Excitement of War
1915, Cast bronze uniface, 50mm, 30.1g, XF, Ernsting WVZ 74
A smooth and slightly concave surface; with raised edge and exergue.
Image of a large head with distorted features, profile right, wearing a flat helmet with spike and chin-strap. The severed head is held above the anxious and gesticulating crowd on a pike, as is a clenched gauntlet. The men and women carry flags and banners. Rim inscription reads KRIEGS - HETZE (Excitement of War). The artist’s initials, L G, are incised into the exergue. C.POELLATH SCHROBENHAUSEN is stamped into the edge at 6:00 o’clock.
The rather ambiguous helmet on the severed head doesn’t provide a clue as to which participating nation it might belong to. The flat nature of the helmet resembles British helmets while at the same time the spike looks like a German military helmet.
Gies claimed during the censoring investigation that this medal was made to warn the Italians about the “German God of War” if they followed through with fighting the Austrians. His arguments were unconvincing and the medal was banned by the German High Command soon thereafter. It is likely that Gies created the medal to show the general war-mongering mood evident throughout Europe at the beginning of the war. It was also a subtle jab towards the bellicose German nationalists and state propaganda.
Known Examples: 10 (9 bronze, 1 iron)
Number in Museum Collections: 7 (6 bronze) located in H, L, M, N, S, V2; (1 iron) located in V.
Number in Private Collections: 3 (bronze)
Sheldon Rarity Scale
R-6 Very Rare (13-30)
R-7 Extremely rare (4-12)
R-8 Unique or Nearly So (1- 3)
|M Munich, Staatliche Münzsammlung (National Coin Collection).
N New York, American Numismatic Society.
P Paris, Musée d’Historie Contemporaine (Museum of Contemporary History).
R Ramat Aviv, Kadman Numismatic Museum.
S Stuttgart, Württembergisches Landesmuseum (Württemberg Regional Museum).
V Vienna, Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (Museum of Military History.
V2 Vienna, Kunsthistoriches Museum (Art History Museum).
|B1 Berlin, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Berlin State Museums).
B2 Brüssel, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Albert I Penningkabinett (Royal Library).
D Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen (State Art Collection).
H Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle (Hamburg Arts Center).
L1 Leverkusen, Städtisches Museum Schloß Morsbroich (Museum Morsbroich).
L2 London, British Museum, Department of Coins and Medals.
L3 London, Imperial War Museum.