Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hitler's Gold Party Badges

The most valuable Golden Party Badges in the world changed hands in April in Hamburger, Germany, for more than $15,000 They were a 23.5 mm badge and a 30.5 mm badge belonging to Adolf Hitler and numbered "7". Their appearance solved a mystery regarding the numbering of Hiter's badges.

Oh, but you say you had read that Hitler gave Magda Geobbels his personal Golden Party Badge in the bunker just before the fall of Berlin. He did. And that one was made of solid gold, and it disappeared, probably forever, in the flames covering her body in the bunker yard.

These two recently surfaced badges belonged in the collection of Elfriede and Leo Raubal, the children of Angela Hitler, a daughter of the marriage of Alois Hitler (Adolf's father) with Franziska Merlelsberger. She kept house for her half brother Adolf until 1936. Her second daughter, Angela (Geli) was Hitler's great love, who committed suicide.

Before attempting to clarify the differences between real and fake Golden party badges, there are some other discrepancies that need our attention, referring to the number on Hitler's badge and, indeed, his ranking in the Party.

First, on page 236 of Volume l of "Mein Kampf", Hitler states; So I enrolled myself as a member of the German working class party and received provisional membership card with number "7".

The golden party badges belonging to Elfriede and Leo bear the number "7", and have been thoroughly authenticated. They came into the market with a large horde of very personal items belonging to the family, including Geli's personal photo album, itself extremely rare and valuable.

The appearance of these badges solves some puzzles.

In his excellent reference book for Fuhrer and Fatherland, Political and Civil Awards of the Third Reich, Ltc. Angolia points out that party members up to number 100,000 (who had uninteripted service from February 27, 1925 toNovember 9, 1933) received the Golden Party badges on that November 9, the 10th anniversary of the Munich Beer Hall putsch.

Hitler received these two badges. They are numbered "7" and are bronze with fire-gilding and enamelled center. On the plate of the pins is the marking ''Deschler & Son, Munich 9. GES. GESCH.'' and, of course, the number "7".

According to Geil's mother, Hitler donated these badges to the Party several years later (presumably he or Treasurer Schwarz actually gave them to Geli's mother as a memento), and in exchange Hitler received two new Golden Party badges of solid gold. These were almost certainly renumbered "7", one of which he gave to Magda Goebbels during the Golterdmmerung; the other to Frau Hess under far different circumstances, at the peak of his career in the late 1930's. (Frau Hess has sworn Hitler did give her his Golden Party Badge at that time and that it was definitely numbered "1" and not "7".)

These badges had not surfaced for some 43 years and Author Angolia almost certainly did not know of them when he wrote that Hiter never held Party number 7.

(As an interesting aside, Hitler's personal Blood Order badge had no number. It was thought Number 1 belonged to Rohm and Number 2 to Hess, and Himmler had number 3. All according to Patzwail's "Der Blutorden der NSDAP".)

But back to the Golden Party Badges. While most collectors know that Party members up to number 100,000 (who had the uninterupted service) received golden Party Badges on November 9, 1933, and that many other honorary Golden Party Badges were later awarded, the enigma of "real" versus ''fake'' has always been a struggle for them. While the comments below are not meant to be a definite dissertation on Golden Party Badge fakes, perhaps some of the more obvious differences will help you distinguish the genuine from the replica. A well made fake, particularly when you do not have a original with which to compare it, looks very real.

In the photo are three badges. One is fake. Can you identify it? It's the large one at the bottom.

Look very closely and I'll point out some discrepancies (always compare apples to apples... the large badge to the large badge in this instance.)

First, look at the "O" in Solialislische. The real one (in the large badge) is a circle, in the fake it's an oval. Now look at the swastika.Thin in the fake; stubby and fat in the real badge. Also obvious, when you look closely , are problems with the oakleaves. The real badge featured double lobed leaves, with the topmost of one leaf virtually lying over the stem and lower lobe of the leaf underit . (There were two versions of oak leaf patterns, one with pointed leaves and one with rounded ones.) At any rate, look for that overlay, much like a ''spread'' of a deck of cards, one lying over the bottom third of the one below in. In the fake badge the leaves not only look different, they do not appear to be ''overlaid'' with one another. They also appear to have a vein pattern and in fact a ''ridge'' down the center. On the real badge they are smooth. Finally, the fake badge has a ridged ''border'' all the way around it. The real one does not.

