Der Rittmeister Militaria, LLC. Imperial German Merchandise, Page 0: Just in From Germany, the newest items fresh from the Fatherland!  Updated on 20 June 2017.  
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Next Update:  28 June 2017

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04-736 GARDE-REITER-REGIMENT OFFICER’S HELMET COMPLETE WITH DIENST SPIKE AND PARADE LION. When collecting Imperial German pickelhauben, once one gets past General Officers’ helmets, two helmets that represent the "Holy Grail." The first is Prussia’s Regiment der Garde du Corps’ (GdC) Hohenzollern Eagle-topped helmet. The Eagle has its wings spread wide and bears the House of Hohenzollern’s Crown perched atop its head. The regiment, based in Potsdam, was the "King’s own" (or from 1871 forward, the "Kaiser’s own") regiment. Many photos depict Kaiser Wilhelm II wearing the GdC’s gold-toned küraß while its impressive, Eagle-bedecked helmet sits firmly on his head.
The second such helmet is from the Kingdom of Saxony’s Garde-Reiter-Regiment (GRR). It is equally as impressive and boasts a massive rampant silver lion snarling at the world from its crest. The GRR’s helmet is scarcer than the GdC’s. I have two possible explanations for this situation. One is that Saxony fell under the Soviet Union’s rule following WW II’s end. In general, Imperial Saxon material is much harder to come by, and perhaps this is why. Another possible reason that may carry a bit more weight is the fact that TWO Prussian Regiments (the GdC and the Garde-Küraßier-Regiment) featured Hohenzollern Eagles atop their helmets. The GRR was the ONLY regiment that employed a Lion, and that was only from 1876 forward. Whatever the reason may be, GRR helmets are always more expensive than those from the GdC. We simply do NOT see them as often, and examples from the regiment’s officers are VERY scarce.

 

That is why we take particularly great pleasure in sharing an extraordinary example of a GRR officer’s helmet with you today. It is a complete example that includes both its service spike (dienst spitze) and Saxony imposing rampant Lion. The GRR was founded in 1680 and officially known as the Königlich Sächsische Garde-Reiter-Regiment (1. Schweres-Regiment). It was based at the capital city of Dresden as a part of the Saxon XII. Armeekorps. The GRR was designated as a Schweres-Regiment, meaning it was a Heavy Cavalry Regiment. The latter was also the true of the GdC. As Küraßier-Regiments, they both sported metal helmets and metal breastplates (küraßes). Metal helmets always served as the mark of Heavy Cavalry Regiments. Both the GdC and the GRR regiments sported gold-toned helmets. An officer’s helmet’s body was made of tombak, a lightweight metal that was considerably more expensive than other period metals. Due to tombak’s expense, enlisted men/NCO’s helmets, which were issued from the Army Depot, were constructed of less costly, heavier material. One can quickly tell the weight difference even with one’s eyes closed. Enlisted troopers on parade were probably very happy when they could remove their helmets at the parade’s conclusion!

 

Another feature of a Küraßier helmet is its long rear visor. [Küraßiers dated from the hand-to-hand combat era, so the extended rear visor was meant to protect their necks from sword slashes]. Three additional plates are attached to the helmet’s main body with a series of eleven contrasting, silver-toned bolts. A large set of gold-toned chin scales is present, as is a leather backing. The State’s and Reich’s kokarden are oversized. The Saxon state kokarde is green and white, while the Reich’s kokarde is red, black and silver.
This helmet’s patina is very extensive. It has been decades since the helmet was cleaned. More than one-hundred-years ago, its officer-owner had an orderly at his disposal to care for his personal gear, including his pickelhaube. That orderly (batman to you Brits) would have taken this helmet and carefully polished it until it glowed. Its EVERY feature screams superior quality and attention to detail. When our officer visited his Dresden military effects shop, it probably was a purveyor to Saxony’s royal family, because our man insisted on the best-of-the-best. At first glance, its wappen appears rather simple. A closer inspection, however, reveals that the wappen’s sunburst is silver. Its every ray has been expertly produced and once again exhibits a marvelous patina. The silver sunburst features a beautifully contrasting, high-relief, Saxon Coat-of-Arms within a wreath of oak and/or laurel leaves. An open crown sits atop the Coat-of-Arms. [The open (a.k.a. voided) crown is an important wappen detail. The wappen for an enlisted man/NCO’s helmet would NOT be open, which further confirms that this is an officer’s helmet].

 

The helmet’s large black cruciform is attached via four silver-toned bolts. A silver extension travels up from the cruciform (and I do mean silver, as it sports a fine patina) with cutout devices on either side of the extension. A screw-on spike is attached to the cruciform. Saxon helmets were known to have among the highest spikes in the entire Imperial German Army. The spike for this helmet is no exception. It is gold and fluted and incredibly tall.
Now, we arrive at the helmet exterior’s pièce de résistance, its magnificent rampant Löwe. To begin, the Lion is frosted silver (and I do mean SILVER). As I mentioned before, our officer insisted on premium quality. What better way accomplished this result than to have his Lion rendered in frosted silver? The beauty of frosted metal, whether gold or silver-toned, is its understated elegance. The Lion is roaring in powerful defiance as he crouches over a shield displaying the King of Saxony’s royal cypher. [Saxony’s final König was Friedrich August III (1865-1932), the head of the House of Wettin]. The Lion’s right forepaw grasps the shield’s apex. [PLEASE NOTE: Many so-called officers’ GRR pickelhauben have had their Lions replaced by enlisted men/NCO’s Lions and are NOT genuine. Unfortunately, many of them are reproductions that have been added to increase the helmet’s value! One way to determine a Lion’s legitimacy is to examine his testicles (only on pickelhauben, live lions tend to take exception to this procedure). The sack should be very prominent. It often is missing on reproduction Lions].
The helmet’s interior exposes a brown leather sweatband that has seen very light use. Although it reveals some toning in areas from perspiration, it is complete and in very fine condition. Its front visor’s interior is covered with rich, Saxon-green velvet. Its intact silk liner is light-green in color. It is in excellent condition. All of its original hardware is present underneath the silk liner. [I believe it is quite likely that this helmet was owned by a higher-ranking officer within the regiment. Its attention to detail and topnotch quality indicates that its owner had the experience (and the financial means) to tick every box on the extras’ list to create the finest helmet possible. It is obvious that as a member of Saxony’s most elite regiment, the owner took great personal pride in his appearance and the manner in which he represented his King. I am also VERY impressed with the helmet’s originality AND condition. We all too rarely unearth one of these helmets that has not been modified or altered].
Ladies and gentlemen, this helmet is the real deal. It has been lovingly preserved during the more than one-hundred-years since it first left its Dresden military effects shop. Its fortunate new owner will receive one of the finest, most historically important helmets that we have had the pleasure to offer. It is one spiked helmet and parade lion that you will NEVER need to upgrade!
We are also happy to include a high-quality transport box for it. Still, I find it hard to imagine that its new owner will be able to resist keeping it on constant display with its magnificent parade Lion mounted just as it was so many years ago! $34,995.00    

 

