Friday, May 29, 2009

The Arthur Eickhorn Presentation Dagger

Located on the southern edge of the Ruhr Valley of Germany is the small town of Solingen whose nickname has long been the "City of Swords." One of Europe’s oldest centers for the manufacture of cutlery and renowned the world over, it ranks in importance with Sheffield, England; Thiers, France; Toledo, Spain; and Nara, Japan. Chartered in 1374, Solingen cutlery has been famous since medieval times and is supposed to have been introduced by crusaders from Damascus. For the past several centuries, Solingen has remained the center of the German edged weapon industry. Even today the "City of Swords" remains one of the world’s key manufacturers of military and civic swords, knives and cutlery. Indeed, the current PUMA firm’s sales catalog states, "Just as Paris is associated with fashion and wines, Detroit with automobiles, Dublin with linens and lace. Amsterdam with tulip bulbs, so Solingen deservedly relates to cutlery.

The early Solingen smiths utilized the small family "cottage industry" approach to the manufacture of edged weapons where items were made by artisans in their own homes. Quality was definitely the name of the game as often the early masters toiled for several days on a single blade. The bulk of the finished products was produced either in the smith’s home or in small makeshift workshops usually located behind the homes. Needless to say, it was inevitable that the demand for Solingen-caliber blades would force a collective pooling of resources into a number of large factories (Waffenfabriken). One of the first large firms to emerge (and one which is still manufacturing quality cutlery today) was the Carl Eickhorn Waffenfabrik in 1865.

Arthur Eickhorn, son of founder Carl ,decided to take advantage of the unique skills possessed by a number of mastercraftsman employed by his father. Over a period of several years, Arthur Eickhorn was instrumental in personally designing a large variety of ornate edged weapons for many differentc ountries and special presentations. A 1967 letter from the Eickhorn firm substantiates that Arthur Eickhorn was involved in the special manufacturing of deluxe items for govemment heads and high-ranking military officers.

One magnificent creation of the eldest Eickhorn son has come into the possession of advanced collector Thomas W. Pooler of San Rafael, California, whose wife Susan graciously assisted in the writing of this article. Without a doubt, the Arthur Eickhorn Presentation Dagger described below represents one of the finest crafted products of "The City of Swords."

The handle, or hilt, of the dagger measures 5" from the gold-platedcrossguard to the crown. Two very beautiful pieces of mother-of-pearl form the grip. On both sides of the pearl grips are solid gold front and backstraps. These straps were probably made from a mold for another dagger, as they have been cut at the top to match the length of the grip. The underside of both straps is artfully inscribed.

The top of the dagger bears an eagle's head. The head itself measures 1.5" high by 2" wide. Extremely delicate oak leaves, instead of penciled feathers, have been etched to form the back of the eagle’s head. Lines of the eagle`s mouth are accurately drawn and extended to form the lower portion of the beak. The upper beak slopes down and ends in the classic hook. The craftsman has even etched in the chin feathers of the eagle. Measuring 1/8"in diameter, ruby gem stones have been placed in the head for eyes and they take on a sparkle with every movement of the dagger. The designer has gone to great lengths in detailing this head as there are tiny tear ducts and eyebrows on the eagle. The turn bolt or spannernut, on the dagger is actually a crown for the eagle, and it is divided into eight panels, bearing alternating patterns of crosses and miniature eagles. The very tip of the crown gives the appearance of eagle talons as the prongs are delicately arched, and appear to hold the crown in place.

The Damascus steel blade was the result of a tedious, skillful and time-consuming effort of an artist. One side of the blade bears the signature."Arthur Eickhorn - Solingen". There are few, if any, blades bearing the entire Eickhorn presentation signature and one on a Damascus blade is even more unusual. On the reverse of the blade, in lieu of the popular Eickhorn logo of a squirrel holding an acorn, is the Eickhorn family crest done in gold (rarely seen). The crest measures just .75" and is completely surrounded by avery delicate filigree design. Thes quirrel is sitting on a helmet which rests on the top of a shield divided into two segments. The upper portion contains oakleaves and acorns while the lower portion depicts a hunting horn, complete with a lanyard (see accompanying art work by Ronald Lang of San Francisco).

The seven-inch blade comes sheathed in a scabbard of grooved black leather with hammered gold-plated fittings. Delicately etched into the fittings are three bands of oak leaves and acorns, two bands on the lower fitting and one band on the upper fitting between the hanger loops. These particular goldplated stirrups are anchored to the scabbard so as to provide no movement either in the rings or stirrups. This is one of the reasons the dagger is thought to be a sample as it would not permit freedom of movement when worn with a uniform. The blade opening at the top of the scabbard has been hand-done. Irregular lines and uneven cuts indicate this was a one-of-a-kind piece and not machine-made.

Unfortunately, the Eickhorn firm has no existing records on this particular piece, as the majority of all Waffenfabriken records were destroyed during the latter stages of World War II when Solingen was heavily bombed by the Allies. Nevertheless. this ornate dagger is truly a work of art and can honestly be rated as a choice collector's piece in anyone's militaria collection!

Thomas M. Johnson and Susan Pooler, "The Arthur Eickhorn Presentation Dagger", WARRIORS, Issue No. 2, c.1970

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Monday, February 23, 2009

German Fireman Siderams

From the days of Imperial Germany to the Third Reich, the German Feuerwehr (Fireman) have had an edged weapons to wear. The German Fire Department was a para-military organization which had ranks of officers and enlisted personnal.

For the most part, the design of the edged weapons of the Fireman remained unchanged throughout the period of the Imperial and Third Reich eras. Until the early 1930's the enlisted man would wear a sidearm which was designed as Model No. 64 by the WKC Waffenfabrik works, and Models No. 916 and 743 by the Eickhorn Firm.

These sidearms were made with a saw-edged blade and were considered as a functional tool for the fireman. Manufacturere other than WKC and Eickhorn probably made this type of sidearm, however, with the exception of the manufacturer's number, they would be of the same design.

The enlisted fireman had a new design of sidearm in the Third Reich period. This pattern was more like the bayonet design and was available in two blade lengths, with or without the saw-edged blade. These sidearms were more of a dress bayonet than a tool for the Fireman. Many manufacturers made this pattern of sidearm, and they are listed in almost every German edged weapons catalog of this period.

Unlike the enlisted sidearm, the Fire Officer's dagger made little if any change through the span form Imperial to Nazi days. The manufacturers of these daggers did not vary their patterns and even the blade engraving was unually standard. These daggers were available in two types of finishes, gilt and silver.

In the early Eickhorn catalogs, and the later Eickhorn Kundendienst catalog, the model number of the dagger (Eickhorn Model No. 42) did not change on the Fire Officer's dagger.

One of the unique sidearms of the Fire Department was the darss ax (Beile). These edged weapons appeared late in the Imperial period and did not become popular until the twenty's and later in the Nazi era. In the 1927 Eickhorn catalog there are ten dress axes listed for the fireman. They range from an extremely elaborate engraved in silver or gold (Models No. 339, 195 and 932) to the plain nickle-plated versions such as No. 709 and 925. The 1927 wholesale prices of the axes varied from $1.59 for the plain models to $6.69 for the deluxe engraved patterns.

On many of the dress fire axes, there was a plate which could be used for a name or even a dedication. Most of the axes found today by the collector do not have anything engraved on these plates. On rare occasion, however, one is found with a dedication.

Some of these dress axes were carried through to the Third Reich period. The 1938 Eickhorn Kundendienst catalog lists some of the models as available in their 1927 catalog. These were numbers 728, 915, 926 and 924. The other models were apparently dropped from production in the Nazi years.

The Eickhorn Company seems to have been one of the few firms to have produced the Firman's ax, as catalogs of other manufactureres studied by the author did not list them.

The fireman's saber made only slight changes between the Imperial and Nazi era. Early Imperial sabers were of the basic army pattern with a "D" type guard and fishskin-wrapped grip. The blades were occasionally engraved with the traditional fire ax and helmet or the fire ladder, with scrollwork around the edges of the etched panel. In most cases, this engraving was an enlarged version of the pattern on the Fire Officer's dagger. Deluxe pattern sabers were of the lion-head style with the fire department crosse-axes and helmet cast into the longet. The hilts were usually silver plating, as were the leather scabbard fittings.