A myth exists about the pins on the backs of the badges in that all real badges should have safety type pins. This is not true. The early badges all had horizontal "safety pin" type catches. But these broke easily and later badges had the vertical stronger pin, as does this fake. Most of the honorary badges as illustrated in Angola's book, have the vertical pins.

We do not have a small fake pin for comparison in this photo, but the one in the picture is real. Its leaves are more like darts and they lie on a ridded partern like a closely-tied railroad track.

Mickey Huffman, "THE MOST VALUABLE GOLDEN PARTY BADGES AND THE MYSTERY THEY SOLVED", Der Gauleiter, 1988

Note: The photos above were taken from this article in "Der Gauleiter". Unfortunatley, 1988 was before we had digital photography and reproducing photos was alway a problem in printing the magazine. I did the best I could with them. If you want to see more you can search the net and find pictures of both original and fake badges. Bob

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2 Comments:

Blogger tokmik said...

First and foremost is the question of what number was on the back of Hitler's Gold Party Badge. Several have surfaced recently and have commanded extraordinary prices at auction, as befits such a significant piece of historical memorabilia. Unfortunately, the "Hitler" badges that have recently appeared have all had one thing in common - the number 7 on the reverse. Gold Buyer

April 20, 2009 6:12 PM  
Blogger Garuche said...

Hitlers Golden Party Badge lot #2028 was auctioned on Oct.15th, 2004 by Hermann Historica in Munich, Germany and sold at a price of 65,000 Euro.(about U.S.$100,000) The winning bidder was a German born American Collector.

The auction lot was described as follows:
His personal badge in a special version of gold and enamel. The inscription on the medallion as well in gold contrary to the silver inscriptions on a normal party Badge. On the rev. side engraved the number "7" and the facsimile signature "Adolf Hitler" along with the stamped hallmark "750" On a threaded pin with a small, toothed, screw disk. Diameter: 31mm. In a case with a blue velvet lining (Not a original case) There is also a pictured certificate of August 9/10 1973
with a handwritten declaration of authenticity by Heinz Linge (Head of Adolf Hitler's personal servants which was designated by Hitler to burn his body after death) and Heinrich Hoffman (Reichs Press Photographer for the NSDAP and Hitlers personnal photographer. They swear on oath that this is the party insignia that 'was made for the Fuehrer sometime around 1937, and which he wore until 1945'

(Pictures of Linge & Hoffmann with the Party Badge accompany the declaration papers)



According to documentation by Hermann Historica the inner enameled porcelain part of the badge was not in the original position. This piece had come off and had unfortunately not been fixed in to the correct position. The repair was made in Munich Germany in Nov. of 2004. A document by Herman Historia certifies that the repair was done in accordance with the buyer of the piece to place the porcelain part back into the original position.
(The correct position is that the point of the swastika which lies above the "A" of "D.A.P." in the inscription circle, is placed exactly above the knot of the oakleaf wreath.)
This delicate repair according to documentation was done by a 94 year-old former employee of Messrs. Fuess, whose father was involved in designing both the Party Badge and also the Honour Badge of the 9th Nov. 1923. Father and son, then doing his apprenticeship at Fuess, made the original tools for both badges.

Linges testimony is that he personally removed the Party Badge from Magda Goebbels (coat, shirt?) after her suicide and prior burning of her body. (Hitler had given the Party Badge to Magda several days prior) Along with some other personal items of Hitler and Eva Brown he gave the items in Berlin to a close friend for safekeeping which he then recovered numerous years later
and sold in 1973 for an undisclosed amount.

Literatur: Klaus D. Patzwall, Das Goldene Parteiabzeichen, Norderstedt 2004 page 45 with color illustrations.

December 24, 2009 11:06 PM  

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