At Der Rittmeister Militaria, we strive to bring you the best in spiked helmets, or pickelhauben (plural for pickelhaube), one of Imperial German Militaria’s most interesting areas for collecting. While ORIGINALITY and AUTHENTICITY are of prime importance, please do not forget Der Rittmeister’s commitment to CONDITION and QUALITY. In this regard, we take special pride in offering you spiked helmets whose condition is at least well above average, if not excellent. I examine hundreds of pickelhauben to find the very few that fulfill all four criteria mentioned above. Upon receiving their new treasure, collectors who have purchased one of our pickelhauben often exclaim that their helmet looks even better than the photos we had displayed on our website. [We do use a high-quality digital camera to photograph our items and upgrade cameras every two years, but enough with the Der Rittmeister Militaria commercial]! Just remember, dear friends, Der Rittmeister’s Four Critical Criteria for collecting pickelhauben: ORIGINALITY, AUTHENTICITY, CONDITION, and QUALITY.
The pickelhaube was designed in 1842 by Prussia’s König Frederick William IV for use in the Prussian Infanterie. [The Prussian king might have copied similar helmets adopted by Russia’s military during the same time period. It is not clear whether this was a case of imitation, parallel invention, or if both were based on Napoleonic cuirassiers’ helmets]. The helmet style was soon adopted by Germany’s other states and kingdoms during the mid-19th Century, with Bavaria being the final principality to implement it in 1886. [The Bavarians always seemed to go their own way! Interestingly, Bavaria was also the last to authorize kugelhelme for their Artillerie Regiments in 1913]. In addition to Russia, spiked helmets were adopted by many Latin American countries. They were even worn by the USA’s armed forces from the 1880's until around 1910.
We also remind all pickelhaube enthusiasts about our good friend Jim Turinetti’s excellent reference books on the subject (click here to see DRM’s Imperial German Headdress Page Nr 3), available as spiral-bound paperbacks or on CD. You cannot go wrong with them. I can safely state that Jim is the USA’s foremost authority on pickelhauben. Please support him. Dollar for dollar, these books are the best on the market, and reward you with an immeasurable return in value! [Remember, Jim receives any and ALL the profits from his works,
Der Rittmeister Militaria just promotes them to help educate the collecting community].  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20-186 KRONPRINZ GEORG'S M-1872 GENERALOBERST TUNIC - SAXONY. Kronprinz Georg (1832-1904) assumed the throne of Saxony in 1902. He became König when his brother, König Albert, died in 1902. König Georg ruled for a short, two-year-period. Upon his death he was succeeded to the throne by his son, Friedrich August III (1865-1932). [Friedrich August III was Saxony’s final König, until he and all other German royalty abdicated in November 1918]. During the Franco-Prussian War, Prinz Georg (who then was not yet Kronprinz) commanded the XII. Armeekorps, which was primarily a Saxon Armeekorps. He had also commanded troops in the War of 1866 against Prussia. (Saxony had been Bavaria and Austria’s ally in that conflict). In his command of the XII. ArmeeKorps, Prinz Georg was a Generaloberst. He remained in this rank until his promotion to Generalfeldmarschall on 15 March 1888. Since today ‘s offering is an M-1872 tunic, we can date our tunic to the period from 1872 to 1888. It seems logical that Kronprinz Georg would have stopped wearing this tunic in 1888, and acquired others with the correct rank to which he had been promoted. The tunic is in wonderful condition for being 125+-years-old.
The tunic’s body is a rich and lustrous wool, colored in the classic dunkel-blau (dark-blue). TWELVE gilt Saxon general’s buttons run down the tunic’s center. These highly ornate buttons are unique to the Saxon general’s tunics. Two more of these buttons adorn each sleeve. Both the collar and the sleeves are heavily embroidered with a Prussian general’s style of gold bullion acorns and oak leaves against a red base. In my opinion, it is the handsomest and most impressive bullion embroidery that can be seen on ANY tunic. The left breast sports a set of loops for a medal or ribbon bar. The loops measure 5" from end to end, and would accommodate a very large bar. Below this are four more sets of sewn-in loops to accommodate Breast Stars and other decorations. The shoulder boards display an interesting arrangement typical of Saxon general’s tunics from the period. The wearer’s left shoulder sports a coiled spiral of bullion that serves as the shoulder board. The right shoulder displays a very elegant, contrasting combination. First is a Generaloberst’s shoulder board, with three frosted silver pips. Attached to its end is a complete Saxon general’s aiguillette. This very ornate, exquisitely beautiful accouterment extends down from the shoulder board and flows onto the tunic’s right chest. Its bullion ropes are massive. Attached to the aiguillette’s tips are gorgeous, crowned extensions. The entire aiguillette is then attached to the tunic’s second button. It is simply stunning. It sets off the tunic and adds to its special overall look.
As handsome as is the tunic’s obverse, it is just as delightful on the reverse. The same embroidered bullion from the collar and sleeves has been worked onto both sides of the vent area! The same ornate Saxon general’s buttons appear on both sides of the flap. They number six in all. The tunic’s interior is equally impressive. All the detail one would expect for a Kronprinz is equally lavished on the interior. I have never seen a liner quite like this. It is made from a heavy, quilted, satin (another variation of silk). The interior is complete and virtually trouble free. Some sweat staining shows in the arm pits, so it definitely was worn. The tunic’s neck displays a number "3" sewn in place. This was to help Georg’s valet lay out the proper uniform when so instructed by his master. From a master list bearing this number, the man pulled the correct, corresponding headdress, boots, decorations, belt, etc. It is a stunning tunic, and clearly the most historically important army tunic we have ever offered. Please look closely at the many photographs that accompany our description of a tunic for a man who would become King. $15,995.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15-328 PRE WORLD WAR I GENERALLEUTNANT'S DRESS TUNIC - SAXONY. This is an absolutely stunning pre WW I Saxon Army Generalleutnant’s dress tunic. It is one of the "dunkel-blau" (dark-blue) types that preceded feldgrau. A striking differentiation between this General’s tunic and those of other German states is made by the buttons. The Saxon General Officer’s buttons that run down the tunic’s center front, the sleeves, the vent area in the rear, and even on the shoulder boards are unique to Saxony. They are quite elaborate, and far more gorgeous than any other button you will ever see. Eight of the gilt buttons adorn the tunic’s front. Two are sewn over the gold bullion kragenspiegel decorating each sleeve. Four more of these magnificent buttons serve as an accent around the vent on the tunic’s reverse. Finally, a smaller button appears on each dress (banjo-style) shoulder board. (These are smaller than the other fourteen buttons). The tunic’s fine wool fabric is in excellent plus condition. A single pair of vertical, sewn-in loops are on the left breast. It can accommodate a breast star or other award. Then a set of horizontal loops appears for a very extensive ribbon or medal bar (the width is 6").
As previously stated, the bullion on the sleeves is gold. On the collar, a pair of standard General’s kragenspiegel appears in matching gold bullion. The dress shoulder boards, which are attached to the tunic, are nothing short of stunning. A single pip shows on each for the rank of Generalleutnant. A Generalleutnant compares to a Major General (two stars) in the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marines. In Imperial Germany, a Generalleutnant commanded either a Division or an Armeekorps. The trim edging the boards is gilt, while the ringlets extending down are silver. The tunic’s interior is lined in red cotton. A moth nip or two is scattered about the lining. This is a simply amazing tunic. The number of Generals in the Saxon Army was far fewer than in Prussia, therefore making General’s tunics difficult-to-find. If you are looking for a tunic in superb condition, you will be hard pressed to find a finer example than this. $11,995.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-410 SINGLE GENERALMAJOR SHOULDER BOARD - SAXONY. This is a single Saxon Army generalmajor’s shoulder board in fine condition. Prior to WW I, a generalmajor typically commanded a Brigade, which consisted of three or more regiments. During WW I, it was common to find a generalmajor commanding a full Division. This is a prewar (pre-feldgrau) shoulder board. It measures 4 7/8" x 1 7/8." It has the gold and silver bullion ropes commonly referred to as "Russian." The silver bullion ropes display green chevrons, which confirm it is Saxon. The shoulder board is slightly rounded, meaning it actually was worn on a tunic. (I like to see a shoulder board that saw some action). As is correct for a generalmajor’s shoulder board, it displays NO rank pips (a generalmajor was the most junior general officer). Also, its obverse sports a gilt-toned button that is secured on the reverse by a straight pin. The reverse sports a red backing. We can also see it is a slip-on shoulder board, which is typical for a general officer. Some sort of white material also appears on the reverse under the slip-on attachment’s strap.
Overall, the shoulder board is in very clean condition. $495.00
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1683 MILITARY ORDER OF KNIGHT’S CROSS OF ST. HEINRICH - SAXONY. This decoration represents the highest military order for bravery from the Kingdom of Saxony. It was the Knight’s Cross of the Military St. Heinrich Order. [Please Note: within the Heinrich Order’s family, this "small" award was the highest that a soldier serving Saxony could receive]. While the Orden Pour le Mérite was the highest award given in the Reich (originally Prussia’s highest award, first-issued by Frederick the Great in the 18th Century), each German Kingdom, Grand Duchy, and Duchy had its OWN top medal, which was most often reserved for that state’s native sons. Such was the case with the Kingdom of Saxony, so it was common for an officer who received one award to also receive the other. This award was reserved for officer’s ONLY. Several states offered a different award to NCO’s or enlisted men.
The order’s cross measures 1 ½" x 2 ¼" from its bottom to the massive articulated crown’s top. The order has an extremely-detailed and interesting obverse and reverse. The obverse features a beautifully hand-painted representation of St. Heinrich at the very center. This small center area displays SIX different colors of enamel. Surrounding that is a blue and gold Latin motto. White enamel trim on a gold metal background extends out to the cross’s arms. A system of enamel studded with semiprecious stones connects the cross’s four arms. The previously-mentioned large, articulated gold crown sits atop the cross. A jump ring at the crown’s top allows the attachment of the decoration’s ribbon.
The decoration’s reverse features Saxony’s well-known Coat-of-Arms: a black and gold enamel background featuring a diagonal green branch in its center (in the same position as St. Heinrich on the obverse). It is surrounded by a blue and gold enamel circle that features Saxony’s motto in gold against the blue enamel. The cross’s arms are connected and decorated in the identical manner as the obverse.
After examining the medal as closely as I can through a high-powered lens, I can fin NO hallmarks for the manufacturer or the silver content. I believe the medal is a gilt-coating over silver rather than a gold example. It just does not have the look of gold. I DO judge it to be a WW I era example, probably late-war.
The ribbon is quite attractive and quite a bit longer than what we normally see. It measures some 17 ½" in length. A black suspender is attached to the ribbon.
Perhaps the most famous man to be awarded this decoration was Max Immelmann. He, along with Oswald Boelcke, was one of the first two Imperial German Air Service pilots to be awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite. He also is the person for whom the Pour le Mérite was nicknamed. ["Blue Max" sounds better than the "Blue Oswald" doesn’t it? Manfred von Richthofen did not receive his award until the following year, and the "Blue Manfred" just doesn’t have the same ring either]!
The decoration is in excellent condition with no enamel damage that I am able to see. It is a stunning piece.
$1,995.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1369 ALBERT ORDER COMMANDER’S CROSS (2nd MODEL) - SAXONY. The Albert Order series was a key decoration range in the Kingdom of Saxony. Like Prussia, Saxony had more than one line of decorations. The kingdom awarded two principal groups of orders and decorations. The first group contained the Military St. Heinrich Orders, and the second held the Albert Orders. The St. Heinrich was reserved for military officers in both peace and wartime. The Albert Order was given to both military and civil officials. The Albert Order was first offered in 1850. It was awarded as a first model from 1850 to 1876. The second model was awarded from 1876 to 1918. It was awarded at the top level as a Grand Cross (Großkreuz), in both a neck badge and a Breast Star. The next level down was the Commander’s Cross (Komturkreuz). Again, it was awarded as a neck order and as a Breast Star. Following the Commander’s Cross, the Albert Order was offered as a pinback award (OFFIZIERKREUZ), Knight’s Cross 1st Class, Knight’s Cross 2nd Class, and finally as the Albrechtskreuz (Albert Cross). Our offering today is an Albert Order at the Commander’s level. This very handsome decoration measures 3 1/2" from crown to bottom. The crown measures 1" x 1 1/4," while the cross itself measures 2 1/2" x 2 1/8." The decoration sports massive, white, enameled arms. In the obverse’s center is a gilt profile of Albert, with blue and gold enamel surrounding the white enamel background to which the Albert medallion is affixed. A green enameled wreath connects all of the decoration’s arms. The reverse displays the Saxon Coat-of-Arms on a white enamel center. The date of institution, 1850, also appears on the reverse.

 

The decoration is made of silver gilt. On the six o’ clock arm is a "G" for Glaser. This well-known firm was located in Dresden. They produced excellent orders and decorations, even flight badges. The decoration comes on a 15" length of correct green and white ribbon, which also measures 2 1/4" in width. It is not a full-length ribbon, as the ties are not in place. This example is in beautiful condition. It has no enamel problems that I can detect. $2,595.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-283 XKG CUSTOM-FRAMED NAVAL ADMIRAL PATENT & PHOTOGRAPH SIGNED BY PRESIDENT THEODORE ROOSEVELT. Theodore Roosevelt is among the most revered United States Presidents. He served in many governmental roles, such as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897. When war broke out with Spain in 1898, he resigned and formed the Rough Riders in concert with Col. Leonard Wood. [Wood had won the USA’s Medal of Honor for action against the Apaches, and later served as the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff]. The Rough Riders were (also known as the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry or 1.U.S.V.). During the campaign Wood, its founding regimental commander, assumed the Brigade’s command after its assigned commander fell ill. Roosevelt then was promoted to colonel, took command of the regiment, then led it on the famous charge up San Juan Hill.

 

 

[PLEASE NOTE the following side notes: the 10th U.S. Cavalry regiment was a flanking regiment consisting of African-American troopers under white officers. Also known as "Buffalo Soldiers," they had fought Indians in the American West, with John J. ("Black Jack") Pershing as one of their officers. Pershing later commanded U.S. Army troops in France during WW I. Theodore Roosevelt finally received the Medal of Honor in 2001 from President Bill Clinton for his actions during the Spanish-American War. Roosevelt had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. Both his Medal of Honor and Nobel Peace Prize are enshrined in the White House’s "Roosevelt Room." Finally, Roosevelt’s son, Brigadier General Theodore (Ted) Roosevelt, Jr. (1887-1944) received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the 6 June 1944 Invasion of Normandy. He went ashore with the first wave of American troops onto Utah Beach. Just thirty-six days later he died of a heart attack].
Following the Spanish-American War’s end, Roosevelt returned to New York and became its Governor. He was elected Vice President to William McKinley when the latter ran for his second term. McKinley won the election but was assassinated in 1901, resulting in Roosevelt becoming the 26th U.S. President. He filled out the balance of McKinley’s second term, then won a full term of his own in 1904. Roosevelt was a reformer who pushed for change and became well known for his battles with monopolies formed by the U.S. banking, steel, and oil companies. He gained the nickname of "Monopoly Buster" for these hard-fought bitter battles.
Roosevelt was also a proponent of making the U.S. a world power. At the time, the U.S. and Japan were both emerging powers of increasing influence when compared to Europe’s powerhouses Great Britain, and Germany, followed by France and Russia. Following the 1898 defeat of Spain, the U.S. had acquired foreign possessions in Asia. Roosevelt now implemented his "Big Stick" diplomacy in order to project the USA’s naval and political power. To that end, Roosevelt sent the U.S. Navy’s strongest ships (the "Big Stick") on an extended worldwide cruise. The fleet (essentially the Atlantic Squadron), went on what turned into a fourteen-month, 43,000 nautical mile voyage, with some 14,000 American sailors aboard sixteen battleships. This became known as the Great White Fleet (since the ships had been painted in their normal white Summer livery with gilt, red, white, and blue accents at their bows). They were a pre-dreadnaught variety, but a powerful fleet nonetheless.
The fleet was assembled in December 1907 at Hampton Roads, Virginia, then proceeded to the West Coast for refitting before launching the Asian portion of the journey. The original commander of the fleet was Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans. Due to ill health, he was replaced on the West Coast by Rear Admiral Charles S. Perry. The fleet was broken down into four Divisions of four ships each. The commander of the 3rd Division, Captain Nathan E. (Kossuth) Niles (1849-1913), sailed aboard the U.S.S. Louisiana (BB 19). [The U.S.S. Louisiana was one of the fleet’s more modern ships and part of the Connecticut Battleship Class (the U.S.S. Connecticut was the Great White Fleet’s flagship). The U.S.S. Louisiana was commissioned in 1906 and stayed active until 1920, when she was struck from the list of Navy ships. The Louisiana was scrapped in 1923].

 

Since the U.S.S. Louisiana was one of the fleet’s modern ships, she was commanded by one of the Navy’s more experienced captains, the acting Commodore of the 3rd Division. Niles first joined the Union Army (yes, Army) during the Civil War in 1864 as a member of the 142nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The following year he was posted to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland as a cadet. His naval career extended from 1865 until 1911, when he reached the mandatory age of retirement. He was buried at Arlington National cemetery following a fatal heart attack at a New York book store in 1913.
The Great White Fleet’s cruise consisted of four legs. Earlier legs had included stops in the Caribbean, South America, Australia, and Japan. The cruise was intended to particularly impress Japan that the U.S. was a major world player with an impressive naval force that should be treated respectfully in the Pacific. The fleet made port at Yokohama where it was received hospitably. The fourth and final leg began at in Manila at the USA’s Subic Bay naval base. The fleet arrived on 7 November 1908, then departed on 1 December 1908. It made port in Ceylon, Egypt (exiting through the Suez Canal), then Gibraltar, before returning to Hampton Roads. During the stop in Manila, Niles received word that President Roosevelt had promoted him to Rear Admiral.
It is THIS very promotion document (termed a "patent" in Imperial Germany) we are offering today. Such documents were extremely ornate during that period. The document was prepared on 12 November 1908. Niles’ actual promotion from Captain to Rear Admiral, however, occurred on 27 November 1908, just days before the fleet began its homeward leg. Thus, before the fleet’s departure on 1 December, Niles was confirmed to Flag rank. The actual document was waiting for him upon his return to Hampton Roads.