When the Nazis came to power, the Fire Department, previously under local and individual state control fell under the jurisdiction of the National Fire Service, which eventually came under the power of the SS.

Until 1936 the Fire Department saber made little if any changes in design, with the exception of a plastic or celluloid wrapped girp instead of the earlier fishskin pattern. After 1936, the Fire Officer's and NCO's could wear the standard police sword with the police eagle and swastika mounted in the grip. However, this was not mandatory and the Fire Department personnel purchased their own pattern sabers for a dress sidearm.

The Carl Eickhorn Company listed the standard Army saber, with a gilt hilt for both Fire and Police Officers (Model No. 40 in the Eickhorn Kundendienst catalog). Other manufacturers also made the German Army saber in either a solid brass hilt, silver plated, or with a gilt plating for Police and Fire officers. In most cases the Fire Department sabers were offered with a leather scabbard rather than the army pattern metal versions.

Ron G. Hickox, "Daggers and Sidearms of the German Fire Department", Military Collector's News, 1974

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

German War Booty

Formal Award Document Cases of Knight's Crosses Awarded to Luftwaffe Generalmajor Dietrich Peltz. The case on the right is for the Knight's Cross with oakleaves, the case on the left is for the Knight's cross, while the case in the lower center is for the Knight's Cross with oak leaves and swords. All three cases are in mint condition and, most likely, represent the best condition set to survive the war!

Ultra-Rare Spanish Cross in Gold with Swords and Diamonds. Only 27 of these crosses were awarded to veterans of the Legion Condor, making it one of the rarest Third Reich decorations. This item was veteran acquired by Ohio collector Jason P. Burmeister.

The Three Daggers of the Deutsche Wehrmacht. Luftwaffe, Marine and Heer. Each unissued dagger is complete with it's Eickhorn-marked paper issue bag and metal Eickhorn issue tag. Note that the model numbers on the bottom of the bags match the numbers shown in the Eickhorn Kundendienst sales catalog.

This mint-condition artillery standard was veteran acquired by Ohio collector Jason P. Burmeister. These artifacts are highly desirable because of their rarity and the quality workmanship. This standard is constructed of red silk flag cloth with silver bullion embroidery and fringe.

Heinrich Himmler's SS identity card #168 designating Himmler as the Reichsfuhrer-SS. The card is hand signed on the reverse by Hitler.

Thomas M. Johnson, "World War II German War Booty - Vol. III", Author Published, 1998

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Wearing the Army Dagger

An Army Leutnant Poses for his Formal Portrait with his Army Dagger Complete with Portepee tied in the Method Specified by the 4 May 1942 Order. The hanger buckles and portion of the straps can be seen extending beneath the skirt of his Enlisted Pattern service tunic. The Iron Cross 2nd Class ribbon is looped through the second button hole while the German Sport badge is pinned to his left breast pocket. Note that the unit insignia on the shoulder straps have been covered with slides as ordered at the beginning of the war. This order was later rescinded in early 1944.

A High Grade Career Official with the role of Major roses in Service Uniform Wearing his Army Officer Dagger with Portepee. The dagger is suspended from deluxe hangers featuring oak leaf embellished suspension clips. The collar patches with serrated litzen denote the high grade career.

In This Period Portrait an Army Leutnant Poses with his Army Dagger Complete with Portepee in the 1935 Regulation "Tie" and Standard Hangers Suspended from beneath the Skirt of the Tunic. The reverse of the photograph is signed,"Kreuzholler, LTN Kriegsjahr 1940". His decorations include the iron Cross 1st Class and the SA Sport badge.

An Army Leutnant Poses with his 1935 Pattern Officer's Dagger Complete with Portepee. The dagger is suspended from beneath the skirt of the tunic and appears to have a white celluloid-over-wood or ivory grip rather than the more common yellow or orange variety.

This Period Photograph Comes to the Author Directly from the Son of the Young Army Leutnant Clutching his 1935 Pattern Army Officer Dress Dagger. The son preferred that his father's name be omitten in this photograph caption. Note that the portepee is tied in the manner prescribed by the 1935 Army regulation and that the Officer is wearing regulation grey suede gloves with his Service uniform.

This Period Signed Portrait of Major Helmuth Rogge Providesan Excellent View of the 1935 Pattern Army Officer Dagger Complete with Portepee and Deluxe Hangers. A veteran of WWI Service, Major Rogge was the brother of Bernhard Rogge who was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oakleaved as Commander of the Kriegsmarine Surface Raider "Atlantis". Among Major Rogge's awards are the 1939 Spange to the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class, 1939 Iron Cross 1st Class and General Assault Badge.

Ltc. (Ret.) Thomas M. Johnson, "Wearing the Edged Weapons of the Third Reich", Volume III, Author Published, 1998

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Third Reich Edged Weapon Accouterments

"It is proverbial that well dressed soldiers are usually well be haved soldiers."

- John A. Lejeune, Reminiscences of a Marine

If one segment of the field of collecting the edged weapons of the Third Reich has been grossly ignored, it is the minute amount of research devoted to the subject of accouterments. A dictionary definition of the term "accouterment" is "equipage; trappings; the equipment, excluding arms and clothing of a soldier." The word has an alternate American spelling of "accouterment" and a primary British spelling of "accoutrement." In the edged weapon collector/researcher vernacular, the term usually connotes the hangers (straps), frogs, portepees (knots) and belt loops associated with the various edged weapon sidearms.

With the exception of a paperback reference published by the author in 1978, the sum total of what has been compiled and printed to date on Third Reich edged weapon accouterments would hardly fill a shot pamphlet. Thus, a few years ago the author began an extensive research effort to overcome this deficiency. Due to the nature of the subject, i.e. accouterments were considered to be mere inexpensive trappings for the basic sidearm, information proved to be extremely sketchy, even in the original source documents. This noticeable lack of source information obviously played a major influence on the subsequent abbreviated effort devoted to the subject. Given the inclination and time, the serious collector/researcher can uncover countless sales catalogs, advertisements, magazine articles (appearing in various trade publications)which cover in detail the myriad of edged weapon designs, but, alas, much of this tome of literature is sans any mention of the accompanying accouterments. In fact, the corresponding data on the type, dimensions, and colors of the numerous organizational accouterments are practically nonexistent. However, where there is a will, there is a way. Many serious collectors/researchers recognizing the major void on this subject in the available reference works, began an accumulation of their own, consisting of copious notes and detailed sketches, which were subsequently utilized to identify an unknown accouterment. This chapter draws heavily upon these private studies, as well as upon the the few original source documents on the subject.

The purpose of an edged weapon hanger is basic - a means is required to attach the sidearm to the body of the wearer. However, the use of the (now) decorative portepee or knot bears an interesting history which dates back to the days of horse-mounted combat, when the portepee served an import and utilitarian purpose. When the sword was the primary combat weapon of the mounted cavalryman, the sword knot was wrapped around the rider's wrist with the acorn (ball) grasped tightly in the hand. If the "jostler" had the sword knocked from his hand, all was not lost. The rider could rapidly regain control of the sword and continue his attack. When the requiem was finally sounded for the horse-mounted cavalry as a viable means of combat, the role of the sidearm portepee evolved into a strictly decorative one, to wit, one modern dictionary definition of the term ''knot'' is "a piece of ribbon or similar material tied or folded upon itself and used or worn as an ornament."

One exception to the lack of detailed source material on accouterments surrounds the detailed descriptions of some of the presentation type accouterments. For example, an ample description of the hangers designed to accompany the famed Hermann Goring Reichsmarshal dagger can be found on page 7 of the Publishing House "Die Ordenssammlung" Pamphlet Number 16. A complete English translation of this description follows:

At the end of October 1940 the special manufacture of the dagger hanger for the Reichs Marshal has completed. It consists of, as is customary, two slightly angled hanging white cloth straps - with 2mm thick edging - which are covered with 20mm wide stripes. These stripes are interwoven with two 5mm wide gold stripes. The straps are attached above, next to one another on the gold plated snap attachment. The individual straps are identical, except that the front one is somewhat shorter to accomplish the angular position of the dagger. The straps are about 20mm wide and have gold plated spring-hooks at the lower end attached in the middle of a simple rectangle. A gold-plated buckle to adjust the length, and a gold plated slide which presses the straps together in the area of the spring hook are similarly ornamented. In the middle of the front side the rectangular surfaces are decorated with two oak leaves which emerge to the left and to the right to form a bead. The slide has only one such surface, however, the buckle has two which are connected by two lateral, grooved straps which form a kind of frame.

