obvious patina, experienced Iron Cross collectors will look for certain patina and aged characteristics of the iron and paint etc.


Not all real Crosses are maker marked, and there were many jewellers with differing maker marks to determine who made it. Some known fakes also use maker marks sadly.


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