 

The patent measures 15" x 17." It was folded at some point, and the fold remains visible. That said, the document is in excellent condition with no foxing, tears, rips, or etc. It is as handsome as it was more than one-hundred-years ago when it was issued and signed by Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s name appears atop the preprinted document in large letters. The document states that Niles was promoted to Rear Admiral effective 12 November 1908. Theodore Roosevelt’s very bold signature appears at the document’s bottom. The document is countersigned by the Secretary of the Navy, Victor H. Metcalf (1853-1936). He served in that capacity from 1906 through most of 1908. Metcalf officially retired effective 1 December 1908, so this was one of his final acts as Secretary of the Navy. The document is also countersigned by the Registrar of the United States. A blue foil seal bearing the U.S. Navy’s Coat-of-Arms appears on the document’s lower left side above the latter two signatures.
Flanking the document is one of Theodore Roosevelt’s most famous photographs. He stands with his hand on a massive world globe exuding a world leader’s stern confidence. His policies placed the USA firmly on the path to political and military dominance. With the election of Theodore’s cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1932, the U.S. continued its rise to the pinnacle of world leadership by the conclusion of WW II.
[This document was framed for my personal enjoyment, so we spared no expense on the project. Due to the frame’s size and the level of materials that I requested, it cost me nearly $1,000 to complete. I wanted to pay homage to the man I consider one of the greatest American Presidents. I felt that such an incredible piece of American history deserved nothing but the BEST. We accomplished the feat at a premiere framer in our area after spending more than hour selecting every detail of what you see presented in the accompanying photographs].

 

The overall frame measures a whopping 28" x 35." It requires a good-sized wall to properly display it! The frame’s molding is made of richly sumptuous burlwood instead of the gilt that often appears on high-end framing jobs. We wanted to evoke the ambiance one might have expected to find in the Captain’s cabin aboard the U.S.S. Louisiana. When properly polished, the burlwood simply glows the way a fine cigar does when lit and enjoyed.
The promotion document and Teddy Roosevelt’s photograph are double-matted inside two separate windows within the frame. The double-matte’s top layer is made of pale beige suede material imprinted with a slightly darker brown pattern that mimics that on the burlwood frame. As previously noted, the promotion patent measures an impressive 15" x 17." Roosevelt’s photograph measures 7" x 10." Each item is once more outlined with more burlwood trimmed on all sides with thin strips of elegant, black wood. Often matting is just colored cardboard, but that simply would NOT do for this presentation. When he finished the project, the framer begged me to allow him to display it in his store!
I have enjoyed this piece for many years. I was especially proud in 2008 when the 100th anniversary of the document’s signing came to pass. I am including some copies of photographs that will enhance the document’s history, which I have described below.

 

1. A group photograph of Captain Niles and other senior officers from the cruise of the Great White Fleet in their full-dress uniforms, complete with their fore-and-aft caps (Zweispitzen).

2. Another photograph of several Great White Fleet officers. They are posed in regular-duty uniforms and headdresses. It provides a closer look Captain Niles.

3. A photograph of a large group of officers at a garden tea party, including Captain Niles, held in Tokyo in 1908. A Japanese officer is in the front row.

4. A photograph of the U.S.S. Louisiana (BB19) as she appeared on the Great White Fleet’s cruise.

5. A photograph of Secretary of the Navy Victor Metcalf, whose signature appears on the document along with those from Teddy Roosevelt and the U.S. Registrar.

 

This magnificent presentation is ready for a new owner to enjoy. [Due to its size and weight, we will have it professionally packed in a custom carton to ensure its safe arrival to its new owner. Shipping costs will be quoted when you are ready to order]. $4,995.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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04-734 WÜRTTEMBERG - PICKELHAUBE - INFANTERIE - RESERVE OFFICER. Today we share with you a spiked helmet for a reserve officer in a Württemberg line-infantry regiment. It sports a very high quality leather body in above-average condition. It has a few minor flaws, but no major issues. As is correct for Württemberg helmets, the front visor is squared (similar to those found on its next-door neighbor Bavaria’s helmets). As with Bavarian pickelhauben, it displays a large cruciform rather than Prussia’s smaller style. The larger cruciform causes some settling to the helmet’s crown, which is perfectly normal in a helmet that is more than one-hundred-years-old.
All of its fittings are gilt, including the wappen, chin scales (flat), cruciform, officers’ stars, spike, and trim. The reserve officer’s cross is silver-toned for contrast. The correct state and Reich’s kokarden are in place.
The pickelhaube’s interior is equally handsome. The light-brown leather sweatband is in place and has seen mild use. The silk liner is an unusual brown silk. All of the original hardware appears underneath the silk liner. Furthermore, no double holes are present. This is a fine helmet that would make a worthy addition to your collection. $3,995.00   

 

 

 

At Der Rittmeister Militaria, we strive to bring you the best in spiked helmets, or pickelhauben (plural for pickelhaube), one of Imperial German Militaria’s most interesting areas for collecting. While ORIGINALITY and AUTHENTICITY are of prime importance, please do not forget Der Rittmeister’s commitment to CONDITION and QUALITY. In this regard, we take special pride in offering you spiked helmets whose condition is at least well above average, if not excellent. I examine hundreds of pickelhauben to find the very few that fulfill all four criteria mentioned above. Upon receiving their new treasure, collectors who have purchased one of our pickelhauben often exclaim that their helmet looks even better than the photos we had displayed on our website. [We do use a high-quality digital camera to photograph our items and upgrade cameras every two years, but enough with the Der Rittmeister Militaria commercial]! Just remember, dear friends, Der Rittmeister’s Four Critical Criteria for collecting pickelhauben: ORIGINALITY, AUTHENTICITY, CONDITION, and QUALITY.
The pickelhaube was designed in 1842 by Prussia’s König Frederick William IV for use in the Prussian Infanterie. [The Prussian king might have copied similar helmets adopted by Russia’s military during the same time period. It is not clear whether this was a case of imitation, parallel invention, or if both were based on Napoleonic cuirassiers’ helmets]. The helmet style was soon adopted by Germany’s other states and kingdoms during the mid-19th Century, with Bavaria being the final principality to implement it in 1886. [The Bavarians always seemed to go their own way! Interestingly, Bavaria was also the last to authorize kugelhelme for their Artillerie Regiments in 1913]. In addition to Russia, spiked helmets were adopted by many Latin American countries. They were even worn by the USA’s armed forces from the 1880's until around 1910.
We also remind all pickelhaube enthusiasts about our good friend Jim Turinetti’s excellent reference books on the subject (click here to see DRM’s Imperial German Headdress Page Nr 3), available as spiral-bound paperbacks or on CD. You cannot go wrong with them. I can safely state that Jim is the USA’s foremost authority on pickelhauben. Please support him. Dollar for dollar, these books are the best on the market, and reward you with an immeasurable return in value! [Remember, Jim receives any and ALL the profits from his works,
Der Rittmeister Militaria just promotes them to help educate the collecting community].  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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01-880 ARMY WOUND BADGE - GOLD. The Army Wound Badge was first authorized on 3 March 1918. It was awarded in three grades. The lowest grade, 3rd Class (Black) was given for one to two wounds. The 2nd Class (Silver) was awarded for three to four wounds. The highest grade, 1st Class (Gold), was awarded for five or more wounds, or the loss of a limb or an eye in combat. It also could be awarded posthumously.
Our offering today is the 1st Class in gold. The award is stamped. The surface shows an interesting patina with black toning in small areas. A pin is in place on the reverse. The badge shows clear age and is a fine example. $150.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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02-441 MEDAL BAR - ONE-PLACE - 1914 IRON CROSS 1st CLASS. This is a one-place medal bar that has a 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class as the featured decoration. The Iron Cross is in excellent condition. The condition of the cross is excellent. The paint on its obverse and reverse rates at nearly 100%.
It has what appears to be a manufacturer’s and a silver content hallmark on its jump ring, but we cannot decipher either one. The silk ribbon is also in top condition. Its reverse boasts a sturdy pin. The Iron Cross is slipped onto the medal bar by means of a hook through the jump ring. The backing is a bit unusual. It is made of gray silk rather than the more common felt. $125.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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02-442 MEDAL BAR - ONE-PLACE - BAVARIA - KING LUDWIG III MEDAL. The King Ludwig III Medal was a civil decoration that was founded on 7. 1. 1916. It was intended for those who aided the war effort on the home front. It consists of a cross made of blackened, non magnetic metal containing an oval-shaped center that features a high-profile image of Bavaria’s King Ludwig III. Its reverse features the Bavarian flag’s checkerboard design beneath the date the decoration was established.
The light-blue and white ribbon is in very fine condition, as is the cross. The reverse reveals a hook whereby the jump ring is attached to the ribbon. It also has a pin for mounting it on a garment. $50.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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02-443 MEDAL BAR - ONE-PLACE - HINDENBURG CROSS WITH SWORDS FOR COMBATANTS. After Generalfeldmarschall (and Weimar Republic President) Paul von Hindenburg’s death, a series of three decorations was created and authorized for former Great War soldiers and their families. Its three classes were for combatants, non combatants, and families of those soldiers who had died during WW I. The combatant’s cross was bronze-toned and sported crossed swords through its center. The non combatant’s class was also bronze-toned, but lacked swords. The cross for the families of those soldiers who had died during WW I was black, and also lacked swords.
Today we are offering a combatant’s version that is displayed as a one-place medal bar. It is set against a red, black, and white parade-wrapped ribbon. The backing on its reverse is made of black felt. A pin is attached for wearing it on a suit coat or a tunic. Its overall condition is very fine. $50.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1702 HINDENBURG CROSS - COMBATANT’S. After Generalfeldmarschall (and Weimar Republic President) Paul von Hindenburg’s death, a series of three decorations was created and authorized for former Great War soldiers and their families. Its three classes were for combatants, non combatants, and families of those soldiers who had died during WW I. The combatant’s cross was bronze-toned and sported crossed swords through its center. The non combatant’s class was also bronze-toned, but lacked swords. The cross for the families of those soldiers who had died during WW I was black, and also lacked swords.
Today we offer a combatant’s version that is displayed on a short length of original red, white, and black silk ribbon. The reverse of the cross is hallmarked "G 11" for its manufacturer.
$35.00
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1703 DECORATION - KYFFHÄUSERBUND. The Kyffhäuserbund was one of the largest post WW I veterans’ organizations. A similar well-known veterans’ group was the Stahlhelm Bund. As the Nazis gained more power beginning in the mid 1920's, many members of these two organizations joined the SA.
This decoration was worn by German Great War veterans. The oval-shaped decoration measures 1" x 1 ¾." It has patriotic information on both its obverse and reverse. Its original red, black, and white ribbon (Germany’s national colors) is attached. Oftentimes, a veteran applied spangen to the ribbon that represented the battles in which he had participated. This example does NOT have any spangen. Some toning shows on the cross, but it is still in very fine condition.
$30.00
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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08-570 HANSEATIC CROSS - HAMBURG. This is an excellent example of the Free State of Hamburg’s Hanseatic Cross. Hamburg was the largest of the three Hanseatic Free States, the other two being Lübeck and Bremen. The crosses from these three Free States of Northern Germany are the 1914 Iron Crosses 2nd Class equivalents from those respective states.
The cross measures 1 ½" x 1 ½." Its arms are made of red enamel. The center of the decoration features a silver enamel image of downtown Hamburg’s Rathaus (City Hall). [The structure was flattened by Allied bombing during WW II. It was rebuilt using the original blueprints and remains as lovely as it was more than one-hundred-years ago.
Its reverse features the message "Für Verdienst im Kriege 1914" (For War Service in 1914). An original red and white ribbon is attached. The cross and ribbon are in excellent condition. $165.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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10-877 BOX THALER - BAVARIAN - ORIGINAL PRESENTATION CASE. The Bavarian Box Thaler was a patriotic piece that was quite popular from 1914 through 1916. It was based on a Bavarian coin from the early-to-mid 19th Century, before the Mark became Germany’s standard coin and currency denomination. The coin measures 1 ½ in diameter. The obverse displays a likeness of Bavaria’s König Ludwig III. He was Bavaria’s final King, who reigned during WW I.
The reverse is quite decorative, with the Bavarian Coat-of-Arms as its central theme. At its top is the Bavarian motto "In Treue Fest " (In Firm Fidelity). At the bottom is "Bayern Thaler 1914/16." Thaler was an older term for the denomination of Germany silver coins. This term preceded Marks and Pfennigs. Thalers as a form of coinage were phased out beginning in 1871.
The best thing about the coin is that it opens into two halves. Once opened, it features connected paper circles that display patriotic images depicting German royalty and Bavarian military men in action during the Great War’s first two years. The connected images unfold much like paper dolls that have been cut for that purpose. Just a few of the images that we see are Bavaria’s King Ludwig III (the very first image we see, of course), Kaiser Wilhelm II, Kronprinz Rupprecht of Bavaria, Otto Weddigen, Vizeadmiral Graf von Spee, zeppelins, airplanes, etc.