The edged weapon accouterments were generally manufactured by specialty firms and not by the major Waffenfabriken (arms factories). Even in the cases where the Waffenfabriken sales catalogs reflect various hangers and portepees offered for sale, these items were normally purchased from a subcontractor. As with everything else associated with this business, a few exceptions did exist. When (then) Major James P. Atwood inspected the Solingen weapon factories in the early 1960's (the subject of Chapter 2, COLLECTING THE EDGED WEAPONS OF THE THIRD REICH VOLUMEN II), the Carl Eickhorn firm's remaining wartime stock included several boxes of hardware and rolls of cloth material for the assembly of Second Model Luftwaffe dagger hangers.

Today, many a collector has realized, and often to his chagrin, that the accompanying accouterments for a particular edged weapon may be just as difficult (and in some cases, more difficult) to aquire than the sidearm itself. For example, compare the availability of the Government Official/Diplomatic daggers to the availability of their respective accouterments (ditto the HitlerYouth Leader and the Water Protection Police dagger). Since each dress sidearm required a set of a hangers for wear, the reader may wonder why this is the case. The most probable answer is that during World War II, and immediately thereafter, very little monetary value was assigned to the edged weapons themselves much less the accouterments. Original leather and fabric dress hangers that sell today for premium prices were considered to be"worthless straps" and '"extra baggage" and were promptly discarded. Thus, with a very limited number of accouterments being "liberated" and saved from eventual destruction after the war, the law of supply and demand has produced a major escalation of accouterment values to the collector.

Thomas M. Johnson, "Collecting the Edged Weapons of the Third Reich, Vol. III", Author published, 1978.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008


The Solingen Weapon Industry in the National-Socialistic State

By Engineer Heinz Auelmann, Solingen "Die Klinge" June 1936

"Solingen made me." thus our old masters used to perpetuate themselves on the blades of the swords they created. As early as a thousand years ago, but mainly in the 16th century, thanks to the artistic and technical skills of the inhabitants of our "Blade City" at that time, the foundation was laid for what was to become the German Armory of Solingen. With justified pride the City of Solingen may remember their ancient masters as the creators of their industry today, who without knowledge of modern techniques and on their own, created works of art that are still exemplary today.

The free man's defense, the sword, is like no other weapon intimately tied to the German people. The Teutons used to place a sword by the new-born's side in the cradle to provide him with courage and a warlike spirit in defense of his soil. By the ceremony of buckling on the sword, the adolescent became a consecrated warrior. Finally, a man was laid to rest in the grave with his sword to his right.

Sacred oaths were taken by placing hands on the sword blade. Saxons, Franconians, Danes and Normans thus gave the oath of peace and loyalty. With many a German tribe swords enjoyed godlike veneration, being considered a symbol of justice and jurisdiction, a sign of sovereign authority, of power and might. Until deep into the Middle Ages it was the preferred weapon which, for protection or defiance, the free man always carried at his side. We can only measure the high value of the sword when we consider how the wealand woe of each individual fighter depended upon the skilled command of the sword, the quality of its steel and its manufacture. It is a fact that before the invention of firearms, the sword was the principal weapon on which rested the decision of the battles, as has been the case even in more recent times during hand-to-hand combat. From ancient times the sword has maintained its use as the noblest honor gift. On its presentation a lasting relationship of loyalty and friendship was sealed.

Also edged weapon dedications and inscriptions have been kept alive until our time. Mostly applied to the blade, solemn epigrams are to remind the bearer and owner of his duties. The Germanic peoples called these inscriptions the "sword blessing". Characteristic of people and time are the pithy sayings of the 16th century which above all manifest deep piety and were carried by devout lansquenets, who before the beginning of the battle were on their knees in ardent prayer and then, a moment later, knew how to reconcile it with their conscience when emptying the farmer's purse and chicken-coop.

Full of genuine war-spirit are the admonitions on the swords during the Thirty Year War: "Victory or Death" - '"Under the Weapons the Law's areSilent." - "Neither Foolhardy Nor Fearful." A word of exhortation to the entire German people is the sword epigram of "Hermann" in the Teutoburg Forest: "German unity my strength, my strength Germany's might."

Si vis pacer, para bellum! (If you want peace, prepare for war)

Never had peace been more ominously threatened than at the time when mutineers and deserters knocked Germany's weapons out of her hands and placed her, defenseless, at the mercy of foreign powers. As far as Germany was concerned, disarmament, as stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles, was carried out scrupulously, as ascertained even by the Interallied Control Commission. However, the former enemy states disregarded their own treaty,which was to initiate an international general disarmament, and escalated armament according to most modern viewpoints.

Germany was near internal decay. Led by incompetent governments, the people were tearing themselves to pieces in class struggle and party disputes. High treason was elevated to an "affair of honored." Born from the spirit of our undefeated army, moulded and fought for by the Fuhrer, the idea of National Socialism arose, and a new belief in an eternal Germany with honor and freedom. In the auditorium of the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Adolf Hitler on February 24, 1920, proclaimed for the first time the program of the NSDAP. Point 22 of the program says" "We demand the abolition of the mercenary troops and the formation of a people's army"

Imperturbably the Fuhrer fought for the soul of the people. The NSDAP was ridiculed and jeered, then persecuted and prohibited and combated with all means of vileness. Through misery and self-denial and with enormous blood sacrifices one position after the other was conquered. The appointment of the Fuhrer to Chancellor of the German Reich on January 30, 1933, finally broke the spell. Germany received her honor back, and her freedom brought along the law for the reconstruction of the armed forces on March 16, 1935.Point 22 of the NSDAP program was thus accomplished.

As fighters for an ideology today's boys and men of the different organizations of the NSDAP carry the daggers bestowed on them by the Fuhrer. It isproudly worn as an outward sign of constant readiness to valiantly stand up forAdolf Hitler and his idea and, if need be, sacrifice one's life.

Displaced through modern war techniques, the sword, for army, navy and air force, is not to be primarily a weapon, but rather a symbol of the desire for military preparedness of its bearer who knows how to protect the borders of his country.

Thomas M. Johnson, "Collecting the Edged Weapons of the Third Reich - Vol. II", Author Published, 1976

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Reproduction? Recognition!


During the three decades since the endof World War II there has been growing interest in the military technology of Hitler's Germany. This is especially true of the edged weaponry of the Third Reich.The unparalleled enthusiasm expressed by collectors for German WWII edged weapons continues to reach new heights. Scarcity and increased demand by collectors and investors have produced greater interest in this field of collecting than in any time in the past. Unfortunately,this increase in demand and subsequent increase in value has surfaced a real culprit to intimidate collectors- the reproduction Third Reich edged weapon.

As mentioned in my own text on Third Reich edged weapons, the one subject which collectors request information on more than any other is the subject of reproductions and how to accurately identify them. Indeed, finding a collector who has never purchased or traded for a reproduction or "parts" edged weapon is harder to find than a chained SA dagger! I know of no more disheartening experience in this hobby than to learn that oneself has squandered a sizeable sum of money on what later turns out to be a reproduction. It definitely behooves every collector to become an expert indistinguishing spurious pieces.

To date only the mere surface has been scratched on this vital subject. What is sorely needed, and has been needed for years, is a separate definitive study on reproductions.

Reproduction Nazi daggers first made their appearance immediately following World War II. Enterprising Solingen manufacturers recognised the souvenir demand for their edged weapons and hastily assembled the first "parts" daggers out of war-time surplus part sand, where needed, post-war parts. However, the major deluge of reproductions was not witnessed until the values of authentic pieces had escalated to a high enough plateau to make the manufacture of reproductions economical. Although the establishment of an exact date when the plateau was reached is an exercise in futility, the majority of collectors will place this date during the early sixties. During that time frame, the values of many authentic Third Reich edged weapons had reached the critical point making reproductions a very profitable venture. The floodgates were opened and bogus pieces were soon to be manufactured in England, Spain, and the United states, as well as in Germany. Several of the original WorldWar II Waffenfabriken (arms factories) resorted to assembling and manufacturing spurious edged weapons as a source of additional income.

