100722 | UNITED STATES & GERMANY. Sinking of the Lusitania pewter Medal.

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    100722 | UNITED STATES, GREAT BRITAIN & GERMANY. RMS Lusitania pewter Medal. Issued 1918. The Sinking of the RMS Lusitania (57mm, 88.73 g, 12h). After K. Goetz, the 'American copy' by Sandstrom & Mahood.

     

    KEINE BANN WARE! (no contraband!), the Lusitania sinking in heavy seas; in five lines in exergue, DER GROSSDAMPFER / =LUSITANIA= / DURCH EIN DEUTSCHES / TAUCHBOOT VERSENKT / 5 MAY 1915 (the liner Lusitania sunk by a German submarine) / GESCHAFT UBER ALLES (business above all), skeleton (as Death) standing left within ticket booth marked CUNA[RD]/LINIE and CUNARD (the Cunard Line, owners of the ship) above and to right, and FAHRKARTEN/AUSGABE (ticket office) below; to left, queue of passengers, one of whom reads a newspaper with the headline U/BOO[T]/GEFAH[R] (U-Boat danger). Edge: A few marks as made, otherwise plain.

     

    Burns 4b; cf. Kienast 156 (for Goetz's German prototype); cf. Eimer 1941Ab (for British copy); cf. Jones, Dance of Death, 28 (for Goetz's German prototype) & 29 (for British copy); The Art of Devastation, p. 254, 53 (for Goetz's German prototype) & p. 255, fig. 5 (for British copy). Virtually as made. Pleasing steel gray surfaces with some muted brilliance; includes original box of issue, though severely damaged. A rather scarce and somewhat caricaturish imitation of this infamous medal made for the American audience.

     

    Not long after the German warning against sea travel into her 'war zone' declared upon Great Britain, a popular liner–the RMS Lusitania–was torpedoed 11 miles off the coast of Ireland, where over 60% of her passengers, some of whom where Americans, were killed. Serving as a rallying cry against the German Empire, this action solidified American involvement in World War I.

     

    German medalist Karl Goetz jumped at the opportunity to satirize these events, designing a medal which would become infamous. The idea of Death handing out the tickets to the eventual passengers–and victims–of Goetz's Germany did not sit well with Great Britain nor her soon-to-be official ally in the war efforts, the United States. Both made copies of this gruesome memento in order to remember the ignominious act and also raise funds for the victims' families.

     

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