The actor’s ring

Since the 19th century, the “most significant and worthy” actor in the German-speaking theatre world carries the Iffland-Ring.

The Iffland-Ring is a solid iron ring containing a likeness of its namesake (actor August Wilhelm Iffland) surrounded by 28 diamonds. It is passed from actor to actor by will: when one actor dies, his successor receives the ring.

August Iffland
Friedrich Weise (* 1775) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Tradition holds that it was originally commissioned by Iffland himself, but the fifth bearer (Friedrich Haase) may have made the ring and invented the story instead. In either case, the most recent owner – Bruno Ganz – died on Feb 16th, and we have yet to discover his choice for the next bearer of the ring.

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