Initially, the quality of these edged weapon reproductions was definitely substandard, and even the novice collector/researcher had little difficulty in segrigating the "wheat from the chaff". Unfortunately, the reproduction manufacturers refined their processes to where a highly experienced eye is now required to identify their wares.

Little has been done to turn the tide against the unscrupulous occupation of marketing spurious collectibles. It is doubtful that any future international legal restraints will hamper this operation, and reproductions will continue to be dumped into the market place in ever increasing numbers. Thus, the only rational course of action is to identify reproductions in their true relationship to the original pieces rather than ignore and, subsequently, mistake them for originals. The only defence against the reproduction onslaught is to arm oneself with full knowledge of reproduction manufacture, types, etc.

In sum, an erudite reference devoted solely to the subject of reproduction Third Reich edged weapons is long overdue, and, in my opinion, my good friend Fred Stephens is the most qualified individual on either side of the Atlantic to author such a text. This reference, which has been compiled over the past several years should more than fill the void in this all-important area.

Thomas M, Johnson,LTC, US Army.

Author's Forward

This book has been designed to serve as an identification handbook covering the basic range of reproductions of German Third Reich blades. It does not, of course, cover every reproduction - let alone every variation of reproduction -but I hope that it will equip the interested collector with enough facts and information to be able to approach the subject with some degree of confidence and competence, and that he can probe the far dark corners of this arcane subject without the unpleasant experience of getting his fingers burnt.

I have not undertaken this work in a crusading spirit - hell-bent upon destroying the market in reproduction daggers. Such an ideal would not only be impossible, but also impracticable. The moral and ethical considerations of the subject are beyond the scope of this books. The emotive in researching it has been to note that there are differences between original and reproduction daggers and because there are such differences it is worthy that they be identified and annotated.

The most important consideration that arose whilst researching this book (over a period of some ten years), was that there has never been a more propitious time at which to undertake such a study. The mass-production of reproductions has evolved through a period in which the originals have been becoming scarcer. Having had an opportunity to study the originals under conditions which held no doubts regarding authenticity, it has been an advantageous position to hold whilst sorting out reproductions to study for comparison. If this book had not been attempted now there would have been less likelihood in the future of having had the best opportunity to study with complete assuredness. In the more distant future, say 50 years hence, such a study would have been for the most part conjecture, and for the lesser part provable facts.

It is for the collectors and researchers of future years that I have really written this book - hopeful that I will give them a source of information upon which they can rely and a solid base from which to extend. It is the collectors of the present age, however, who have made the compilation of this book possible and I am indebted to a great many people for their time, effort, and sincere interest in helping me bring this work to fruition. It has been their interest, and genuinec oncern for the recording of true facts and worthwhile information that has maintained the stimulus to keep on at this work until it has emerged as a useful work of reference.

Apart from being a work of reference, this book is also something of a tribute to my dear friend, Andrew S. Walker. It was Andy who originally promoted the idea of the book to me, and whose superb photographs are to be noted in this work. Unfortunately, Andy will not see this completed book, having died in a tragic accident in June, 1975. His contributions, however, have remained valuable inclusions.

Gordon J. Whlte of Rugby, Warwickshire, has had the problem of coping with hundreds of my ham-fisted negatives, and producing the vast volume of prints from which the final selection was made.

My good colleague, and noted authority, Lt. Col. Thomas M. Johnson, US Army, responded immediately to my request for photos and information at a time when he was immersed in his own outstanding work. Tom has been an unending source of encouragement, and was kind enough to write the Preface for this work.

Andy Southern Jr., an outstanding photographer from California generously contributed his time and photographs, and they are superb.

Many other people have contributed generously to this work, and I would particularly like to single out for thanks : Thomas W. Pooler ; Joseph P. Curry; Herman A. Maeurer; Hugh Page Taylor; Andrew Mollo ; David J. Hemmings ;Mike Bassett; Peter G. Grane ; David Delich ; Leslie Cox; Lt. Col. John R. Angolia ; Carl Fermor; John Cash; Sgt. James G. Selcan USAF ; Eric Campion; Dr: Julien Milestone ; R. Moses ; Roy Butler and staff of Wallis and Wallis; Doug Nie and staff of Weller and Dufty; Wolfgang Herrman of Count Kleman Ltd. and John Lindop.

Apart from the above, a great many other people also contributed generously to this work, but elected to do so under the proviso of remaining anonymous. To all who have given me help and encouragement, I extend my warmest thanks and gratitude.

Frederick J. Stephens, 1976

Frederick J. Stephens, "Reproduction? Recogintion!", Published by the author, 1976

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Edged Weapons Maintenance and Storage

As we are all well aware, serious collectors of most items invest much time, effort and money in their area of interest. Often the pursuit of an item and the actual acquisition are considered the biggest challenges but this is just the beginning of a constant progression of problems that must be addressed in a timely manner in order to protect their investment.

With the investment of time and money, the collector must assume the responsibility to protect his investment as well as the preservation of the particular item for future collectors and historians. Nothing is more exasperating than to observe the deterioration of a higilly desirable piece or collection over a period of time due to lack of attention to preservation.

Rust or metal corrosion is the main culprit that me must overcome to insure the preservation of edged weapons. Rust forms on an iron containing metal surface under a common set of occurrences. The moisture content of the atmosphere, optimally at a percentage range above 65%, coupled with the presence of salts or acids on the metal surface leads to rust formation. Salts and acids are usually present due to touch contamination via the hand or are present in dust or dirt particles that are allowed to accumulate on the surface of the metal.

The best manner in which to retard rust formation is to eliminate the elements required by keeping the metal free of dust and salt contaminants and holding the humidity of the air below 60%. Attention to removing finger prints (a salt and acid containing contaminant) and storage in a closed display case to reduce dust and girt contamination should retard rust formation.

Attention to condition and the manner in which the item is stored is also necessary to preserve and edged weapons. A closed case can be both an advantage or a disadvantage unless certain steps are taken to insure optimal conditions. A silicon polish can be useful by forming a barrier to dust and dirt contaminates. However, the surface should be inspected periodically to insure that protection is maintained. The more often an item is examined, the more often it is necessary to re-coat (not repolish) the item with silicon polish. Humidity must be routinely checked in a closed area.

Storage in a closed area without some air exchange will allow humidity to reach an unacceptable level. Humidity should be monitored routinely and kept well within the acceptable limits. Any type of cloth material, especially a felt based will hold humidity, This is especially suspect if the natural unplated blade remains in direct contact for any long period of time.

Any closed and sealed area is not suitable for edged weapon storage. Sudden changes in temperature can lead to moisture accumulation by condensation. This cannot escape from a sealed area and will cause rust to form. Also paper or cardboard left in the storage area, a packing or wrapping material, will hold moisture at an unacceptable level. Newspaper is especially high in sulfur content and when coupled with moisture will form sulfuric acid which will attack the metal. This is why older newspapers yellow over a period of time. Coin dealers cite sulfur content as the reason coins darken when left in manila envelopes.

Location of the storage case also can be a problem, especially if the basement of a house or building is used. Humidity in these locations are usually higher than the acceptable level and monitoring is a must if this area is used. Also, a peg board can be used to allow full air exchange around the item with the most flexibility for display.

Items with leather present in the form of scabbards or hangers will require much more attention. The natural tanning salts in leather lead to problems over a period of time, so the removal of leather is optimal if at all possible. Storage of blades outside of the scabbard is very desirable in this situation.

If blades are displayed in the closed case to limit dirt and dust, storage of blades outside of the scabbard is advantageous, This allows for routine inspection, reduction of runner marks" and the preservation of leather contact where applicable.

Brass fittings are especially susceptible to leather problems, A green film forms with brass and nickel containing fittings when leather is in contact with the metal surface over a long period of time. This "green film", especially if remaining for several years, can actually attack the surface and leave a dull pitted area. I have noticed this periodically on M33 SS daggers with the vertical suspension device.

