RARE WWI GERMAN SINKING OF LUSITANIA COMMEMORATIVE COIN

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  • Item Category: Militaria & Weapons
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Oct 07,2007
  • Channel: Online Auction

the "Lusitania",

On May 7th 1915 Commander Schweiger of the German navy was patrolling in the submarine U-20 off the southern coast of Ireland. Three months earlier on February 4th the Germans, unwilling to challenge Allied superiority on the surface, had established a submarine blockade around the UK and had declared any vessel in it a legitimate target.

At about 1.40p.m. Schweiger saw through his periscope a vessel approaching. Closer inspection identified it as Cunard's "Lusitania" on the final leg of its passage from New York to Liverpool. Seeing it as a "legitimate target" and after only initial hesitation he released two torpedoes, the first of which scored a direct hit. Within a mere 20 minutes the great liner sank along with almost 1200 of its passengers and crew, including the former Marplites.

The repercussions of this act of gross inhumanity were enormous. Amongst the innocent victims were 128 American citizens, this caused a great outcry in the United States. The German response was to claim that they had given clear warning that the area in which the ship was sunk was a war zone. They also claimed that they had irrefutable proof that the ship was carrying war material from the Americans to the British. Winston Churchill, who was then British First Sea Lord, admitted to the presence of a small quantity although it was widely thought that this quantity was in fact quite substantial.

In August, following the sinking of another passenger liner "Arabic" with further loss of American lives, the Germans ceased their policy of sinking passenger ships without warning in a bid to counteract anti German feeling in the US. American neutrality was to continue to be put under pressure and in April 1917 they entered the war on the side of the Allies.

T were 1200 victims of the sinking of the "Lusitania"

An interesting story that emerged from the sinking tells of how one of the stokers from the ship was pulled from the sea alive. His name was Frank Turner and obviously he was never destined to drown as he had also survived the sinking of "The Titanic" and "The Empress of Ireland".

After the sinking of the Lusitania the German government gave permission for the striking of a commemorative medallion.The medallion is approximately 70mm (2¾") in diameter and is macabre in its design. On one side it shows an illustration of the ship in the last throws of sinking, with the inscription KEINE BANN WARE (No banned goods), DER GROSSDANPFER LUSITANIA (The great liner Lusitania), DURCH EIN DEUTSHES TAVCHBOOT VERSENKT (Sunk by a German Submarine), 5 May 1915. The goods referred to are presumably the arms shipment reputed to have been on board.

On the reverse a large group of people can be seen queuing to buy tickets from the Cunard ticket office for the ships final journey, however, the ticket box is manned by a skeleton. This side is inscribed with the words GESCHAFT UBER ALLES (Business over everything).

THIS COIN IS IN LIKE NEW CONDITION, QUITE RARE, A TRUE COLLECTABLE. WITH ITS ORIGINAL BOX, THAT IS MARKED ON THE INSIDE, "HENRI TETERGER RUG DE RIVOLI PARIS GRANDSPRIX."VERY LOW RESERVE, SO HAVE FUN BIDDING!

This is actually a british made metal. A mistake was mad in the first edition of the medal and it was dated 2 days "before" the actual sinking. The British jumped on this to show that the Germans had laid in wait for the liner and struck without warning. The mistake came because the first German newspaper reports used the wrong date. The British struck a number of these medals as propoganda against the Germans. The date was later corrected in later copies of the German medal. The easiest way to tell the British coins from the German coin is by the spelling of "May". The British, as is show on this medal, used the English version "May", the Germans used "Mai." Thus this is the British propoganda copy of the original, uncorrected German medal. It still dates from WW I, just not from Germany"

THIS HISTORY ADDS TO THE RARITY OF TH...

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