100919 | UNITED STATES, GREAT BRITAIN & GERMANY. Lusitania cast bronze Medal.

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    100919 | UNITED STATES, GREAT BRITAIN & GERMANY. RMS Lusitania cast bronze Medal. Issued 1915/6. The Sinking of the RMS Lusitania (56mm, 65.07 g, 12h). By K. Goetz in München.

     

    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: Plain.

     

    Burns 1a2; Kienast 156; cf. Eimer 1941Aa (for the iron issue); cf. Jones, Dance of Death, 28 (for the iron issue) & 29 (for the British copy); The Art of Devastation, p. 254, 53 & cf. p. 255, fig. 5 (for the British copy). Mint State. Pleasing chocolate brown surfaces. A very rare original—as opposed to the numerous later copies of it—with the error date for the sinking.

     

    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. This, however, is one of the rare originals by Goetz, made with the erroneous date of the sinking.

     

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