Blades can be routinely protected by silicon polish. Oil, even when lightly applied tends to hold moisture in contact with the surface causing rusting and darkening of the blade. Even Vaseline, often used as a protectant, under optimal condition is of some question for it's protective value. It is however, less of a darkening agent due to it's purity. Again; if this agent is used, routine inspection is required.

Blued or anodized scabbards can best be protected with a light coat of oil. These must be thoroughly cleaned prior to the application as a routine safeguard. Again, the removal of leather hangers is a must for long term storage, Often very light rust can be easily removed with triple ought steel wool prior to oil application without any damage to the scabbard. A light pressure is required and no buffing can be tolerated.

Leather scabbards can be best preserved by the application of polish after a good cleaning. Leather scabbards with a metal liner can also be polished and the seams can be re-sealed prior to polishing if required. Elmer's glue appears to be an excellent agent for sealing and any excess can be removed wi th a damp clean terry cloth prior to polishing. An excellent brand of polish that is available in various shades is Meltonian from Great Britian.

Silver anti-tarnish cloth makes an ideal container for daggers and the storage of daggers outside their scabbards in a bank's safe deposit box can be a very safe method, I have stored my Himmler SS presentation dagger in this type of bag for over four years with no noticeable change from the choice mint condition the dagger was in when obtained from the veteran. Also, I have monitored the humidity in the bank and have found it to be below 60% the year around, A humidity gauge left in the bank box and checked weekly for a few months should be your best guide.

Improper handling and storage can leave telltale marks on an edged weapon. One only has to observe an SA or SS dagger with darkened finger print stains to see what poor attention and storage can do to a prime collectible, Although these can be modified with polishing, they will never be remove totally unless the entire blade is repolished which is abhorrent to the true collector. The collector must preserve and maintain the items in his care.


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Friday, July 4, 2008

Collecting the Edged Weapons of the Third Reich

The Third Reich, as Adolf Hitler viewed it, was to be an Organic Society, that is, a society in which all parts were to be in harmony with the whole, subject to the supreme will of the Fuhrer. No part would be permitted to function independently outside the whole, with a life of its own. Thus all institutions the schools, churches, businesses, industries, the arts, the sciences and the military - were to be injected with heavy doses of National Socialist ideology and subject to firm Party control, with coercion being used wherever necessary. The purpose was not to oppress but to unify: all in harmony with one another. With a common goal and a Great National Purpose visualized for them by the Fuhrer, a better life for all Germans would be achieved. The Nazis had a word for this concept: EINHEIT, meaning one-ness or unity. For Adolf Hitler, Einheit was a mystical concept.

The visual realization of Einheit was in those colorful, spectacular ceremonials and mass-meetings that were endemic throughout the life of the Third Reich and were its most glamorous feature. Through the mass meeting the symbolic unity between the lone Fuhrer on the high tribunal and the vast anonymous masses before him was achieved; each in spiritual harmony with the other, the vertical lines of the standing men echoed in the vertical architectural effects surrounding them. People, Fuhrer, and architecture all formed a single harmonious unit in visual as well as symbolical form.

But ceremonials are not very exciting without all the paraphernalia that goes with them. Colorful banners in profusion, snappy uniforms a-glitter with decorations, insignia of rank, dress swords and daggers, and plenty of stirring music; these were the necessary ingredients for any successful Nazi ceremonial.

With his intuitive gift for the nature of crowd psychology, Adolf Hitler shrewdly exploited the potential power of the visual arts to make and sway opinion. Thus, under his direction, the political ceremonial was raised to a fine art conducted with a professional finesse seldom found in similar events in other countries.

The ceremonial was designed to give the ordinary citizen a chance to "dress up," to escape the mundane world of his personal problems. Through the ceremonial the citizen could solidify his sense of belonging to a group, which would present itself along with other groups before the Fuhrer and thereby join one another in the spirit of Einheit.

A uniformed group, with its standards and accouterments, formed an impressive visual unit when it was massed together. All parts of a standard were designed to fit harmoniously with one another and with the men who would carry them; Hitler's own design, the ubiquitous Swastika banner, was a masterpiece of visual harmony. Each insignia, each decoration, each sword and dagger was also designed to be part of the visual whole, to not only be harmonious within itself but also to "fit" with the uniform, which, when seen with other uniforms massed together in one group, would form a single impressive unit ready to join with others to form still larger units. From the smallest dagger to the large blocks of massed uniforms and standards, the psychological purpose was the same: to inspire the citizen (both as a participant and as spectator) with the power and glory of the Reich, to confirm his chauvanistic pride in all things German, and to give humble thanks to the Fuhrer who made it all possible.

Thus a dress sword or dagger was not a mere potentially useful object; like all other ceremonial objects which the Third Reich produced in such profusion, it had a symbolic significance which bordered on the mystic. Its design was conceived in the spirit of Einheit, with all its parts in harmony with the whole object.

There is something about swords and daggers that arouses deep primitive feelings in people, especially in men. They figure in song and story as ancient symbols of courage, honor, and authority; indeed, skill with one often meant the difference between life and death. Daggers in particular figure quite prominently in ancient Germanic mythology; even women of the Germanic tribes wore them and were adept at using them.

Design of Third Reich dress daggers was primarily ancient Germanic or medieval in flavor; some had classical overtones and others were quite baroque.Here the purpose was to form a visual link between the present and the past, to show that the Third Reich was a continuation of the hallowed old Germanic virtues and traditions into the present. The Art Deco style of the 1930's, so fashionable among the advant-garde in other countries, was nowhere to be seen in the design of Nazi edged weapons and only very rarely in other Third Reich artifacts. Since this style derived from French Cubism it was therefore condemned by the Fuhrer as "degenerate" and "un-German." Dagger designs ranged from the ugly chunkiness of the Labor Corps hewing-knife to the graceful stiletto of the Hitler Youth leader. All were adorned with the appropriate symbols of the various organizations for which they were issued.

Although Adolf Hitler himself designed all of the basic iconography of the Third Reich, he is not known to have ever designed a dagger. Nor did Frau Gerdy Troost, who designed so many of the silver objects of the Nazi Regime, ever design a dagger or sword. The majority of the artists who did design them were anonymous, and probably designed other types of regalia as well (the Third Reich, under the aegis of its art-minded Fuhrer, was a paradise for political designers who were both talented and ideologically reliable.)

History has shown that as a nation becomes an empire its designs develop from simple forms to more complex ones. This certainly happened during the Third Reich. A good example of this among the edged weapons is a comparison between the elegant medieval-style of the early Luftwaffe dagger and the later ornate baroque design which replaced it. Heavy, complex designs have always been symbols of power, wealth, and authority; but whether the Nazi designers were conscious of this is not known. Designs of major significance in daggers as well as the other regalia were usually shown to the Fuhrer for his approval; his suggestions were always religiously obeyed. In time, Hitler's own taste became more baroque as he succumbed to megalomania.

Daggers and swords were accorded the same status in the Third Reich as were the standards and decorations, no more, no less. They were all integral parts of the whole. There was no cult of the dagger in Germany as there was a cult of the sword in Japan.

The presentation of a dagger, especially of a dagger with an engraved inscription on its blade, like the presentation of a new standard or decoration, was an occasion for a solemn ritual which affirmed faith and loyalty between the giver and the receiver, and between both to Fuhrer and Reich. All parts of the dagger's design, at least in theory, were to be in harmony with the form and spirit of the whole object, which in turn was to be in harmony with the use and setting to which it was put. All parts of the ritual in which it was presented, and the ceremonials in which it was worn, were segments of the larger whole symbolized by the slogan "One Reich, One People, One Leader." The Nazis consciously and deliberately practiced a concept unique in the 20th Century and not seen in Europe since the 17th - Total Art. Thus each dress dagger that one sees out of context in a collector's drawer or on his wall was far more than just a useful object or a pretty adornment. It represented Einheit, the spirit of Adolf Hitler's Organic Society in a microcosm.

Major Johnson, for fifteen years a collector and internationally-recognized authority on the subject of German edged weapons, has produced a wellresearched book which should prove to be invaluable to the beginner as well as the advanced collector and/or researcher of Third Reich edged weapons. Though only a small part of the regime's vast array of accouterments, Nazi blades have proven to be among its most popular collector's items.

Karen Kuykendall (professional artist, author, and collector of Third Reich relics since 1947) Casa Grande, Arizona.