 

The Box Thaler is housed in its original carton with the item’s name on it. It is a great item! $225.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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10-878 XKG ANTIQUE PORCELAIN LICENSE PLATE - STATE OF FLORIDA - 1918. While this is a bit off the beaten path for us at Der RITTMEISTER Militaria, we thought you might enjoy sharing this bit of American history. In the USA, it has always been the responsibility of the individual states to issue automobile licenses. Today these plates are issued by the thousands and manufactured of stamped steel. Some U.S. states require a license at the front and rear of the automobile, while some states only require the rear plate.
In the early 20th Century, automobiles were still a new addition to American roads. Henry Ford, creator of the first automobile assembly line, changed who was able to afford and drive cars. With the advent of this manufacturing evolution, the average American could afford to buy and operate an automobile. In those early days, license plates were a good bit larger and were made of porcelain rather than metal. [Outdoor signage was also made of porcelain].
Today we are offering a porcelain license plate from the state of Florida. It is black in color and measures 6" x 15 ½" (much larger than modern license plates). In contrasting yellow lettering "1918" appears on the far left, while "FLA" appears on the right. In the center is the plate number, "12866-B." Imagine how many cars that Florida has on the road today and to have such a low number! Due to the plate’s size, it features four holes and two slots through which it could be attached to the license plate frame. Its overall condition is very fine. $550.00    

 

 

 

 

 

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10-879 XKG ANTIQUE PORCELAIN LICENSE PLATE - STATE OF CALIFORNIA 1914. While this is a bit off the beaten path for us at Der Rittmeister Militaria, we thought you might enjoy sharing this bit of American history. In the USA, it has always been the responsibility of the individual states to issue automobile licenses. Today these plates are issued by the thousands and manufactured of stamped steel. Some U.S. states require a license at the front and rear of the automobile, while some states only require the rear plate.
In the early 20th Century, automobiles were still a new addition to American roads. Henry Ford, creator of the first automobile assembly line, changed who was able to afford and drive cars. With the advent of this manufacturing evolution, the average American could afford to buy and operate an automobile. In those early days, license plates were a good bit larger and were made of porcelain rather than metal. [Outdoor signage was also made of porcelain].
Today we are offering a porcelain license plate from the state of California. It is red in color and measures 5 ½" x 16" (much larger than modern license plates). In contrasting white lettering "CAL" appears on the far left and on "1914" appears on the right. In the center is the plate number, "22349." Imagine how many cars that California has on the road today and to have such a low number! Due to the plate’s size, it features eight holes through which it could be attached to the license plate frame. Its overall condition is very fine. $350.00      

 

 

 

 

 

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12-809 BOOK - DIE KÖNIGIN LUISE IN 50 BILDERN FÜR JUNG UND ALT - VON C-RÖHLING, R-KNÖTEL UND W-FRIEDRICH. This is a very large German-language book that deals with Queen Luise of Prussia, the wife of Prussia’s King Friedrich Wilhelm III, who led Prussia through the Napoleonic Wars. This large format book measures 1" x 12 ½" x 18" and weighs a whopping 7 pounds and 10 ounces. The book features fifty pages of color lithographs depicting scenes of life in Prussia in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. It features average Prussian residents as well as its royals.
One of the pages has come loose from the binding, but all-in-all the book is good condition for being more nearly one-hundred-years-old. [It was published in 1896]. As was the case with top-of-the-line books of the time, the pages are edged in gold, which greatly enhances the experience of reading it.
[Due to the book’s size and weight, extra shipping charges will apply. While we will gladly ship it overseas, the price of the shipping will be steep with the constant increase in the cost of international shipping]. $195.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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12-810 1914 RANGLISTE - PRUSSIAN ARMY. The Rangliste was an annual book that listed the officers who served in the Imperial German Army. This is the Prussian edition for the year 1914. It lists every Prussian unit, whether it is a Regiment or a Bataillon, as well as those for Württemberg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Oldenburg, Braunschweig, Anhalt, Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Baden, and Hesse-Darmstadt units. The Rangliste is a really handy book to use. The index lists every officer and refers you to the page for information on his unit. Every officer is listed, from the Commander to the lowliest Leutnant. In addition, it contains further information on the Regimental Chef’s (Honorary Commander) identity, and lists any à la Suite officers. I always get a kick out of looking at the 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß and their twenty-plus officers who served as à la Suites. Every young Hohenzollern prince was initiated into the regiment while still a youngster. The ranks of these officers ranged from Leutnant to Generaloberst in the rank of Generalfeldmarschall.
The book is also breaks down the officers assigned to the General Staff. Even more helpful is that each Armeekorps is cataloged, listing its commander, his staff, and the Divisions,  Brigades, and Regiments that made up HIS Armeekorps
This Rangliste was the last peacetime edition to be printed. Many of the famous WW I officers can be seen with their initial postings prior to transfers and promotions. One example is Manfred von Richthofen, shown in his Ulanen-Regiment at the beginning of 1914. This book has some binding faults, but remains intact and ready for you to peruse. $95.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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12-811 BOOK - UNSER HELDEN KAISER 1797-1897. This German-language book commemorates Kaiser Wilhelm I’s 100th anniversary. The large format book measures 1" x 9" x 12." It contains some nearly three hundred pages. It tells the story of the life and times of König (later Kaiser) Wilhelm I. Upon the death of his father, King Friedrich Wilhelm III, the Prussian hero of the Napoleonic Wars, Wilhelm’s elder brother Friedrich Wilhelm IV assumed Prussia’s throne. Friedrich Wilhelm IV had a stroke in 1857, and was unable to continue his duties as King. At that point, Wilhelm assumed the duties of Prinzregent. It was on a temporary basis at first, then became permanent in 1858. Friedrich Wilhelm IV died in 1861, at which point Wilhelm became Prussia’s King Wilhelm I.
In the early years of Wilhelm’s reign, a great deal of political wrangling was going on until Wilhelm finally appointed Otto Bismarck as his Minister President (i.e., Prime Minister). Bismarck was a master politician. For nearly twenty-five years the soon-to-be-known-as "Iron Chancellor" guided Germany through war and peace as a devoted vassal to his King (and later, the German Empire’s three Kaisers). The 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War saw a unified Germany defeat France in short order. [At that point, Germany had the most powerful army in Europe, and, perhaps, the world]. Wilhelm I was crowned Germany’s first Kaiser in 1871 (following France’s defeat) at France’s Palace of Versailles. [The French returned the favor in 1918 by requiring Germany to surrender in a railway car at Versailles. In 1940, Adolf Hitler located that same railway car and forced French officials to sign THEIR surrender in it. Popular photos and a film show Hitler dancing a jig beside the notorious railway car after the surrender].
Kaiser Wilhelm I remained on Germany’s throne until 1888, when he was succeeded by his son, Friedrich III. Friedrich only held the German throne for ninety-nine days, since he was then dying of throat cancer. He was then succeeded by HIS son (Wilhelm I’s grandson) Wilhelm II, who serve as the third and final Kaiser of German from 1888-1918 when the Empire was abolished with the defeat of Germany at the end of World War I.
This book tells an interesting story of German history during the reign of Wilhelm I from 1861 into 1888. The book is profusely illustrated with drawings.
$125.00
  

 

 

 

 

 

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14-447 DESK PIECE - OBERURSEL ENGINE COMPANY. Motorenfabrik Oberursel A.G. was a well-known engine manufacturer during WW I. The company offered a series of rotary engines. Rotary engines were unique-looking. Their cylinders rotated externally around the crankshaft. They were used in the early Fokker Eindecker. Tony Fokker was so impressed with the engines (they produced 100 HP) that he bought the company in 1916 to provide a steady flow of engines for  his aircraft. After the initial 100 HP engine, Oberursel produced the 110 HP UR. II, a clone of the Le Rhone 9J. The UR. II became famous as the powerplant used in the famed Fokker Dr. 1(Fokker Triplane), Fokker D. VI, and finally the Fokker D. VIII. That said, the days of the rotary engine were marked, since Mercedes’ and BMW’s inline engines produced more horsepower and were more reliable. To this end, Fokker used the 170-180 HP Mercedes D.IIIa. He then switched to the higher-compression (180-200 HP). Some D. VIII’s also used BMW engines.
In the lightweight Fokker Dr. 1 and the monoplane Fokker D. VIII, however, the Oberursel UR. II was magic. With their lower HP engines, the airplanes were highly maneuverable. Although they were at a disadvantage in straight line speed, they were made to dogfight. In the hands of a skilled pilot such as Manfred von Richthofen, they were deadly.
Today we are offering a desk piece produced for Oberursel that was given to favored guests, vendors, government officials, military officers, and, of course, to pilots. We have two examples of this desirable desk piece.

 

 

1. The first example measures ¾" x 3 ½" x 5 ½." Its base is polished black marble with beveled edges. The base’s center features a high-relief Oberursel engine. Each of the cylinders or "jugs" is highly detailed. The center’s hub displays the name "Oberursel Motoren Fabrik." A gold-toned propeller is diagonally attached behind the engine. It features a small black Iron Cross on each propeller half. A green felt cover sits underneath the desk piece and exhibits some mothing, which shows honest age. A small tag is also attached that indicates the manufacturer was located in Munich. $895.00   

 

 

 

 

 

2.The second example measures ¾" x 3 ½" x 5 ½." The base is polished white marble with beveled edges. The base’s center features a high-relief Oberursel engine. Each of the cylinders or "jugs" is highly detailed. The center’s hub displays the name "Oberursel Motoren Fabrik." A gold-toned propeller is diagonally attached behind the engine. It features a small black Iron Cross on each propeller half. Three of the marble base’s edges exhibit some minor chipping. You must look closely to see it, but it is not in quite as good condition as the first example. The felt backing on the reverse is not present, nor is a manufacturer tag present. $795.00   

 

 

 

 

 

These are important pieces of WW I aviation history. Who knows on what desk these pieces might have rested on before and after the Great War? We offer them to you at the indicated prices above. If you would like the pair, we can offer them to you at the very special price of $1,495.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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14-448 AIR SERVICE - GONG FOR OFFICER’S CASINO. This is a most interesting cross between an Imperial German Air Service squadron’s gong and an intricate piece of trench art. It was intended to be used in an aviation unit Officers’ Casino (Club). All Officers’ Casinos, whether they were for the Infanterie, Kavallerie, Artillerie, Imperial German Air Service or other military units, were intended as a retreat for their officers where they could relax and enjoy companionship off-duty.
[Please note: Air Squadron Officers’ Casinos were far more informal and relaxed than those of other military units. For one thing, they were closer to the Front. The other regiments’ more formal casinos, which existed prior to WWI, were located in the cities wherein each regiment was garrisoned. The Air Squadrons’ informality also may have been a by-product of aviation’s high casualty rates. Pilots and observers were killed in action or taken prisoner so frequently that their squadron mates could hardly keep up with the constant turnover of personnel. Some of the Air Squadron Casinos were the scene of riotous parties and drinking bouts as surviving officers tried to calm their nerves, mourned the loss of their friends, and tried to forget that they might suffer the same fate during their next mission. Front-line squadrons, especially the hunting squadrons known as Jastas, had severe attrition rates. Replacement pilots who had not gained sufficient dogfighting skills were feasted on by the enemy. A significant number of pilots did not last beyond their first five missions].

 

A gong like this was probably used to gain the pilots’ attention for announcements, and so on. The gong sits upon a dark-brown wooden base that measures 1" x 6" x 10." The base is stepped, giving it a professional appearance. Two small wooden blocks that serve as a resting place for the gong’s striking mallet sit toward the base’s front. They are set 4 " apart. The mallet itself is constructed from two deactivated bullets that are joined together at their brass bottoms. It is 6 ½" in length. The pointed ends of the lead projectiles snuggle into the small wooden blocks. It is a very clever arrangement.

 

The gong itself is an artillery shell casing. As a matter of fact, I believe it is a French artillery shell. The casing’s base is marked "7.5cm." That measurement translates to "75mm," which is the size of France’s Model 1897 Cannon. [It was an amazing cannon. A recoilless model, it allowed shot after shot to be fired without having to reset the cannon due to the blowback. A well trained Model 1897 Cannon’s crew could fire up to thirty rounds a minute! Around 12,000 French 75's were in use during WW I, and many of them were still in use when WW II began. The French 75mm also was used by U.S. Forces. Future U.S. President Harry S. Truman was a WW I battery commander whose unit operated the famous French 75]. The casing stands 5" tall and measures 3" in diameter. It hangs down from a brass cradle in which it swings freely. The cradle is constructed of a U-shaped brass pipe that sports a bar across its top to which the casing itself is attached. Another bullet tip has been neatly soldered onto the top bar’s center. The purpose for the latter becomes crystal clear when one examines the brass biplane that sits atop it. Yes, the airplane’s body is made from yet another bullet complete with its projectile! The plane’s wings, elevators, and rudder are all fashioned from bits of brass, as are its wheels and a landing gear assembly. A free-turning propeller is attached to the bullet casing’s end. A small hole has been drilled into the bottom wing, allowing the airplane to pivot atop the bullet tip attached to the cradle’s top.

