Copies can exhibit the same characteristics as an original does, including hallmarks
and numbering. This guide is not intended to be used for authentication. Please be
aware that there are some people out there trying to sell copies or new production
medals as originals. There is always a danger, even to knowledgeable collectors, that
a given medal could be a cleaver forgery.
Exile Crosses were made by SPINK (England) and in the Middle East and in
The wreathes of most versions go in 2 directions from the bottom center, Spink versions
have a "D" loop on the top (Fig. 3) for a small ring that the suspension ring then passes
through. Some Spink versions have "Feathers" in the enamel of the Eagle. Middle east
versions have a lacquered eagle as opposed to an enamel one.
Communist versions are without a crown on the Eagle. They also have,
for the most
part, a band of metal bent around to the back as the device to accept the suspension ring
directly (Fig. 4).
1990~ (III RP)
Current versions have a distinctly "Stamped" appearance to the eagle.
gilt portions look more like paint.
Exile versions have crowned eagle. 1918 on reverse. Eagle often
with more detail than
pre-war version. SPINK versions, sometimes in silver, have "feathers" on the eagle,
showing details in the enamel. Later versions almost seem to have a "bubble" quality to
the eagle, almost a thin convex lens appearance to the eagle. Arms appear convex if
Communist issue. A very small number have crowned eagles (first production).
without crown. 1944 on reverse. 2 main variants. Looking at the medal edge-on, the
arms appear convex on earlier production, and flat on later production (Fig. 7).
This issue is likely a fictional creation of engravers in Poland, but some
claim a few were
made in 1939. Chances are most 1939 Crosses seen now are of modern manufacture.
1940 This issue is very rare. Beware of copies.
1943 This Communist issue is also rare, beware of copies.
This Communist issue has several variants. The most recent issue
has a cheap looking
finish on it. Older issues have a nicer finish.
Exile issue came in many variants, the most important was the addition
of the "Swords"
device from which the medal is suspended. Crosses without swords were still issued.
The swords were added to denote an award for Military Merit in time of War (not in
direct combat) or acts of bravery in perilous circumstances.
Still retains "RP" center, but some no longer have cut-outs between the
rays and the arms. SPINK is stamped on the reverse upper arm of the crosses made by
that firm. Some versions are un-marked. Not usually numbered. Some crosses were
made in Italy by F.M. Lorioli Fratelli and others were made in the field workshops of the
2nd Corps during the war. Crosses with Swords were sometimes issued with the
Swords device copied from pre-War Independence Crosses with Swords or even
genuine pre-war devices left over from old stock. When the Crosses were authorized
in 1942, some left-over pre-war Crosses were awarded.
Communist issue Crosses have many variations. Most Communist
issues are without
cut-outs between the arms and rays of the Cross, but some do have cut-outs.
Some left-over pre-war Crosses were also awarded. Some early communist issues
made in Moscow have a "Dimple" in the center of the reverse of the Cross and have
"RP". The next variant has a concave reverse without the dimple. It also retains "RP"
on the front. The next variant has a concave reverse, but the front now has "PRL" in
the wreath. The final Communist variant has "PRL" on the front and a flat reverse.
1990~ (III RP)
New issues marked "RP" come in many variants, some of which look very similar
pre-war Crosses, complete with cut-outs. Other new issues have a concave reverse and
examples without cut-outs are known. Most new issues have lower quality finish and
look distinctly "New". Be careful that these new production Crosses are not confused
with pre-war originals.
FIG. a: State Mint, II Republic.
FIG. b: Wiktor Gontarczyk, II Republic
FIG. c. State Mint, Warsaw, PRL
Special thanks to: Dr. Wesolowski, Cezary, Piotr and Stefan for information used to compile this page. If you have any information that would be useful to this page, please e-mail me:
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