Featured Lusitania Medal

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Seattlite86, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    What if I told you that you could hold a medal that was responsible for creating the spark that enflamed the passions of so many citizens, that it brought their countries into WWI?

    On May 07, 1915, the German Navy committed arguably Germany’s biggest strategic failures in WWI: the sinking of the RMS Lusitania. International outrage grew as word spread that the ship was sank without warning, killing 1,198 passengers and crew, 128 of which were Americans. To add to this, Karl Goetz, German medalist and sculpture, created a satirical medal in August 1915. His intent was to embarrass the Cunard Line and British Government for allowing a passenger ship to cross hostile waters. The intended effect backfired and the medal inspired other nations to join the war effort in support of Great Britain.


    On the reverse: Up top we see “Geschaft uber Alles” or business above all. Death sells tickets at the ticket booth or “Fahrkarten Ausgabe” for the Cunard Line. Men flock to the booth to get their tickets before boarding. One man reads a newspaper that threatens of U-boat danger or U Boo[t] Gefah[r] his fingers covering the T and R. The Germans had published warnings to the British that the waters they traveled through were hostile and that any ships passing through there would be sunk without warning. At the bottom are the initials K.G. for Karl Goetz, the models’ creator.

    On the obverse: Up top we see "Keine Bann Ware" or "No contraband/banned goods" echoing the expectation the Germans had that no one could bring ammunition or weapons to Great Britain. The Lusitania sinks as cannons, cars and planes spill overboard crashing into the Celtic Sea. The ship was remade on the medal to appear much more like a warship than a steamship for passengers. It reads "Der Grossdampfer Lusitania durch ein deutsches Tauchboot versenkt 5 Mai 1915". The translation reads "The large steamer Lusitania by way of a German diving boat is sunk 5 May 1915".

    The German U-20 Commander ordered the Lusitania to be fired upon without first attempting to alert the crew and passengers. The reasoning for this is dispersed among theories that it was smuggling ammunition, that providing prior warning would have put the submarine in danger of being attacked, and because the Commander did not want to let the ship reach British ports. There are conflicting reports that the Lusitania was carrying everything from small arms ammunition to artillery rounds. There was a report of a secondary explosion that was blamed on a second torpedo by the Allies and by ammunition from the Central Powers. The most recent speculation, following a 1993 dive to the wreckage, is that the coal powder in the boiler room ignited and exploded. Some of you may notice the date printed on the medal is incorrect as the Lusitania was actually sunk on May 7, 1915. Karl Goetz eventually struck a new medal with the correct “7 MAI 1915” on it but the damage had already been done. The inconsistency in the dates led many to believe this was premeditated. Japan, Great Britain, and the United States all produced copies of this medal, some with “MAI” but most with “MAY” as the date. These pieces were used as propaganda against Germany.

    Box cover shown above, text shown below.

    :CUNARD LINE · 32000 TONS:
    MAY 7TH 1915
    The medals sold in Great Britain were placed in a commemorative box with the actual image of the Lusitania on the cover. The boxes were distributed with the intention of promoting the idea that the Germans were warmongers who were encouraged to kill civilians.

    Inside the box the text (shown above) reads:

    The “Lusitania” (German) Medal
    An exact replica of the medal which was designed in Germany and distributed to commemorate the sinking of the “Lusitania.”

    This indicates the true feeling the War Lords endeavor to stimulate and is proof positive that such crimes are not merely regarded favourably, but are given every en-couragement in the land of Kultur.

    The “Lusitania” was sunk by a German submarine on May 7th, 1915. She had on board at the time 1,951 passengers and crew, of whom 1,198 perished.

    These medals were tangible pieces that allowed those who were not present to imagine the horror of it. Karl Goetz’s Lusitania medal is a beautiful yet tragic relic that has timelessly captured a moment in time that forever changed the world.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
    C-B-D, Cachecoins, ldhair and 20 others like this.
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  3. paddyman98

    paddyman98 Let me burst your bubble! Supporter

    There are counterfeits also...
  4. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    paddyman98 likes this.
  5. paddyman98

    paddyman98 Let me burst your bubble! Supporter

    I will check this store here in NYC next week - I will let you know

    Or you can call him!
    Seattlite86 likes this.
  6. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    Thanks, I think they're cool and wouldn't mind owning the variant but I'm happy with owning the one photographed.
    paddyman98 likes this.
  7. paddyman98

    paddyman98 Let me burst your bubble! Supporter

    Buddy he has one.. Just checked his website! $49.00
    Seattlite86 likes this.
  8. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Variety Collector