 

 

 

 

The entire display was fashioned in a workshop that possessed wood AND metal-working capabilities in order to complete such a truly amazing presentation. It is, my dear readers, the ultimate trench art piece. Its creator took the time to put together an object that was useful and beautiful. Imagine, if you will, the Squadron or Jasta commander walking into the officer’s casino and striking this gong to gain his officers’ attention. This would look marvelous on your bar or in your man (or lady) cave! $995.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16-469 XJB BOOK - IMPERIAL SKY: FLIGHT BADGES OF THE IMPERIAL GERMAN AND BAVARIAN ARMIES - VOLUME 1 - BY STEPHEN THOMAS PREVITERA - SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION IN DELUXE SLIPCASE. This is a consignment item. It is one of the most authoritative books available about Imperial Germany’s Flight Badges. The author of this book, Stephen Thomas Previtera, is also the author of the excellent books The Iron Time and Prussian Blue, about Iron Crosses and the Orden Pour le Mérite, respectively. Professionally, Previtera is a graphic artist. His books’ layouts and photographs stand head and shoulders above his competition. The scholarship and descriptive storytelling in his latest book are incredible. Simply put, this is SO much more than a mere picture book about pre war, WW I and post war Imperial German Flight Badges.
The massive book measures 2" x 9" x 11." As it is a special, limited edition volume, it comes with a deluxe, protective slipcase. It contains more than six-hundred pages with hundreds of clear and close photographs of all flight badge types and varieties. Even if you are NOT a flight badge collector, this is a marvelous book for your research library. It will provide hours of enjoyment as you read the story of Imperial German Flight Badges and admire its fabulous photographs.
Only two hundred of the special, limited edition volumes were produced. Our offering is number 037/200 and is autographed by the author. It is my understanding that a second volume covering the Kaiserliche Marine’s Flight Badges is forthcoming. [Due to its size and weight, extra shipping will be required]. $225.00  cbJune17

 

 

 

 

 

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16-467 BOOK - GERMAN ACES OF WORLD WAR ONE (VINTAGE WAR BIRDS No. 8) BY ALEX IMRIE. Alex Imrie is a premiere English author and researcher who is extremely knowledgeable about WW I aces. I have several of his books in my library. Having communicated with him on more than one occasion, I find him to be an interesting gentleman. He is one of our hobby’s "good guys."
This book is a small soft cover volume that is No. 8 in the "Vintage Warbirds" series. Its sixty-four pages are profusely illustrated with dozens of interesting photographs. Each photograph is identified. More often than not, a story accompanies the photograph. It is light reading but interesting, nevertheless. The book is in excellent condition. $20.00 jbJune17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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17-675 PATRIOTIC PENDANT - IRON CROSS - FEATURING GERMANY’S KAISER WILHELM II AND AUSTRIA’S KAISER FRANZ JOSEF. This is an early war patriotic pendant. It features Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Kaiser Franz Josef of Austria. Their profiles are superimposed on a 1914 Iron Cross. The black enamel cross is trimmed in white and measures 1 ¼" x 1 ¼." A gold crown appears at the black enamel’s top, while a gold "1914" sits at its bottom. The small circular image of the two Kaisers is seen in the center where one would normally find Wilhelm II’s "W" cypher.
A small jump ring is attached to the cross’s top through which one could insert a chain to wear it as a necklace. The pendant also could be used as a charm on a bracelet, but its primary use would have been on a necklace. The enamel has not been chipped. The pendant’s overall condition remains excellent. $75.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22-107 MAP - GERMAN COLONIES. This is a map that chronicles German colonies from 1890 through 1900. It measures 9 ½" x 12" and is in color. It has been folded, but has no tears or rips in it. Several individual windows depict the various territories that came under the German Empire’s control. The territories represented are listed below.

 

Deutsch-Ostafrika (German East Africa)
Deutsch-Südwestafrika (German Southwest Africa)
Kamerun (Cameroon)
Neu-Guinea (New Guinea)
Marshallinseln (Marshall Islands)
Kaiser Wilhelms-Land und Bismarck-Archipel (Emperor William’s Land and the Bismarck Archipelago)

 

 

I find it curious that no mention is made of the Empire’s possessions in China. I cannot find the year that the map was issued, but it was prepared by a firm in Leipzig (the Kingdom of Saxony). The map has age to it, so it is not a modern-day example. Maps from the period are quite prized. The fact that it is colonial and in very fine shape renders it even more valuable. It would look great framed on its own or as a part of a colonial collage. $45.00 zhJune17

 

 

 

 

 

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23-479 SHOULDER BOARDS - WÜRTTEMBERG - MAJOR - DRAGONER-REGIMENT NR 26. This is a marvelous pair of shoulder boards for a Major from Dragoner-Regiment König (2. Württembergisches) Nr 26. This regiment was the Württemberg military’s most elite regiment. To this end, the regiment boasted a special enamel Garde-Starlike device on its pickelhauben much like the Order of the Württemberg Crown, one of the kingdom’s highest decorations. It was the "King’s Own" Regiment.
The massive pair of shoulder boards measures 2 ½" x 5 ½." The silver rope bullion is beautiful. [The same pattern was used by Majors, Oberstleutnants and Obersts, although gold-toned pips were added for the latter two ranks]. If one looks carefully, one can detect many red and black (Württemberg) chevrons on the silver bullion roping’s face.
The shoulder boards’ obverses feature a metal device that allowed them to be slipped on and off a tunic. The reverses’ yellow underlay confirms that these shoulder boards are for a Dragoner-Regiment. Some very light mothing is visible on the underlay’s surface. The shoulder boards are in excellent condition, overall. $650.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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23-480 SHOULDER BOARDS - PRUSSIA - LEUTNANT - FUßARTILLERIE- REGIMENT NR 5. This is a mint, unissued pair of Leutnant’s shoulder boards from Niederschlesisches Fußartillerie-Regiment Nr 5. The regiment was founded in 1865. It participated in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War, and WW I. It was garrisoned at Posen and was attached to the Prussian V. Armeekorps.
The shoulder boards are of the sewn-in variety, which was common for junior officers. Typically, slip-on shoulder boards were not seen until the rank of Major and above. These shoulder boards measure 1 ½" x 4." Their facing is silver bullion containing the Kingdom of Prussia’s black chevrons. Gilt numerals (5) appear on their obverse. The reverse features a white underlay. Just the slightest hint of moth tracking is visible on the white underlay. This adds to the honest age of these very fine shoulder boards, which remain in excellent condition. $175.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-481 SHOULDER BOARD - PRUSSIA - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - PIONIER-BATAILLON NR 4. This is a single shoulder strap for an enlisted man/NCO from Magdeburgisches Pionier-Bataillon Nr 4. Pioniere were the Imperial German Army’s engineers, responsible for building bridges, roads, etc. The unit was founded in 1816,  the year after the Napoleonic Wars’ conclusion. The Bataillon was garrisoned at Magdeburg and attached to the Prussian IV. Armeekorps.
The shoulder strap measures 2" x 5 ½." Its obverse is black with red trim around its edges, and a red embroidered "4" in its center. Some slight evidence of moth tracking is evident on its obverse. Its reverse is covered with feldgrau felt. $95.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UNDER ARMS FOR THE KAISER:
Shoulder Insignia of the Imperial German Army's Regiments 1871-1918
by Michael A. Kelso.

Our very good friend Michael (Mike) Kelso recently published a superb book covering the Imperial German Army’s epaulettes and shoulder boards from 1871 through 1918 under its three emperors, Kaiser Wilhelm I, Kaiser Friedrich III, and Kaiser Wilhelm II. This particular area of our hobby has long been neglected. To my knowledge, NO other book dealing with this subject is available to collectors. While I have managed to gather some information from a few German books that partially deal with the topic, I have never found a standalone source to serve this purpose, until now.
Mike’s amazing book was released in early 2017. It already has the collecting community raving. Its scholarship and photographs are topnotch. We all owe Mike high praise for his efforts. We strongly urge you to purchase the book directly from Mike. It is a MUST-HAVE reference for any Imperial German militaria collection. You may contact him by email at
makelso77@aol.com. You will be glad you did!

 

We also have had the good fortune to purchase several examples of the shoulder boards and straps that appeared in Mike’s book directly from him. We will add a few in each new update over the next several months. Naturally, we will indicate on which of Mike’s book pages the shoulder board/strap can be found. The first examples appear below. 

 

 

