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Medaille für die Helden der Stadt Oberstdorf

Medal “To the Oberstdorf Town Heroes”

This post-WWI commemorative medal was minted in limited numbers in the Bavarian town of Oberstdorf located in the Bavarian Alps (Bayerische Alpen) right on the border with Austria. Unofficial privately issued medal, or rather token was dedicated to local men who took part in the Great War in the ranks of the Royal Bavarian Army.

Both obverse and reverse of the medal in question had no raised borders.

Centre of an obverse showed a shield that bore an image of the parish church of Saint John the Baptist (Pfarrkirche St.Johannes Baptist) with bordering houses against a distinctive Alpine background. Interesting to know that bells were removed off the church during both World Wars to be melted into weapons used by the Bavarian and later German armies. The grand bell is the only one that have survived to the present day and is still can be seen in the Pfarrkirche. Dates the Great War begun and ended, i.e. “1914” and “1918” placed in two lines were situated at the bottom of the shield. The latter is topped with a mural crown (Mauerkrone) with three towers, adopted as the arms of the town in the XIX century. According to traditions, residential cities and capital towns generally used mural crowns with five towers, large towns – those with four towers, while smaller towns, e.g. Oberstdorf, crowns with three towers. The shield was superimposed on two crossed swords pointing downwards. The whole composition is circumscribed in capital letters: “Grateful Community of Oberstdorf to its Heroes” (“Die Marktgemeinde Oberstdorf aus Dankbarkeit Ihren Helden”).

A reverse showed large stylized Prussian Iron Cross with fragments of wide brick-like border between its arms. Each arm of the cross with plain surface bore four dates of the Great War placed parallel to the border: “1914”, “1916”, “1918” and “1915” (clockwise starting from the upper arm). Centre of the cross correspondingly bore the date “1917”. Four sections between arms of the cross showed battle scenes featuring Bavarian military personnel: firing machine-gunners, assaulting infantrymen, gun crew and charging troopers.

Circular medal measuring 33,7 mm in diameter was made of silvered bronze and was worn suspended from a silk ribbon divided into red and white, thus representing colours of the Oberstdorf flag.

Oberstdorf Town Heroes Medal 1