    Brandon ,
    Now I know for a fact that picking this medal up at the Gettysburg show was in fact a good choice. Alan ,Dave and I had the opportunity to see it first hand as Brandon discovered and decided to make the purchase .
    The three of us knew you weren't going to leave the show without it.
    After reading your write up on this specimen I know for a fact it has found a good home for many years.
    Finding items like this is just another reason I have enjoyed the Gettysburg show over the last 4 years.
    This year the fact that we had several members from CT all together walking the show made it even more fun.
    Once again a great write up ,and specimen that will be a fond memory of an early fall day for many years to come.
    green18 and Seattlite86 like this.
  9. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    Oh, sorry, I meant I wanted one of the knockoff Pennsylvania copies. What you showed is the second British variety. The photo I used in my write up is actually my own medal that I just recently purchased at the awesome Gettysburg Show in PA.
    coinzip, green18 and paddyman98 like this.
  10. Santinidollar

    Santinidollar Supporter! Supporter

    I'd love to have one of those, but frankly wouldn't have a clue on how to keep from getting stuck by a fake.
    Seattlite86 likes this.
  11. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Variety Collector

    Talk to Brandon he reads and speaks German and since he's done his homework knows the difference in spelling on the medals that clues a fake.
    Paul M., green18 and Seattlite86 like this.
  12. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    Actually, there really aren't many fakes out there if you're looking for the British, Japanese, or US copies. They are, after all, copies. Most of the copies have May spelled as MAY and not MAI. However, if you're looking for the actual German one made by Karl Goetz, that's much harder to determine. One surefire way to know it's an original Goetz is that the month May is spelled in German as "Mai" and the edge has his name K Goetz stamped into it. I intend to look for these when I move to Germany in a few months. I'll be sure to post any of my findings.
  13. Seattlite86

    Seattlite86 Outspoken Member

    I wouldn't mind seeing this on the homepage. If you guys like it enough, feel free to PM Peter!
  14. Rick Stachowski

    Rick Stachowski Well-Known Member

  15. RTScott1978

    RTScott1978 UK/Commonwealth Collector

    Massively historical medal. Love to see items like this!
    Seattlite86 likes this.
  16. Cascade

    Cascade The Blind VAMmer

    I've always wanted one of those. But one of the originals.
    Seattlite86 likes this.
  17. Santinidollar

    Santinidollar Supporter! Supporter

    Me too. But they are pricey. Northeast Numismatics has an MS62 for $850. A couple of eBay sellers claiming theirs to be originals are around $500. But I wouldn't trust those.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
    Paul M., Seattlite86 and Cascade like this.
  18. Victor

    Victor Coin Collector

    Articles I have read say the ship was carrying ammunition.
    Seattlite86 likes this.
  19. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Just covered this with a US history class I am teaching this year. Had no idea about the medal. Very nice @Seattlite86 !
    Seattlite86 likes this.
  20. Paddy54

    Paddy54 Variety Collector

    If you all enjoy this write up......you should of been at the show .....Super Dave and Alan will vouch how this find went down..... as I recall it was located all the way in the back of room,near Bill's table. Brandon found it in a display box on a dealers rack where he had other items displayed .
    He really wanted this medal. But was uncertain ...... we all knew he wasn't going to leave with out it. Gettysburg show over the last 4 years has produced some great finds.
    I've never been disappointed ...... and I will bet if you ask any of the members here who has attended they will tell you.....it's worth the trip.
    The 1876 seated quarter over there <<<<< the Avatar
    Is currently being graded.... it's due back 3/6.
    This was a $40 find at the very first Gettysburg show .
    And if I am correct it will be the very first 1876 MPD-001 ever graded ,with only 6 known to date. An R-7 coin. Stay tuned!
    coinzip, Paul M. and Seattlite86 like this.
  21. BlackBeard_Thatch

    BlackBeard_Thatch Captain of the Queen Anne's Revenge

    Really cool! looking for one of these
    Seattlite86 likes this.
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