The Iffland-Ring is a diamond-studded ring with a picture of August Wilhelm Iffland, a prominent German actor, dramatist and theatre director of the late 18th and early 19th century. The holder, or bearer, of the Iffland-Ring is considered to be the "most significant and most worthy actor of the German-speaking theatre", in the opinion of the previous holder who has passed it to him by will.
One exception to this rule came in 1954, when Werner Krauß was not determined by the previous holder Albert Bassermann but by a committee of German-speaking actors. Three times Bassermann had chosen a successor, and on each occasion the actor chosen had died shortly thereafter. Bassermann considered the ring cursed, and declined to choose a fourth successor. Since his death, the Iffland-Ring has been earmarked as the state property of the Republic of Austria, although the holder retains it until his death.
The origins of the ring are shrouded in some mystery. The apocryphal story is that it was indeed worn by Iffland, but its established history only begins a century later with its supposed fifth holder, Friedrich Haase, who has been suspected of commissioning it for himself and inventing the story.