Thomas M. Johnson, "Collecting the Edged Weapons of the Third Reich Vol. 1", Author Published, 1975

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Reproduction Diplomatic and State Official's Daggers

Here are some observations concerning the large number of well-made reproductions of the silver plated Diplomatic/State service Official's series daggers, currently being offered as originals. These specimens are becoming more and more prolific at gun shows and on dealers lists. Their sophistication is attested to by the number of knowledgable collectors being "burned" by them.

The earliest reproductions of this series of blades can easily be identified by checking the features listed in the following references under their respective headings; EDGED WEAPONRY OF THE THIRD REICH, Maj. John R. Angolia, 1974, pages 198-99. BLUEBOOK OF IDENTIFICATION OF REPRODUCTION NAZI EDGED WEAPONS, R. McFarlane, 1969, pages 24-25. The latter more deceiving and sophisticated repros have every single feature in these 2 references corrected.

There are, however, still a few salient characteristics that the prospective buyer of one of these blades can look out for. Those that I've noticed are:

1. The phonies generally show a highly polished, tinny chrome-like finish to all plated parts. This plating is very thin on the repros and appears to wear through easily. Underneath is a yellowish-colored base matal which shows through on many of them. Originals retained a much deeper, darker silver-like lustre which I have never noticed to wear through to the base metal.

2. Every late model reproduction I've seen to date has had a very pronounced ridge or outline running along the outer edge of each oak leaf that goes to make up the scabbard bands. Originals had no such cutline on the leaves. Also make sure there is an acorn on the lower left section of the scabbard bands, when facing the scabbard frontaly. All originals have this feature, repros don't.

3. While the crossguard eagle is cast very well, the newer phonies will sometimes show distorted head detail. In such cases, the eagles beak and eyes are somewhat misshaped and show poor casting. Originals generally showed good detail in this.

4. Notice the tang-nut which holds the entire piece together. Original specimens incorporate 2 small holes to accomodate a spanner. The reproductions I've seen generally have 2 larger size holes that those on the good pieces. Many times these holes are out of round due to assembly and disassembly with improper tools, and their subsequent effect on the inferior base metal is noticeable.

5. The small leather washer fitted to the ricasse of the blade is usually very thick in width and unevenly cut on the bad pieces. New appearance is obvious. Originals have a fitted, thin oval washer which, regardless of use, invariably shows its age.

6. Lastly, examing any accoutrements that may be present with the dagger. The hangers should consist of a silver, patterned facing sewn to a black velvet backing on each strap, with 2nd Luftwaffe buckles and retainer rings, and Army officer type suspension ramps and top snap fastener. These are very rare and originals will not generally be seen with a bad dagger. Beware if the backing is anything other than black velvet, or if the top fastener and suspension ramps are 2nd Luftwaffe fittings, probability is that they are bad. Also take note of the portepee, if one is tied to the handle. It should consist of a thinner than normal cord with about a 2/3rds normal size acorn. Only this type of knot was used on this series and, like wise, are very rare and never seen on reproductions. They will usually have a standard Army officer's 16 1/2 inch aluminum portepee tied to the handle, in lieu of the proper trappings.

I hope these findings will keep prospective buyers from throwing away their hard earned cash on a worthless reproduction. Don't discount the information contained in the above listed references, but don't let a fast-talking shyster convince you to spend $800. or more for a phony by citing how his "gem" doesn't have any of the characteristics noted in the references. Most blade collectors know the painful experience of showing off their prize pigs ticker to a knowledgeable enthusiast who subsequently informs them that the only good thing about that piece of junk on the wall is that it can perform its intended function on the posterier of the crook who sold it to them.


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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

SA Dagger Trademarks

Quite often, while engaged in my favorite pastime, I would notice the description "rare" or "unusual maker" applied to early S.A. daggers. It got to the point that every other dagger I ran across was classified as having a rare maker mark. "They can't all be that rare." I thought to myself.

Time went by and curiosity finally got the better of me. Just who were the "rare" makers and how many makers were there anyway? I decided to do a frequency study of early SA. daggers. That is, I wanted to examine a large random sample of S.A. daggers and tally how many of each manufacturer were encountered.

The first thing I needed was a large sample of early SA. daggers.

I was thinking along the lines of 500 to 1000 daggers to get a good grasp of just what a rare trademark really was. This was no easy task. I could have grabbed the catalogs from three or four auction houses and ten or twelve dealer lists and gone from there, but I didn't like this idea for a number of reasons. For instance, dealer A has had several Eickhorn daggers on his last three lists. Are they the same ones going unsold month after month, or are they fresh ones each month? What about dealer E, does he really know daggers well enough to tell the good from the bad? I needed more consistency and control in my sample set. I decided to rely strictly on the S.A. daggers offered for sale in the catalogs from a single source. This source has been around for a long time, has a good turnover and I would be able to get a large sample. I examined catalogs from the mid- 1980's to present and my sample accounted for 610 daggers. I did not tally Rohm Honor daggers or N.S.K.K. daggers (even though the early ones started out as S.A.'s). I did not tally dagger blades offered as parts or R.Z.M. marked pieces... strictly early SA. enlisted model daggers.

Please keep in mind several things. This study in no way is an indication of how many daggers were manufactured by specific makers, but only what is available for sale in the American market place.

While most of the blade making was concentrated around Solingen, other areas of Germany were also represented. My study showed that 6 out of 610 daggers encountered were attributed to Raco in Berlin. Is this because Raco was a small Mom and Pop operation or because most of the area encompassed by the Berlin SA. Group fell into Soviet hands?

Photographic evidence from the period indicates Soviet soldiers were just as fond of souvenir daggers as American GJ.'s. I would wager that in terms of numbers manufactured, Raco produced daggers were not as rare as one might believe. Aesculap was located in the city of Tuttlingen which was in the confines of SA. Group Southwest. It is as common a maker as Eickhorn or Pack and is nearly always found with a "Sw" group mark on the crossguard. My point is that S.A. groups would use locally produced daggers, if available, and that manufacturing centers that fell behind the Iron Curtain (Berlin, Suhl, etc.) may not show the frequency in American markets that they should, in terms of numbers manufactured.I would like to offer a few closing observations.

This list does not contain the name of every maker of early S.A. daggers known to exist. New trademarks are constantly being added to the list as they "pop up" and I would estimate that there are at least two dozen more that do not appear in my survey, Thse would have to be considered very scarce indeed. My study certainly shows that unusual makers greatly outnumber the common ones. There seems to be only a handful of makers with 15 or more tallies. Lastly, some makers that we would expect to be common (Alcoso, WKC, etc.,) were actually quite scarce. Fascinating isn't it?

