I may have been collecting too long. Medals that I have always considered common and under priced now frequently send me into sticker shock when I see them offered on the various internet sites. To make matters worse many of the medals offered are only copies, not even originals! Case in point is the German Franco Prussian War service medal. If you have to pay 40.00 or more dollars for one you should at least get an original! As with all the Prussian medals and crosses from 1864-1870, the thick loop on top should have two grooves, one on each side. Even the later official issues of the 1870 medal without the edge inscription still have a grooved loop. The only exception to this rule that I have ever seen is an original medal with a replacement wire loop. How do I know it is an original medal? It has the edge inscription and it is well struck. All the original medals and crosses are very well struck since they are mint products. Most of the copies are weaker strikes, some so weak that there even missing lines in the designs and the lettering looks shallow or faint. With the crosses the edges must be clean cut and straight. The edges on most copies look to be sloped or cut on a slant. The rims often range from high to subsurface on the same cross. The above mentioned copies are contemporary replacement pieces or wearing copies and as such are still collectible and often found in genuine groups but since they are only copies a collector should not pay full price for them.
The scan below includes an 1866 cross, an early issue 1870 medal with edge inscription and the later version without the edge inscription. All are genuine.