23-482 SHOULDER BOARDS - PRUSSIA - OBERST - FELD-ARTILLERIE-REGIMENT - M-1915. This is a pair of Oberst’s M-1915 Feld-Artillerie-Regiment shoulder boards. They appear on page 375 of Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso. Their obverses feature the pattern used by Majors, Oberstleutnants and Obersts. Each board displays a burnished, gilt-toned, Artillerie-Regiment’s flaming bomb. Each also displays a pair of gold-toned pips that flank the artillery designation and indicate they were for an Oberst who served as its regimental commander. The boards’ muted roping displays black and white chevrons identifying it as a Prussian unit.
Each board exhibits a red underlay that extends beyond its edges. The boards are of the slip-on variety that typified a field-grade officer (from a Major up to an Oberst). They would have been worn on a feldgrau tunic. While the shoulder boards’ obverses are in excellent condition, their reverses display a bit more wear. They are in very pleasing condition, overall. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances their value! $425.00 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-483 SHOULDER BOARDS - PRUSSIA - RITTMEISTER - ULANEN-REGIMENT NR 5. This is a pair of Rittmeister’s (a Hauptmann in non-cavalry regiments) shoulder boards from Westfälisches Ulanen-Regiment Nr 5. The regiment was founded in 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars. It was garrisoned at Düsseldorf and attached to the VII. Armeekorps. The shoulder boards appear on page 324 of Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso. They measure 4 " x 1 ¼." They are pre WW I and feature a silver bullion surface with black chevrons confirming their Prussian origins. A gilt-toned "5" appears in the center of each board that confirms the regiment. Two gilt-toned pips appear above and below the regimental designation, indicating the rank of Rittmeister.
The shoulder boards’ underlay is white with black slip-on devices. Both shoulder boards are in excellent condition. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances their value! $250.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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23-484 SHOULDER BOARD – PRUSSIA – OBERLEUTNANT - 2. LEIB-HUSAREN-REGIMENT KÖNIGIN VICTORIA VON PREUßEN NR 2 - M-1915. This is a single Oberleutnant’s shoulder board from 2. Leib-Husaren-Regiment Königin Victoria von Preußen. The regiment was raised in 1741 and garrisoned at Danzig-Langfuhr, where it was attached to the Prussian XVII. Armeekorps. It was the sister regiment of 1. Leib-Husaren-Regiment Nr 1. It was famous for having Kaiser Wilhelm II, his son, Kronprinz Wilhelm, and Generalfeldmarschall August von Mackensen as members. All three were often seen in the fabled regiment’s uniform and headdress. [In fact, von Mackensen attended Wilhelm II’s funeral in the regiment’s uniform. Before leaving the casket that held his monarch’s remains, he laid his overcoat over it. The 2. Leib-Husaren-Regiment Königin Victoria von Preußen boasted as its most famous member (and à la Suite officer), Prinzessin Viktoria Luise, the Kaiser’s only daughter and eventual wife of Braunschweig’s Herzog Ernst August. [Viktoria Luise ( referred to as "Vikki Lu" in Germany) was also the granddaughter of Königin Viktoria (Queen Victoria of England’s eldest daughter) and Kaiser Friedrich III].
The shoulder board measures 1 ½" x 4." It is of the M-1915 variety for use on a feldgrau attila. It displays a single subdued Oberleutnant’s pip, as well as Königin Viktoria’s subdued cypher. Black and white chevrons also appear on the obverse. The sewn-in shoulder board’s reverse of is black. The shoulder board appears on page 269 of Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso. It was cut from the attila at some point, but remains in very pleasing condition. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances its value! $225.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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23-485 SHOULDER BOARD - PRUSSIA - LEUTNANT - JÄGER ZU PFERDE REGIMENT NR 2 - M-1915. Jäger zu Pferde regiments were created in 1905. Thirteen total regiments (all Prussian) were created, the last in 1913. Jäger zu Pferde members were considered "hunters on horse." They wore a metal helmet similar in design to those of the Küraßiers. Although they did not wear the Küraßiers’ breastplates, they were considered heavy cavalry. In reality, even when the first Jäger zu Pferde regiment was created in 1905, the cavalry had been rendered obsolete and useless by the new machine guns. [This was proven true during WW I’s early days on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. Cavalry units were first limited to scouting, then ultimately served as dismounted infantry fighting in the trenches beside their infantry brethren. Their horses were relegated to moving artillery pieces about on the field].
This is a single Leutnant’s shoulder board from Jäger zu Pferde Regiment Nr 2. The regiment was founded in 1905 and headquartered at Langensalza. It was attached to the Prussian XI. Armeekorps. The shoulder board measures 4" x 1 9/16." This is a subdued obverse, in line with other feldgrau shoulder boards. It sports a subdued metal regimental designation ("2"). Black and white chevrons also appear on the obverse. The underlay features two layers, a red upper and a lower green one. Interestingly, the shoulder board a slip-on, which is a bit unusual for a junior officer. The shoulder board appears on page 340 of Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso.
The shoulder board is in excellent condition and it is a real plus appearing in this book. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances its value! $225.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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23-486 SHOULDER STRAP - PRUSSIA - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - JÄGER ZU PFERDE REGIMENT NR 2. Jäger zu Pferde regiments were created in 1905. Thirteen total regiments (all Prussian) were created, the last in 1913. Jäger zu Pferde members were considered "hunters on horse." They wore a metal helmet similar in design to those of the Küraßiers. Although they did not wear the Küraßiers’ breastplates, they were considered heavy cavalry. In reality, even when the first Jäger zu Pferde regiment was created in 1905, the cavalry had been rendered obsolete and useless by the new machine guns. [This was proven true during WW I’s early days on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. Cavalry units were first limited to scouting, then ultimately served as dismounted infantry fighting in the trenches beside their infantry brethren. Their horses were relegated to moving artillery pieces about on the field].
This is a single shoulder strap for an enlisted man/NCO who served in Jäger zu Pferde Regiment Nr 2. The regiment was founded in 1905 and headquartered at Langensalza. It was attached to the Prussian XI. Armeekorps. The shoulder strap measures 5 " x " x 2 ." The surface of the strap is green. The regimental designation ("2") is chain stitched in red. The strap is edged in red as well. The reverse is also green. The shoulder board appears on page 340 of Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso.
The shoulder strap is in excellent condition. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances its value! $195.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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23-487 SHOULDER STRAP - PRUSSIA - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - JÄGER ZU PFERDE REGIMENT NR 3. Jäger zu Pferde regiments were created in 1905. Thirteen total regiments (all Prussian) were created, the last in 1913. Jäger zu Pferde members were considered "hunters on horse." They wore a metal helmet similar in design to those of the Küraßiers. Although they did not wear the Küraßiers’ breastplates, they were considered heavy cavalry. In reality, even when the first Jäger zu Pferde regiment was created in 1905, the cavalry had been rendered obsolete and useless by the new machine guns. [This was proven true during WW I’s early days on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. Cavalry units were first limited to scouting, then ultimately served as dismounted infantry fighting in the trenches beside their infantry brethren. Their horses were relegated to moving artillery pieces about on the field].
This is a single shoulder strap for an enlisted man/NCO who served in Jäger zu Pferde Regiment Nr 3. The regiment was founded in 1905 and headquartered at Colmar I. E.. It was attached to the Prussian XV. Armeekorps. The shoulder strap measures 1 ¾" x " 5 ¼." The surface of the strap is green. The regimental designation ("3") is chain stitched in red. The strap is edged in yellow. The reverse is lined in yellow. The shoulder board appears on page 341 of Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso.
The shoulder strap has some minor mothing on the obverse. More extensive mothing appears on the reverse, and the yellow underlay shows through in a couple of spots. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances its value! $195.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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23-488 SHOULDER BOARD - PRUSSIA - LEUTNANT - JÄGER ZU PFERDE REGIMENT NR 6. Jäger zu Pferde regiments were created in 1905. Thirteen total regiments (all Prussian) were created, the last in 1913. Jäger zu Pferde members were considered "hunters on horse." They wore a metal helmet similar in design to those of the Küraßiers. Although they did not wear the Küraßiers’ breastplates, they were considered heavy cavalry. In reality, even when the first Jäger zu Pferde regiment was created in 1905, the cavalry had been rendered obsolete and useless by the new machine guns. [This was proven true during WW I’s early days on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. Cavalry units were first limited to scouting, then ultimately served as dismounted infantry fighting in the trenches beside their infantry brethren. Their horses were relegated to moving artillery pieces about on the field].
This is a single Leutnant’s shoulder board from Jäger zu Pferde Regiment Nr 6. The regiment was founded in 1910 and headquartered at Erfurt. It was attached to the Prussian XI. Armeekorps. The shoulder board measures 1 ½" x 4." It sports a gilt-toned metal regimental designation ("6"). Black chevrons appear on the obverse. It has two layers of underlay. The upper is blue and the lower is green. Interestingly, the shoulder board is a slip-on, which is a bit unusual for a junior officer. The shoulder board appears on page 342 of Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso.
The shoulder board is in excellent condition. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances its value! $225.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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23-489 SHOULDER STRAP - PRUSSIA - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - JÄGER ZU PFERDE REGIMENT NR 7. Jäger zu Pferde regiments were created in 1905. Thirteen total regiments (all Prussian) were created, the last in 1913. Jäger zu Pferde members were considered "hunters on horse." They wore a metal helmet similar in design to those of the Küraßiers. Although they did not wear the Küraßiers’ breastplates, they were considered heavy cavalry. In reality, even when the first Jäger zu Pferde regiment was created in 1905, the cavalry had been rendered obsolete and useless by the new machine guns. [This was proven true during WW I’s early days on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. Cavalry units were first limited to scouting, then ultimately served as dismounted infantry fighting in the trenches beside their infantry brethren. Their horses were relegated to moving artillery pieces about on the field].
This is a single shoulder strap for an enlisted man/NCO from Jäger zu Pferde Regiment Nr 7. The regiment was founded in 1913 and headquartered at Trier. It was attached to the Prussian XI. Armeekorps. The shoulder strap measures 2 ¼" x 5 ½." The surface of the strap is green. The regimental designation ("7") is chain stitched on it in red. The strap is edged in yellow. Its reverse is feldgrau. The shoulder board appears on page 342 of Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso.
Some light scattered mothing shows on its obverse. The reverse shows a bit more mothing and its yellow underlay shows through at some points. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances its value! $195.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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23-490 SHOULDER STRAP - PRUSSIA - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - JÄGER ZU PFERDE REGIMENT NR 12. Jäger zu Pferde regiments were created in 1905. Thirteen total regiments (all Prussian) were created, the last in 1913. Jäger zu Pferde members were considered "hunters on horse." They wore a metal helmet similar in design to those of the Küraßiers. Although they did not wear the Küraßiers’ breastplates, they were considered heavy cavalry. In reality, even when the first Jäger zu Pferde regiment was created in 1905, the cavalry had been rendered obsolete and useless by the new machine guns. [This was proven true during WW I’s early days on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. Cavalry units were first limited to scouting, then ultimately served as dismounted infantry fighting in the trenches beside their infantry brethren. Their horses were relegated to moving artillery pieces about on the field].
This is a single shoulder strap for an enlisted man/NCO from Jäger zu Pferde Regiment Nr 12. The regiment was founded in 1913 and headquartered at St. Avold. It was attached to the Prussian XVI. Armeekorps. The shoulder strap measures 2 ¼" x 5 ½." The surface of the strap is green. The regimental designation (12") is chain stitched in red. The strap is edged in blue. Its reverse is feldgrau. A gold-toned button is attached to the strap. The shoulder strap appears on page 340 of Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso.
The shoulder strap is in very fine condition. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances its value! $195.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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23-491 SHOULDER STRAP - PRUSSIA - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - ULANEN-REGIMENT NR 6. This is a single shoulder strap for an enlisted man/NCO from Thüringisches Ulanen-Regiment Nr 6. The regiment was founded in 1813 in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars. It was garrisoned at Hanau and assigned to the XVIII. Armeekorps. The shoulder strap appears on page 305 Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso.
The strap measures 6 " x 2 9/16." Its surface is covered in dark-blue wool. Here, the strap gets interesting. Rather than having the regimental designation embroidered or screened on it, it features a silver crown above a silver-toned royal cypher. This leads me to the assumption that our man was an NCO, possibly the regiment’s senior NCO. The arrangement is quite unusual. I have only seen a handful of metal insignia on shoulder straps. The strap is edged in white. Its backing on the reverse is red. One can see the chain stitching where the insignia was stitched on the strap.
The strap exhibits some age. It sports a couple of small moth nips on the obverse, and the red backing shows some soiling. That said, it is an unusual and scarce example of this regiment’s shoulder straps. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances its value! $195.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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23-492 SHOULDER STRAP - MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - GRENADIER-REGIMENT NR 89. This is a single shoulder strap for an enlisted man/NCO from Großherzogl. Mecklenburgisches Grenadier-Regiment Nr 89, Bataillon Nr 1 and Nr 3. Bataillon Nr 2 was from Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Bataillon Nr 1 and Nr 3 were garrisoned at Mecklenburg, while Bataillon Nr 2 was located at Neu Strelitz. The regiment was founded in 1782 and attached to the IX. Armeekorps. The shoulder strap appears on page 87 of Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso.
The strap measures 2 ½" x 5." Its background is white. The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin’s royal cypher is emblazoned on it in red. Its reverse is dark-blue. A single moth nip shows on the obverse, while some very scattered moth tracking appears on its reverse. It is in good condition and from an important regiment. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances its value! $225.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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23-493 SHOULDER STRAP - BADEN - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - LEIB-GRENADIER-REGIMENT NR 109. This is a single shoulder strap for an enlisted man/NCO from the Grand Duchy of Baden’s 1. Badisches Leib-Grenadier-Regiment Nr 109. This regiment was the most important one in Baden’s military. As Grand Duchies, Baden and Hesse-Darmstadt were Imperial Germany’s two biggest military contributors after its four main Kingdoms of Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria, and Württemberg. The regiment was founded in 1803 and garrisoned in Baden’s capital city, Karlsruhe. It was attached to the XIV. Armeekorps. The shoulder strap appears on page 114 of Under Arms for the Kaiser: Shoulder Insignia of the German Army’s Regiments 1871-1918, by Michael A. Kelso. The strap measures 2 " x 6 ½." Its background is black with white trim around the edges. An embroidered red crown appears in its center. The strap’s reverse is also black. Its overall condition is excellent. This was one of the Imperial German Army’s premiere regiments. Being featured in this excellent reference book certainly enhances its value! $195.00   

 

 

 

 

 

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32-179 PATRIOTIC PIN - IRON CROSS - MANUFACTURED FROM ARTILLERY SHELL DRIVING BAND. This is a fine example of a patriotic pin manufactured during WW I. It could also be classified as a piece of "Trench Art." The pin features a rounded base and measures ¼" x 1 ½." It is made from an artillery shell’s driving band. The ridges on its surface clearly indicate its origins. The brass band is very polished. A small, enamel, 1914 Iron Cross is fastened to the driving band’s center. Some light chipping shows on the cross’s surface. Laurel and/or oak leaves flank the Iron Cross. The reverse features a sturdy pin, as well as three small rivets where the Iron Cross and the leaves have been attached. The entire arrangement and the result are very professional-looking. It is in top condition.
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32-180 PATRIOTIC PIN - SOLDIER PHOTOGRAPH. I have a real penchant for the patriotic pins that feature soldiers’ photograph. They first became popular prior to WW I. With the ever-increasing numbers of German soldiers and sailors, their popularity increased as WW I progressed. This example measures 1" in diameter. The frame is a free-form design of leaves and flowers. The soldier here, an enlisted man/NCO from an unknown regiment, appears in his feldgrau uniform. He sports a Kaiser Wilhelm II style moustache. A pin appears on the reverse. His sister, wife, sweetheart or mother once wore this very heart-warming pin. I always wonder whenever I see a Great War soldier’s or sailor’s photo, did he return home to his loved ones? Its overall condition is excellent. $75.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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32-181 PATRIOTIC PIN - IRON CROSS - 1914. This is a very fine early war patriotic pin in the shape of a 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class. The cross measures 1" x 1." Its surface is made from two colors of enamel, although the enamel is subdued rather than glossy. Its primary color is black, while the secondary gold color is used for the trim, crown, "W" (for Kaiser Wilhelm), and the date, 1914, as is seen on a full-sized Iron Cross. A pin appears on the reverse. The obverse shows no signs of chipping on its surface. The gold highlights exhibit signs of wear and age. $125.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33-338 PRUSSIA - KUGELHELM - OFFICER’S - FELDARTILLERIE - WITH SPECIAL WAPPEN. Prussian Feldartillerie kugelhelme sported three very different wappen-types that represented three vastly different regiments. The most common of the three wappens was intended for Line-Artillerie Regiments. [It was also shared with Line-Infanterie Regiments]. Its bandeau proclaimed "Mitt Gott Fur Koenig und Vaterland," with the initials "FR" directly underneath. The second wappen-type was used by Garde-Regiments and featured an impressive Garde Star that was displayed on ALL headdresses used by the various Garde-Regiments. The third wappen-type was used by only FOUR old-line, very elite regiments that were only slightly less prestigious than the Garde-Feldartillerie-Regiments: Feldartillerie-Regiment Prinz August von Preußen Nr 1 (founded in 1772), 1. Pommerisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 2 (founded in 1808), Feldartillerie-Regiment General Feldzügmeister (1. Brandenburgisches) Nr 3 (founded in 1816), and Feldartillerie-Regiment von Peucker (1. Schlesisches) Nr 6 (founded in 1808). This wappen displayed an oval shield/device that featured the King’s cypher under the bandeau rather than the "FR." Their low regimental numbers were an indication of their importance, as well as how early they were founded.
The helmet’s leather body is in excellent condition. It received superb treatment from its original and successive owners for more than one-hundred years. Its leather is clean, clear, and supple. The beautifully-frosted gilt wappen is a delight to view. Its fire-gilding is excellent. All of the other furniture, including its chin scales, trim, base, officer’s stars, and kugel, is also gilt. The final exterior details are the correct Reich and State officer’s kokarden.
The helmet’s interior features a brown leather sweatband in magnificent condition. The rust-colored silk liner is complete and in excellent condition. The original hardware and fittings can be seen under the silk liner. NO double holes are present, a vital testament to the originality of any headdress.
The helmet comes to us from the collection of a very serious and knowledgeable longtime collector who has a sharp eye for quality, condition, and (of course) authenticity. I can say with complete honesty that its condition is EXCELLENT. I have not seen a kugelhelm in better condition than this example for a long time. You would be hard pressed to find a better helmet. It is fairly-priced and represents a solid value.
$4,295.00

