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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

352, Lot: 681. Estimate $100.
Sold for $260. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

temp. WINDSOR. Iron Medal (58mm, 94.75 g, 12h). The Sinking of the S. S. Lusitania. After K. Goetz. Dated 1915. 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 passangers, one of whom reads a newspaper with the headline U/BOO[T]/GEFAH[R] (U-Boat danger). BHM –; Eimer 1941Ab; cf. Kienast 156 (for prototype). EF, dark gray surfaces, mostly free of the usual rust. A popular type, this is the version copied for Britain in order to raise funds for St. Dunstan’s and other war charities.

Entering passenger service with the Cunard Line in 1907, the Lusitania continued the line’s heavily-traveled service between Liverpool and New York City. After the outbreak of World War I, however, relations between Great Britain and Germany diminished, as the two became enemies within the conflict. This lead to Germany’s declaration of submarine warfare upon the British Isles and a ‘no-sail zone’ for any vessel flying the British flag. On 7 May 1915, the Lusitania was identified by a German U-Boat, torpedoed, and sank in 18 minutes, killing over 60% of the passengers. The vessel went down 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, and instantly became an iconic symbol for American involvement into the now global conflict.

Satirical German medallist Karl Goetz made the original medal concerning this event, but widespread attention from the British audience demanded a further supply of the medal, resulting in a copy such as this example. Though grim and gruesome from a British (and to a smaller degree, American) perspective, these medals were popular and desired for the memory of the liner and her ill-fated passengers. The copies were produced with the proceeds benefitting various charities.