Lusitania medallion by Karl Goetz, second edition


About this object

In August 1915, German art medallist and sculptor, Karl Goetz produced a commemorative medal marking Lusitania’s sinking. It was one of a series of satirical medals that he produced during the First World War.

Goetz mistakenly engraved the date of the sinking as “5 Mai 1915”. This was seized upon by the British Government as propaganda, claiming it as evidence that the attack was pre-meditated. To encourage this belief, Britain produced 300,000 copies to raise funds for the war effort. Goetz produced a second edition with the correct date, but the damage was done, fuelling anti-German sentiments.
Here is an example of the second edition Lusitania medallion. The obverse shows Lusitania slipping beneath the waves, with war contraband on her deck and the words "No Contraband Goods!" The inscription reads, "The liner Lusitania sunk by a German submarine 7 May, 1915." On the reverse is a skeleton (‘Death’) selling passage in the Cunard Line ticket office. Along the top is "Business Above All" in German, aimed at Cunard for placing passengers’ lives at risk. At the left is a man reading a paper on which are the German words for "U-Boat danger". Behind him is the figure of the German ambassador, Count von Bernstorff, raising a wagging finger as a reminder that Germany had placed a warning notice in the same newspaper as Cunard Line's sailing schedule.

Object specifics

  • Title
    Lusitania medallion by Karl Goetz, second edition
  • Accession no.
  • Type
  • Artist/Maker
    Karl Goetz
  • Place made
    Europe: Western Europe: Germany: Munich
  • Date made
    1916 c
  • Materials
    bronze, cast
  • Location
    Merseyside Maritime Museum, First Floor, Lusitania: Life, Loss, Legacy
  • Measurements
    5.5 mm x 3 mm
  • Related people
    Karl Goetz (Artist/maker)
  • Collection
    From the Merseyside Maritime Museum collections
Object view = Social History
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