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Sale 38 Lot 982

KNIGHT'S CROSS AWARD DOCUMENT
A superb, rare original document awarding the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross to Luftwaffe pilot Friedrich Korner, 4pp. (bi-fold) parchment, 14" x 17", bearing the lithographed signature of Adolf Hitler at bottom. The text of the document reads: "In the name of the German People I give Lieutenant Friedrich Korner the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross Fuhrer Headquarters 6 September 1942 The Fuhrer and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht [Signed] Adolf Hitler". The document is intricately hand-lettered in dark brown India ink, and Korner's name is rendered in raised gold leaf. There are a few trivial toned spots, all but one of which are well clear of text, with a lighter stain under the word "und", and all of which could likely be removed by any competent restorer, otherwise in very good to fine condition. Lacking the red leather presentation folder. Friedrich Körner was born on 24 January 1921 at Schwerte in Ruhrgebiet. He enlisted in the Luftwaffe on 15 November 1939 and on completion of fighter pilot training was assigned to 2./JG 27 based in North Africa. He duly arrived on 4 July 1941. His first victory was achieved on 12 October 1941, when he shot down a RAF Tomahawk fighter over Sheferzen. On 19 March 1942, Körner shot down a RAF P-40 fighter over the sea east of Tobruk for his 10th victory and JG 27's 1000th aerial victory. Körner enjoyed his best day of aerial combat over Marsa Martruh where, on 26 June 1942, he shot down three SAAF P-40 fighters and two RAF Spitfire fighters. Körner shot down 20 aircraft during June 1942. He was the 7th highest scoring German ace in North Africa. Körner was able to achieve multiple kills no less than 7 times while deployed in the North African desert. On 4 July 1942, exactly one year to the day after his arrival in the desert, Körner scrambled in Bf 109 F-4trop (W.Nr. 8696) "Red 9" on a mission to intercept a formation of enemy bombers. Before he could reach the bombers he was intercepted by a flight of South African Hurricane IIC fighters. At 1330, Körner was forced to take to his parachute and was promptly captured by enemy ground forces to remain a prisoner of war in Canada until 1947. His victor was South African ace Lieutenant Lawrence Waugh (6 confirmed, 2 probable and 4 damaged victories) of 1 SAAF Squadron. While interned in Canada, Körner was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 6 September 1942 for his achievements in the desert. Since all Knight's Cross documents were hand-made by only one German firm, Frieda Thiersch, a backlog of orders for award documents soon developed. Also, it should be noted that these meticulously hand-crafted documents were all made using India ink calligraphy, obviously very labor intensive, even when done by the skilled and experienced calligraphers employed by Thiersch. Furthermore, according to very reliable post-war research, these impressive award documents were necessarily produced in "chronological" sequence. In other words, some of the more prominent Knight's Cross recipients received their completed award documents within a matter of days or weeks following their official notification (usually telegraphically); while other recipients waited months, or even years, before receiving their award documents. Many recipients actually never received their large award documents, or "Gross-Urkunden"; only a very small fraction of the more than 7,000 Knight's Crosses awarded, from 1939.
Estimate $ 8,000-10,000

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