Coin World continues reviewing the “12 Days of Christmas” in
Even war couldn’t dim the Christmas spirit
The holiday is a special time for so many folks, but times of
war present particular difficulties for Christmas celebrations.
A 1914 medal by a famous German artist is a reminder of a famous
incident that occurred during World War I that year.
Karl Goetz a prolific medalist, created many pieces having a biting,
satirical edge, but a wartime Christmas medal series he created has a
more somber tone.
The 1914 medal was the first in a series of annual issues released
through 1918. On each, various German military and political leaders
appear on the obverse, while the reverses depict one, two, three, four
or five candles, each relating to the year of the war. The first four
medals bear a legend translating to “Christmas at the front,” but the
final medal’s legend translates to “Christmas at home.”
Though engaged in war, that Christmas German and British soldiers
experienced the famous Christmas truce in 1914.
SEE OTHER ITEMS IN THE LIST HERE
A spontaneous truce erupted on Christmas Eve, as soldiers on both
sides of battle near Flanders, Belgium, erected Christmas trees and
decorations, while singing Christmas carols. Some soldiers reportedly
sent gifts to their enemies a few dozen yards away.
A momentary peace settled on the combatants, and the cease-fire
lasted several days, before commanders demanded the warring factions
The 1914 medal, while not specifically commemorative of that moment
in war, carries the weight of the famous pause in combat, making it an
appropriate addition to the Coin World “12 Days of Christmas” list.
No precise sales record for this medal was found, but a 1915 medal
sold in recent months for $125 by New York dealer Paul
Bosco, who said that price is on target for the 1914 version as well.