This is an old - not maintained - article of the AEIOU.
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Iffland-Ring, legendary ring showing the portrait of the German actor A. W. Iffland studded with tiny cut diamonds. The German actor Iffland gave the ring to Ludwig Devrient, who passed it on to his nephew E. Devrient. This is how bequeathing the ring to who the testator felt was the best living German-language actor of his time became an established tradition (successors after Devrient were F. Döring, F. Haase and A. Bassermann); in 1935, however, A. Bassermann decided to donate the Iffland-ring to the Bundestheatermuseum. After Bassermann´s death the Federal Minister of Education decided that the ring should again be passed on to the best contemporary German-speaking actor. Accordingly, W. Krauß was awarded the Iffland ring in 1954; his successor was J. Meinrad. After Meinrad´s death the ring was passed on to B. Ganz in 1996. According to the statutes laid down by the Federal Ministry of Education in 1954 the ring has to be passed on even if no official successor has been determined by the previous owner. "By tradition, a woman cannot wear the ring" (W. Krauß). The ring has been the property of the Republic of Austria since 1954 and ever since has served exclusively for the above-mentioned purpose; at present, the ring is passed on either by the Federal Minister of Education or by the Federal Minister of Science.
Literature: Der Iffland-Ring, ed. by V. Reimann, 1962.