 

At Der Rittmeister Militaria, we strive to bring you the best in the various helmets and headdresses that we offer, whether they are pickelhauben, or the Artillerie Regiments’ kugelhelme, specialized helmets that sported round metal balls instead of metal spikes. As with pickelhauben, while ORIGINALITY and AUTHENTICITY are of prime importance, please do not forget Der Rittmeister’s commitment to CONDITION and QUALITY. In this regard, we take special pride in offering you kugelhelme whose condition is at least well above average, if not excellent. I examine hundreds of kugelhelme to find the very few that fulfill all four criteria mentioned above. Upon receiving their new treasure, collectors who have purchased one of our kugelhelme often exclaim that their helmet looks even better than the photos we had displayed on our website. [We do use a high-quality digital camera to photograph our items and upgrade cameras every two years, but enough with the Der Rittmeister Militaria commercial]! Just remember, dear friends, Der Rittmeister’s Four Critical Criteria for collecting pickelhauben: ORIGINALITY, AUTHENTICITY, CONDITION, and QUALITY.
The kugelhelm was first introduced by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1843, following the introduction of the pickelhaube. [Both were designed by Prussia’s König Frederick William IV, who might have copied similar helmets adopted by Russia’s military during the same time period. It is not clear whether this was a case of imitation, parallel invention, or if both were based on Napoleonic cuirassiers’ helmets]. The kugelhelm’s use spread state by state and Kingdom by Kingdom after that date. The final Kingdom to implement the kugelhelm was Bavaria in 1913. [As usual, the Bavarians always seemed to go their own way]!
We also remind all kugelhelme enthusiasts about our good friend Jim Turinetti’s excellent reference books on headdresses (click here to see DRM’s Imperial German Headdress Page Nr 3), available as spiral-bound paperbacks or on CD. You cannot go wrong with them. I can safely state that Jim is the USA’s foremost authority on pickelhauben and other forms of Imperial German Headdress. Please support him. Dollar for dollar, these books are the best on the market, and reward you with an immeasurable return in value! [Remember, Jim receives any and ALL the profits from his works, Der Rittmeister Militaria just promotes them to help educate the collecting community].
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1700 XML JEWELER’S/WEARER’S COPY - ORDEN POUR le MÉRITE - PRUSSIA. This is a consignment item. It was previously purchased from Der Rittmeister Militaria, and meets our exacting standards. We all know that the Orden Pour le Mérite (PLM) was the highest decoration that Prussia and Germany could offer to its officers. Enlisted Men and NCO’s were not eligible for the award. Instead, they had their own decoration that recognized extreme bravery in combat, often referred to as the "Enlisted Man’s Blue Max." [The PLM, or "Blue Max," is supposedly nicknamed that for Max Immelmann, the first WW I aviator to receive it. I have been asked over the years, why was Prussia and Germany’s top decoration given a French name? When it was created in 1740, during Friedrich der Große’s reign, the official court language was French. Friedrich considered the German language uncouth, and French to be more refined and cultured. He even modeled his primary Potsdam castle, Sanssouci, after the French Palace at Versailles].
Approximately seven hundred examples of the Orden Pour le Mérite were awarded during WW I from 1914 through 1918. No more examples were awarded after the war’s end. You will note that we have used the terms "Jeweler’s or Wearer’s Copy" for this PLM. I wish I knew of a better term for these decorations. In other words, this is a period PLM that lacks the provenance to offer it as a presentation piece. Traditionally, the provenance that allows a PLM (or any other high decoration) to be considered an "awarded" decoration comes in the form of an Urkunde (the official award document signed by the Kaiser or, in some cases, the Ordenskanzler), or some other documentation from the family of the man awarded the PLM.
For example, Godet & Sohn was one of Kaiser Wilhelm’s house jewelers who provided presentation PLM’s for nominated officers. Suppose that Godet had ten PLM’s in stock. They get the call from the Kaiser’s Ordenskanzler that five PLM’s are required for presentation by the Kaiser. Five are pulled from the stock and sent to the Ordenskanzler, who then arranged for five Urkunden to be signed by the Kaiser for presentation with the PLM’s. After receiving his award, one of the officers might decide he did not want to risk harming something that had been personally presented to him by his Kaiser, instead preferring to store it in a safe place. At the same time, however, the Orden Pour le Mérite statutes mandated that the recipient wear one on his uniform whenever he was out in public. The solution to this dilemma was for the officer to visit Godet & Sohn in order to purchase ANOTHER PLM for daily wear (he might even purchase two, just in case). [The same solution applied if the officer lost or damaged his PLM and required a replacement]. So Godet would pull another PLM from its inventory that was IDENTICAL to his awarded piece in every way. In this instance, no actual difference existed between the "Jeweler’s/Wearer’s Copy" and the actual awarded piece because they were constructed by the SAME company in the SAME manner.
So I use the term "Jeweler’s or Wearer’s Copy" only because I cannot present any supporting documentation to you. I have offered PLM’s in this manner for twenty years, with the exception of the very rare instance when I DID have provenance that I felt was sufficient to classify it as an "awarded" PLM. In point of fact, if a PLM is a period piece (NOT post war), NO actual difference exists between them.
This is what we are offering to you today, a "Jeweler’s or Wearer’s Copy." The decoration measures 2 ¼" x 2 ¼." It displays a handsome blue enamel surface on both the obverse and reverse. The obverse features the "Pour le Mérite" and Friedrich der Große’s crowned royal cypher in gold lettering (chased gold lettering, to be specific). A gold Hohenzollern Eagle nestles between each blue enamel arm. A pie-shaped suspension device is attached to a paperclip-like holder through which the decoration’s neck-ribbon was inserted. This pie-shaped device was used on early-to-mid World War I PLM’s. The VERY early-war examples actually were made of gold. As WW I progressed, gold soon was in short supply, so awards were made of silver that was covered with a gold wash, as was this example. A close examination of the pie-shaped device’s edge reveals a mark that reads "JguS .938." The latter attests that the decoration INDEED came from J. Godet und Sohn’s workshops and that the decoration is made of .938 silver beneath its gold wash. The obverse’s enamel finish is quite pleasing, with one very small dimple near the "P" that keeps it from being perfect. I actually like the idea that it shows some wear to it, which I classify as "honest age." The reverse is flawless.
A 100% correct ribbon accompanies the decoration. It measures 18 ¾" in length and is 2" wide. The ties at the end that allowed the decoration to be worn around the neck are NOT present. The ribbon is made of black silk, with two narrow silver bullion stripes, each of which measures ¼" in width. It has been quite some time since we have been able to offer a PLM of this quality and condition.  With the price reduction, this superb Pour le Mérite represents a truly excellent value.
$8,495.00 FINAL PRICE REDUCTION: $7,250.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20-234 SILVER/GOLD OVAL PRESENTATION MEDALLION/PENDANT COMMEMORATING PRINZREGENT LUITPOLD von BAYERN’S LIFE. Prinzregent Luitpold of Bavaria served as Bavaria’s defacto King from 1886, when Ludwig II was deposed (Ludwig mysteriously died the following day in a lake accident), until his death in 1912. He proved to be an able ruler. The Bavarian people were very fond of him. Today we are offering an interesting medallion/pendant that was given as a gift to court favorites. It is an oval-shaped, silver and gold example. It measures 2” x 1,” using the crown as its top point. The Prinzregent is seen in profile view. The medallion is enclosed within a wreath of leaves, with the Wittelsbach Crown at its top. Both the wreath and crown are GOLD. Four small rubies appear at the 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock positions. In addition, the crown circlet features two small emeralds and a pearl. This, in fact, forms a complete frame, which we will see as we examine the reverse. Another elongated pearl hangs down at the frame’s bottom on the obverse. Looking at the back of the crown, we see that it serves as a holder to mount the medallion on a chain or any other item of the wearer’s choice. The medallion’s reverse is encased in the GOLD frame. Inscribed on the reverse in Latin is information about Prinzregent Luitpold. It lists his birth information (12 March 1821) and his death date (12 December 1912). These medallions were issued to favored people after his death by members of the Wittelsbach family, including König Ludwig III, who succeeded Luitpold in 1913. It is obviously a much higher level of gift. It would have been given to a lady of much greater importance than one who received the silver example. These medallions were created by Professor W. von Hildebrand (1847-1921), who crafted many items of this nature for the Wittelsbachs. It is a beautiful memento of Prinzregent Luitpold, who was held in the deepest esteem by his subjects. $2,495.00 Reduced to $1,995.00 !!!

 

 

 

 

 

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20-235 SILVER OVAL PRESENTATION MEDALLION/PENDANT COMMEMORATING PRINZREGENT LUITPOLD von BAYERN’S LIFE. Prinzregent Luitpold of Bavaria served as Bavaria’s defacto King from 1886, when Ludwig II was deposed (Ludwig mysteriously died the following day in a lake accident), until his death in 1912. He proved to be an able ruler. The Bavarian people were very fond of him. Today we are offering an interesting medallion/pendant that was given as a gift to court favorites. Our offering today is an oval-shaped silver example. The Prinzregent is seen in profile view. The medallion is enclosed within a wreath of leaves, with the Wittelsbach Crown at its top. Inscribed on the reverse in Latin is information about Prinzregent Luitpold. It lists his birth information (12 March 1821) and his death date (12 December 1912). These medallions were issued to favored people after his death by members of the Wittelsbach family, including König Ludwig III, who succeeded Luitpold in 1913. These medallions were created by Professor W. von Hildebrand (1847-1921), who crafted many items of this nature for the Wittelsbachs. It is a beautiful memento of Prinzregent Luitpold, who was held in the deepest esteem by his subjects. It measures 1 ½" X 1". $1,395.00 Reduced to $1,095.00!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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01-878 XBB ARMY WOUND BADGE - BLACK. This is a consignment item. The Army Wound Badge was first authorized in March 1918. It was created in three grades or classes. The 3rd Class/Black Army Wound Badge was for one-to-two wounds. The 2nd Class/Silver Army Wound Badge was for three-to-four wounds. The 1st Class/Gold Army Wound Badge was intended for five-or-more wounds, the loss of a limb or maybe an eye.  This is an issued piece. It is stamped. Some scuffing shows on the stahlhelm, the badge’s highest point. Overall, it is in very good condition. $40.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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01-879 XBB ARMY WOUND BADGE - BLACK - CUTOUT. This is a consignment item. The Army Wound Badge was first authorized in March 1918. It was created in three grades or classes. The 3rd Class/Black Army Wound Badge was for one-to-two wounds. The 2nd Class/Silver Army Wound Badge was for three-to-four wounds. The 1st Class/Gold Army Wound Badge was intended for five-or-more wounds, the loss of a limb, or maybe an eye.  As issued, the Army Wound Badge was a "closed" design. Later, as was often the case with 1914 Iron Crosses 1st Class, a man could purchase a custom piece with some differences, such as a screwback, being made of .800 silver, or in this case, the highly-desired cutout (open) Wound Badge. This is a black cutout example that boasts a magnificent finish. It would make an excellent addition to any badge collection. $195.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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02-440 XLO MEDAL BAR - FIVE-PLACE. This is a consignment item. It is a five-place medal bar. Its medals are listed from left to right below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1). Military Merit Cross 3rd Class - Bavaria.
2). Hindenburg Cross with Swords for Combatants.
3). Land Tirol Veterans Medal for Service 1914-1918.
4). War Service Medal for Service during WW I - Austria.
5). War Service Medal for Service during WW I - Hungary.