Aesculap 30

Alcoso 1

Asso 7

F.W. Backhaus 5

Julius Bahrl, Jr. 1

Rich. Balke & Sohn 1

Fritz Barthelmess 6

Gebr. Becker 1

Gebr. Bell 5

Carl Bender 1

Gebr. Berns 1

Hugo Berns 1

August Bickel 17

Bismark 3

Gebr. Bohme 3

Bontgen & Sabin 4

Gebr. Born 2

Christianswerk 4

Chromolit 1

Clemens & Jung 1

F. Dick 17

J. Dirlam & Sohn 1

J.E. Dittert 1

Albert Dorschel 2

Paul Ebel 3

Carl Eickhorn 34

Eppenstein 6

G. Felix Gloriawerk 2

Friedrich Geigis 1

Ed. Gembruch 1

Rob Giersch 2

Giesen & Forsthoff 3

Gebr. Grafrath 3

Ernst Grah 1

Greinhold Grah 1

R. Haastert & Bull 2

Haco 6

Haenel 14

Gustav Haker 6

Wilh. Halbach 1

Hammesfahr Cie 12

Rich & E. Hartkoop 1

Carl Heindelberg 2

J.A. Henckels 10

Gebr. Heller 32

Paul A. Henckels 1

Henkel & Muller 1

Herbeck & Meyer 2

Herbetz & Meurer 6

F. Herder 17

H. Herder 3

Robert Herder 2

Gottfried Hoppe & Sohne 1

E. & F. Horster 3

C.F. Kayser 1

Ernst Kemper 1

Klittermann & Moog 2

Aug. Knecht 1

Jacobs 3

Kaufmann & Sohne 6

Wilh. Kober 19

Paul Kohl 1

Fr. V.D. Kohlen 2

Hugo Koller 7

Herrn. Konejung 7

Kolum Buswerk Eduard Becker 2

Pet. Dan Krebs 1

Carl Julius Krebs 13

Wilh. Krieger 1

Gebr. Krumm 2

Krusius 6

H & F Lauterjung 1

Leuco 2

c.R. Linder 4

Hugo Linder 6

Peter Lungstrass 3

E. Luttges & Co. 2

MaIsch & Ambronn 4

Karl MaIsch Steinbach 2

Aug. MaIsch Fr. Sohn 1

Carl Aug. Meis 2

Mav. & Vom Hau 1

Albert Mebus 1

Melzer & Feller 1

August Merten 4

Gottfried Muller 10

Josef Munch 2

Fred Neuhaus 4

F. Ed. Ohliger 1

Julius Ohliger 2

E. Pack & Sohne 32

Pfeilringwerk 1

Puma 6

Hugo Rader 2

Wilh. Kober 19

Paul Kohl 1

Fr. V.D. Kohlen 2

Hugo Koller 7

Herrn. Konejung 7

Kolum Buswerk Eduard Becker 2

Pet. Dan Krebs 1

Carl Julius Krebs 13

Wilh. Krieger 1

Gebr. Krumm 2

Krusius 6

H & F Lauterjung 1

Leuco 2

C.R. Linder 4

Hugo Linder 6

Peter Lungstrass 3

E. Luttges & Co. 2

MaIsch & Ambronn 4

Karl MaIsch Steinbach 2

Aug. MaIsch Fr. Sohn 1

Carl Aug. Meis 2

Mav. & Vom Hau 1

Albert Mebus 1

Melzer & Feller 1

August Merten 4

Gottfried Muller 10

Josef Munch 2

Fred Neuhaus 4

F. Ed. Ohliger 1

Julius Ohliger 2

E. Pack & Sohne 32

Pfeilringwerk 1

Puma 6

Hugo Rader 2

J. Reuleaux 1

Kuno Ritter 3

Roma (Romi?) 1

Romuso 1

August Rother 1

J.P. Sauer & Sohn 15

Eugene Schidt 1

Jos. Schlimbach 1

Carl Schmidt Sohn 5

J.A. Schmidt & Sohn 1

Rudolf Schmidt 1

Freidr. Aug. Schmitz 2

Hermann Schneider 1

Abr. Schnitter 1

E. Schrick & Sohn 1

Neidhardt & Schmidt 3

Paul Seilheimer 7

Otto Simon 1


Spateneder Munchen 4

Gustav C. Spitzer 6

Karl Spitzer Maisch 1

Franz Steinhoff 2

Sudd Messer Fabrik 1

Tiger 6

Undine 2

Justin Uswerk 5

Adolf Volker 5

Emil Voss 1

Gustav Voss 1

F. von Brosy Steinberg 1

Waffenhammer Deggendorf 1

Wagner & Lange 7

Gottfried Weyersburg 1

Gust. Weyersburg 1

Max Weyersburg 3

Reinh. Weyersburg 1

Anton Wingen 10

Gustav Wirth 4


Carl Wusthof 9

Ed. Wusthof 19

John Paul Huff, "S.A. Dagger Trademarks", DER GAULEITER, 1993

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Monday, July 2, 2007

The TENO Dagger

Technical Emergency Corps - (Technische Nothilfe) TENO or TN

Organizational Facts. The Technical Emergency Corps (TENO) was formed on September 30, 1919, to assist the German population during times of crisis and disaster resulting from natural catastrophies. It functioned under the pre-Nazi Weimar Republic as a society of technical volunteers who were called to duty in the event of a public disaster. The Corps provided essential services during emergencies with its personnel being highly trained in fire fighting, decontamination, etc.

TENO men were distributed throughout the cities, industrial centers, and major traffic hubs for the repair and maintenance of public utilities. The Nazis realized the potential value of the TENO and reorganized the Corps in 1939 as one of the main Party formations under the auspices of the German Police. The commander of the TENO prior to World War II was SS Gruppenfuehrer Schmelcher.

Subsequently, he was placed in charge of technical affairs of the SS and was succeeded by SS Gruppenfuehrer Weinreich. The services of the Corps were required extensively after the outbreak of war in army rear areas and occupied territories, thus freeing army engineers and personnel for other tasks. During the conduct of the war the TENO became an almost integral part of the Waffen SS.

Type. Subordinate Hewer. Awarded to selected full-time subordinate members of the TN. The hewer could only be purchased through official TN channels.Year Adopted. 1938.

Description. This massive sidearm was intended for actual use in emergencies as an axe or hacking knife. The sole manufacturer of the TENO sidearms was the Carl Eickhom firm of Solingen. The hilt and scabbard metal fittings are nickel plated. The two white or orange celluloid grips, each marked on the inside with a small Eickhorm squirrel trademark (note: the reproductions are missing this feature), are retained in place by two countersunk bolts. The TENO cogwheel device is incorporated into the pommel, and the TENO eagle and swastika emblem appear on the crossguard. The heavy steel blade is bolo-shaped and intended for field use. A shallow fuller appears on each side of the blade. The large metal scabbard is painted lacquer. Each hewer was numbered for issue, with the number appearing on the blade underneath the langet and the corresponding number on the upper lip of the scabbard throat.

Length. 40 cms (15.8").

Blade Motto. None.

a. Hanger, a black leather frog permanently attached or clipped to the top of the scabbard fitting.
b. Portepee: a series of portepees were available for wear with the hewer, depending upon the type of duty. The most common TN portepee being a silver acorn with purple top and orange stem, indicating stand-by service.

Collector Availability. Rare

Johnson & Ormsby: "Daggers of WWII Germany", Clay Communications Group, 1980

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Introduction to German Edged Weapons

The venture of Adolf Hitler to become master of the world was executed with a symbolic flair. The effort being to spur his fanatical followers on to their maximum capabilities. Hitler traded the traditional brown uniform of his Nazi Party for the grey-green color of his conquering army and vowed before all Germany that he would not wear the brown uniform again until Germany was victorious over the mounting number of enemies. Fortunately for the world, the combined Allied powers did not permit Hitler to complete his symbolic transition.

The uniform change was but one symbolic act among the many that were effectively utilized by Hitler to gain growing support. In 1933, he instituted a wide range of dagger sidearms which were to reflect the intent and strength of the organizations which they represented. In many cases, the struggle for the right to wear the dagger became a means in itself. Hitler was able to get millions of people involved in his movement with such devices as uniforms and their trappings. The level of hysteria that he brought about in Germany was largely responsible for extending the war by at least one year.

Germany was on her way to total defeat when this author directed his attention to collecting German war souvenirs in 1944. Interest was spurred by the daily news coverage, the bond drives and other patriotic appeals to the war effort. Then, as the soldiers returned home, they brought with them a wide spectrum of war trophies.

It was not until 1955 that the first dagger was added to this author's general collection. There was an immediate appreciation for the craftsmanship contained in the daggers and swords of Nazi Germany. Blades of the era, more than any other category of relics, were considered to be art forms. It was this appreciation that brought about the concerted effort to acquire the wide range of patterns that were known to exist.

Due to the lack of available reference material, the collecting of blades by the general enthusiast was slow to gain momentum. The primary reference held by a few collectors was the Eickhorn Kundendienst. This initially scarce original sales catalogue was to prove a relatively reliable reference through the years. It was not until 1959 that the first in a series of dagger references was to enjoy national circulation. Armed with a degree of information, collector interest grew considerably.

As with any desirable commodity, the Law of Supply and Demand was imposed, and commercial values began their rapid increase. Some daggers that sold for $18 in the mid-1950's have increased to over $300. Prices in the thousands no longer draw a surprised reaction.

The first attempt at an authoritative reference was made in 1965. It was soon to gain the reputation of being the "bible" among collectors. For the first time, an effort was made to do more than just identify the various daggers.

