100794 | GERMANY & GREAT BRITAIN. HMS Athenia satirical cast iron Medal.

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    100794 | GERMANY & GREAT BRITAIN. Satirical cast iron Medal. Dated 1939. "Totentanz (Dance of Death) Redux" type: The sinking of the SS Athenia (68mm, 107.52 g, 2). By G. Goetz.

     

    4 SEPTEMBER 1939, Death, with skull facing and holding torch and lit bomb decorated with Union Jack, seated right on prow of the SS Athenia / EIN MEISTER DER LÜGE (the master of lies), British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, holding imbalanced scale with two bombs, one decorated with Union Jack, the other with a swastika, seated facing on base inscribed VORS HÖLLEN–MASCHINE (pilot of the "hell-machine") and tagged An Mr CHURCHILL. Edge: A few light marks as made, otherwise plain.

     

    Engstrom 3. Gem Mint State. Charcoal-gray surfaces and fairly high relief. A haunting and scarce type.

     

    Carrying on the tradition of his father, Guido Goetz also had a career as a medalist, issuing some satirical pieces in the vein of the elder Goetz, Karl. Just as World War I and its aftermath were important to the work of the father, so too was that of World War II to the son, with a number of satirical medals designed with this backdrop. Drawing upon the skeletal approach of Walther Eberbach's Totentanz series, some of Guido's issues portray Death as a skeleton taking sadistic glee in the downfall of his enemies.

     

    The SS Athenia was a passenger liner completed in early 1923 and utilized for transatlantic travel between the United Kingdom and Canada. In September 1939, she was hit by a torpedo from the German submarine U-30 and sank in the Western Approaches—an area in the Atlantic Ocean due west of the British Isles. This act, condemned as a war crime, represented the first instance of a British ship being sunk by Nazi Germany in World War II. 117 civilian passengers—including 28 Americans—were killed in the torpedoing and subsequent sinking of this ship. Coincidentally, a similar fate befell the Athenia's namesake, in that she was torpedoed in 1917 by the Germans off the coast of Ireland, this time during World War I.

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