A degree of newly founded information and rapidly rising values caused the appearance of specimens that had previously been unheard of. Armed with the knowledge that blade collecting held some new discoveries, interest was again stimulated. The introduction of a wide range of counterfeit daggers occured in 1964 when unscrupulous dealers attempted to capitalize on the rising values. The introduction of these pieces resulted in collecting becoming a task, and in some cases a very expensive gamble rather than an enjoyable pastime. It became apparent that more information was required by the general collector.

My serious gathering of research material began in 1960 in an attempt to sift out facts from the misconceptions and half-truths that existed. This book is the culmination of those efforts.

Archives of the United States, Great Britain and Germany have been exhausted, as have the original publications and sales material produced by the manufacturing firms during the subject period. These sources provide the regulations governing wear and the specifications for the manufacture and distribution of daggers, bayonets and fighting knives. It was also found that exceptions existed for every rule established by regulations.

Being cognisant of the regulations, and appreciating the various exceptions to those regulations, the collector can better understand the numerous variations currently at his disposal.

It is the purpose of this reference to provide factual information relating to the sidearms (excluding swords) which were utilized by the numerous military, political and governmental formations in Nazi Germany. An effort has also been made to provide a concise history of the organizations discussed. The one area that is necessary but sorely lacking, is the production figure for each specimen produced. Most of the records maintained by the manufacturers on their production were destroyed during the closing days of the war, and no central record facility was established to maintain such accountability. While some production figures were discovered among the tons of original documents, these figures would prove to be of little value without the total production figures to be used as a base. For any gaps that may exist, others are encouraged to fill them. Perhaps time will be the answer to the questions which still exist in the most interesting and challenging of collecting fields.

J.R. Angolia: "Daggers, Bayonets & Fighting Knives of Hitler's Germany, 1971, R.James Bender Publishing.

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Kriegsmarine Daggers

The U-boat Dagger

The Kriegsmarine dagger was closely modelled on earlier weapons of the Kaiser's Navy and the Reichsmarine. Featuring a long narrow stilleto-style blade which was available either plain or more commonly etched with naval motifs, the dagger had gilded brass fittings with an anchor motif on the crosspiece and a pommel in the shape of a Wehrmacht style eagle with folded wings. The handle was generally of wood with a covering of white cellulose and featured a spiralled twist, the depths of which contained a twisted gold wire thread. Extra cost versions were available with genuine solid ivory handles.

The dagger was contained in a gilded-brass scabbard with twin band carrying rings for the suspension straps. The standard scabbard featured a decorative etched design but here again a range of extra cost options were available providing much more elaborate features, the scabbard with an overall hammered finish being the most popular alternative.

The vast majority of naval daggers carried a basic, standard etch pattern to the blade, but occasionally examples will be found with special dedications or other features on the blades which identify them as having belonged to members of the U-Boat arm. Such examples are highly sought after by collectors. Other examples may be encountered with names, coats of arms or initials, etc., engraved on the scabbard which the dedicated collector may be able to link to a specific individual.

The dagger was suspended by two separate hanging straps, made from black moire silk and with gilt spring-clip fastenings and lion head buckles. The dagger could be worn by junior NCOs without a portepee and by senior NCO ranks and officers with portepee.

The portepee was made from silver or aluminium wire (the silver version often age-toning to a gold-like hue) with a large ball pommel. The cord of the portepee was tied first around the pommel of the dagger, passing down the length of the handle to be wrapped in a complex knot pattern around the crossguard.

Although officers were also entitled to wear the sword on occasion, photographs of U-Boat officers wearing edged weapons on formal occasions such as the commissioning of a boat, will predominantly show the dagger being worn.

The Honor Dagger

A small number of particularly successful V-Boat commanders received the Honor Dagger (Ehrendolch) of the Navy. This beautifully crafted weapon displayed a number of deluxe features.

The Carl Eickhorn firm in Solingen was contracted by the Kriegsmarine to produce this special dagger as a special presentation piece to be awarded by the Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine. The scabbard was richly embossed with a decorative oakleaf design and a fouled anchor between the scabbard bands. It featured a genuine ivory handle with, instead of the normal gold wire, a wrap of intricate oakleave design. The blade was crafted from genuine damascus steel and most impressivley, set within the swastika grasped by the eagle on the pommel, were 17 tiny rose-cut diamonds.

The first such dagger awarded to a U-Boat commander went to Gunther Prien. The blade ricasso featured, in raised gilded letters, the inscription "Dem UbootsiegeTiRaeder/31 December 1939." This inscription remained, with only the date of the award changing, until Raeder's resignation and his replacement by Karl Donitz. The dagger awarded by Donitz carried the inscription "Dem Tapferen U-Bootskommandant/Donitz/Date."

It is believed that only six such daggers were made for V-Boat commanders, these being:
Gunther Prien, Otto Kretschmer, Erich Topp, Reinhard Suhren, Wolfgang Luth, Albrecht Brandi, With literally only a handful ever awarded, originals of the Ehrendolch are of the utmost rarity and command huge sums on the rare occasions that one may come onto the market.

Gordon Willaimson: "Torpedo Los! The Fascinating World of U-boat Collectibles, R. James Bender Publishing, 2006

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Friday, June 8, 2007

Hitler Youth Dagger

The Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend) was one of the first Party organizations to acquire an edged weapon in the form of a camping knife (HJ-Fahrtenmesser). During the first heady days of the Nazi Party, uniforms, equipment, and insignia were in great demand and many variations were manufactured and sold without restriction. This same phenomenon occurred with the HJ knife. Before the RZM established quality benchmarks and licensed manufacturers, a number of variation HJFahrtenmesser were produced. Some of these knives (Messer) were made up of old stocks of existing hilts and blades which simply had the enameled HJ diamond, or other HJ insignia, placed on the grip, pommel, or scabbard. Some of these knives were made up with bayonet style hilts which had an inoperative press button, but no lug slot, which were left over from Weimar times. These hilts had either double-edged or slab-sided knife blades attached to them and they were sold to HJ members to fulfill the pressing demand. These Messer are simply early variations of the HJ-Fahrtenmesser, and should not be confused with Seitengewehre.

The Hitlerjugend did wear an authorized Seitengewehr which was simply a standard KS 98 which had an enameled HJ diamond inset into the obverse grip. The bayonet was officially termed Seitenwaffe der Wachgefolgschaft. The bayonet first appeared in the 1943 edition of the yearly Party organization book, "Organisationsbuch der NSDAP," but there is no mention of the duties of the Wachgefolgschaft. As its name implies, the group was a security or guard unit of the HJ. The HJ was, by then, supplying older personnel to the military to serve as flakhelpers, laborers, air raid helpers, etc. By the end of the war HJ members were under arms and serving in self defense units as the front closed in upon their towns and cities.

HI Seitenwaffe hilt. This Hitler Youth Seitengewehr has an unmarked blade with a wide fuller.
It is a late bayonet with a white metal hilt that has a plated finish which is proper for these bayonets. The enamel HJ insignia is properly inset into the black plastic grip as it should be.
The reverse of an HJ grip insignia with two pins is shown to illustrate the proper method of attachment.

The HJ Wachgefolgschaft Seitengewehr was a late model KS 98 which had the enameled HJ diamond inset into the obverse black checkered plastic grips of the bayonet in exactly the same manner as on the HJ-Fahrtenmesser. The only known official illustration of the bayonet shows it with a 20cm blade, but examples with 25cm blades have been observed. As with all bayonets with grip insignia, the insignia should be properly mounted to the grip with pins. In this instance, the insignia should be inset into the grip, just as on the HJ knife. Reproductions of this rare bayonet have been made for many years.

Original examples of the bayonet have late white metal hilts which have been nickel-plated. Since the bayonet was not authorized until 1943, early steel-hilted examples should be viewed with suspicion. Examples which evidence removed rivets or surface-mounted insignia should also arouse suspicion. The blades on observed original examples all have wide fullers (on both 20cm and 25cm blades) and no maker markings. The scabbard is black-painted steel, as normally found on all KS 98s. The bayonet was worn in a black leather frog and had a Portepee attached in the old Imperial manner, by threading it through the belt. The Portepee has a black leather strap with three aluminum stripes. The slide is black leather and the stem, crown, and ball are aluminum. The insert of this generic knot is black.

George T. Wheeler: "Seitengewehr: History of the German Bayonet 1919-1945", R. James Bender Publishing, 1999

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