 

The medals are all in fine condition. The ribbon shows considerable soiling. $250.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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04-733 XLO PRUSSIA - WAPPEN - PICKELHAUBE - ENLISTED MAN/NCO. This is a consignment item. It is a pre war brass wappen for a Prussian pickelhaube. It is in very fine condition, with the original clips in place on the reverse. While it is primarily used on a pickelhaube, it could be used on other forms of Prussian Headdress such as a kugelhelm or a shako. $150.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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09-1023 IRON CROSS - 1870 - 2nd CLASS - 1914 SPANGE. The 1870 Iron Cross received two additions (rendered in two stages) after the initial awards of approximately 50,000 examples. A "Jubilee" was proclaimed by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1895, wherein its awardees were authorized to add oak leaves with a "25" to their Iron Crosses. This was known as the Jubiläumsspange. This was either added as a device to the jump ring area, or attached directly to the top of the ribbon.
A further honor was granted to the original 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class winners when WW I began. [Remember that 1914 was nearly forty-five years after the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War. Most of the surviving awardees had reached their sixties, so a certain number of the original 50,000 had died]. Another spange was created that was slipped onto the EK 2's ribbon. It featured a 1914 Iron Cross against a pebbled background. The bulk of the awarded pieces came from the workshops of Wagner & Söhne, one of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s leading Court Jewelers.
Our offering today is a Jeweler’s/Wearer’s copy from another of the Kaiser’s House Jewelers, C.E. Juncker. It measures ¼" x 1 ¼." The spange’s reverse reveals a depression where it was pushed in to secure it to the ribbon. The reverse also features their hallmark as listed below.

 

C.E. Juncker
Berlin S.W.

 

This spange is in very fine condition and can be added to an existing 1870 Iron Cross 2nd Class with the "25-Year" Oak Leaves. $495.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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09-1019 XBB IRON CROSS - 1914 - 1st CLASS - THREE-PIECE SCREWBACK - THIRD REICH ERA PRODUCTION - SLIGHTLY VAULTED - GODET "L/12" HALLMARK. This is a consignment item. Today we are offering a most interesting 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class. The cross is very slightly vaulted, just a bit higher than a flat issued Iron Cross 1st Class. The paint on its obverse is in excellent condition, rating 100%. The frame has a fine patina and its beading is even and well formed. The reverse also reveals that it is a true, custom, three-piece screwback (consisting of the EK itself, an arched backing plate, and the nut that screws the backing plate down. The Iron Cross is also magnetic. The bottom of the six o’clock arm features an "L/12." During the Third Reich era, numbers were assigned to decoration and badge manufacturers. These were unique to each manufacturer and replaced the hallmarking system used during the Imperial period. In this case, "L/12" was the code used by Berlin’s Godet, one of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s and the Prussian royal family’s House Jewelers during the Imperial German Period.
While this was a privately-purchased Iron Cross, it probably was purchased by an officer. Perhaps he had a need for an extra Iron Cross, lost or damaged his original Iron Cross, or did not want to keep moving his Iron Cross from one tunic to another. Whatever the reason, it made sense to purchase an additional Iron Cross.
This is a high-quality Iron Cross. It deserves a place in a collection to illustrate the differences between WW I Iron Crosses and those from the Third Reich.

$450.00
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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09-1016 XBB IRON CROSS - 1914 - 1st CLASS - "KO" HALLMARK. This is a consignment item. It is a flat, issued 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class that sports a "KO" hallmark under its catch on the reverse. "KO," a firm located in Stuttgart, was the principal provider of issued 1914 Iron Crosses 1st Class. The paint on its obverse rates at 100%. The reverse boasts a fine sturdy pin in addition to the aforementioned "KO" hallmark. It is a wonderful EK in excellent condition. $250.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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09-1017 XBB IRON CROSS - 1914 - 2nd CLASS - WITHOUT RIBBON. This is a consignment item. It is a 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class. It is magnetic, with excellent paint on both its obverse and reverse. No manufacturer’s hallmark is evident. It comes complete with a jump ring, but no ribbon. $60.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11-525 XBB PILOT BADGE - FRENCH. This is a consignment item. France traditionally issued its pilots their flight badges when they successfully completed pilot training, but in a different manner than the Germans. In France, each flight badge was assigned its own, unique, identification number. I do not know if one can discover which pilot was awarded this particular badge, although perhaps its new owner can try.
The badge measures 1 ½" x 2." It consists of a gilt-toned eagle in flight superimposed upon a silver-toned wreath topped by a gilt star. A silver bow decorates the wreath’s bottom center point.
The reverse of the badge has an unusual pin system that looks like an old-fashioned, gold-toned barbell (a bar with two round balls at either end). One end unscrews to allow the bar to be pulled out from the double catches. The badge could then be attached to the tunic either through sewn-in loops or possibly by piercing the tunic’s fabric.
The badge’s reverse features its serial number, "14295," at its base. A script "B" enclosed within a circle precedes the serial number. My WW I Pilot Badge expert (my "go-to guy" for British, German and French badges) informed me that French Pilot Badges were essentially the same from WW I through the 1930's. That said, he dubbed the serial number "consistent with badges that were produced and issued during WW I." We are all aware that the mortality rate for WW I pilots was quite high. I have no idea what constituted France’s total number of pilots during the Great War, but to think that it comprised more than 14,000 is mind boggling!
The badge is in very fine condition.
$725.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11-527 XBB STICKPIN - ARMY PILOT BADGE - PRUSSIAN. This is a consignment item. It is a Prussian Army Pilot Badge stickpin. It would have been used as an accent piece on a tie or possibly a lapel. It is quite detailed, with an excellent rendition of the Prussian Army Pilot Badge. The badge measures ¼" x ¾." The stickpin measures 2" in length from the badge’s top down to the pin’s point. The pin features a knurled effect. It is in tiptop condition. $125.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11-528 XBB STICKPIN - ARMY PILOT BADGE - PRUSSIAN. This is a consignment item. It is a Prussian Army Pilot Badge stickpin. It would have been used as an accent piece on a tie or possibly a lapel. It is quite detailed, with an excellent rendition of the Prussian Army Pilot Badge. The badge measures ¼" x ¾." The stickpin measures 2 ¼" in length from the badge’s top down to the pin’s point. The pin features a knurled effect. It is in great condition. $125.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11-529 XBB STICKPIN - ARMY PILOT BADGE - PRUSSIAN. This is a consignment item. It is a Prussian Army Pilot Badge stickpin. It would have been used as an accent piece on a tie or possibly a lapel. It is quite detailed, with an excellent rendition of the Prussian Army Pilot Badge. The badge measures ¼" x ¾." The stickpin measures 2 ¼" in length from the badge’s top down to the pin’s point. The pin features a knurled effect. It is in lovely condition. $125.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11-533 XBB ARMY PILOT BADGE - COMMEMORATIVE - CARL POELLATH HALLMARK - SILBER - BAVARIA. This is a consignment item. It is a high-quality Bavarian Commemorative Pilot Badge of the two-piece hollow variety. Carl Poellath produced the finest Bavarian flight badges. The latter means its two pieces were soldered together, as evidenced by the weep hole under the reverse’s catch. The badge is in excellent condition. $1,295.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11-535 XBB PILOT BADGE - ROYAL FLYING CORPS - BULLION. This is a consignment item. It is a WW I Royal Flying Corps (RFC) Pilot Badge, a high-quality bullion badge made of superior-quality silk. It is a thirteen-feather variety that measures 1 ½" x 5." [This has been authenticated for me by an expert on British flying badges. He has shared with me that all British wings were privately purchased from military effects stores or from tailors who prepared the soldiers’ uniforms. The badges were not issued by the military]. It is in excellent condition. $695.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11-539 XBB PILOT BADGE - LAPEL PIN - U.S. ARMY AIR SERVICE - SCREWBACK. This is a consignment item. It is a miniature of the U.S. Army Air Service Pilot Badge that was used as a lapel pin. It measures ¼" x ¾." Interestingly, it is a two-piece screwback example that would have been inserted into a suit coat’s lapel buttonhole. It is in excellent condition. $395.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14-445 XBB PATRIOTIC RING - PRUSSIAN - ARMY PILOT BADGE. This is a consignment item. It is a ring that features a Prussian Army Pilot Badge as its central theme. These rings were often worn by pilots, or by their sweethearts or wives back home. The badge is highly-detailed. The condition is better than many that we see. Often these rings’ high points exhibit excessive wear, rendering their details unclear. This example, however, sports crisp, clean features.
Leaves flank the Pilot Badge on its band. The band’s interior is hallmarked for .835 silver. A size-reduction device is installed within the ring that reduces it to a size "5." It is approximately a size "8 ½" without the sizer. I cannot say if it was a period adjustment, or if a collector added the sizer after the fact. So, it was clearly added for a woman. If this device were to be removed, it could be worn by a man. I cannot say, however, what size it would be in its natural state.
$450.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14-446 XBB - PATRIOTIC PIN - AUSTRIAN - MONOPLANE WITH IRON CROSS. This is a consignment item. It is a patriotic pin that features a pilot flying an Austrian monoplane superimposed over a laurel leaf wreath as its central motif. The plane’s wings extend outside the wreath. The pin measures 1 ¾" tall and 1" wide from wingtip to wingtip. An enamel Austro-Hungarian Empire flag decorates the pin’s top center point, while an enamel Iron Cross appears at the bottom. It is a handsome, well-made pin. $395.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16-466 BOOK - AVIATION - AVIATION AWARDS OF IMPERIAL GERMANY - NEAL O’ CONNOR - COMPLETE SEVEN-BOOK SERIES. This is one of the most amazing series of books ever published to chronicle the Imperial German Air Service and its members. Each volume features a treasure trove of information about the pilots, observers and other personnel as well as plentiful photos of the men and their machines. Every book also includes substantial information about their medals and badges. A number of books on the market document pilots and airplanes OR their awards and decorations, but not BOTH, which is the true beauty of this classic SEVEN-BOOK series.

 

 

 

 

The late Neal O’ O Connor was a leading member of the League of World War I Aviation Historians (an organization to which I have belonged and highly recommend to all WW I aviation collectors). Neal was a true gentleman whom I was privileged to know. I even sold him some additions to his collection for time to time. His collection was huge. It included many personal items that once belonged to Germany’s aces, some of which were given to him by pilots whom he met after WW II ended. A large portion of Neal’s vast collection was donated to a German aviation museum following his death. In fact, his burgeoning collection is what prompted Neal to begin what would become the most important Imperial German aviation series ever offered to the public. It all started with a modest volume describing the Kingdom of Bavaria’s airmen and their decorations. The latter volume’s first (and ONLY) run numbered only five hundred copies. When the series became quite successful in later years, Neal resisted requests for a second edition.
The series’ second volume provided the same information about the Kingdom of Prussia. Since many of Germany’s leading pilots were Prussian, it proved to be quite popular. Even though the second volume’s run may have included a few more copies, both the Prussian and Bavarian editions sold out quickly and remain highly prized.

 

A complete set of Neal O’Connor’s series is nearly impossible to find these days. Today we are providing you the opportunity to purchase all seven volumes at once. [Back in the day, I located the Prussian volume first, then added the third volume about Saxony before I finally found the Bavarian edition (which cost me dearly)]! Our set includes the seven volumes listed below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. The Aviation Awards of the Kingdom of Bavaria.
2. The Aviation Awards of the Kingdom of Prussia.
3. The Aviation Awards of the Kingdom of Saxony.
4. The Aviation Awards of the Kingdom of Württemberg.
5. The Aviation Awards of the Eight Thuringian States and the Duchy of Anhalt.
6. The Aviation Awards of the Grand Duchies of Baden and Oldenburg.
7. The Aviation Awards of Eight German States and Three Free Cities.

 

Volumes one through six are high-quality, soft cover copies, while volume seven is a large hard cover book. Once you open one of these magnificent books, you will immediately become entranced by its beautiful photographs and wealth of information. We are VERY pleased to offer you this sumptuous set in the hope that it will bring you as much pleasure and enjoyment as it has given us. $795.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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17-674 XLO PATRIOTIC BRACELET - "THE TIME OF IRON" - WW I. This is a consignment item. During WW I, patriotic jewelry was very popular among the German people, who were especially passionate in their support of the war effort during its early-to-mid years. German women had a wide variety of patriotic jewelry available to them, ranging from bracelets to rings, pins to brooches, and necklaces to pendants.
Our offering is a patriotic bracelet that proclaimed the war’s "Time of Iron" to be an important part of supporting the Fatherland. The linked bracelet measures 11 ½" in length. It is made of a base metal, possibly steel, to represent the "iron." The bracelet’s center medallion features a Hohenzollern Eagle on the obverse. The reverse states "Im Eiserner Zeit 1916" (The Iron Time 1916). Flanking the central device are two smaller medallions that state "Eisern zur Ehr" (Iron for Honor) and "Gold zur Wehr" (Gold for the Military) on the obverse and reverse. The bracelet’s clasp bears a "K & O" hallmark. The bracelet was issued as part of the "Gold for Iron" program wherein Germans donated gold for the war effort and received iron mementoes in return. It is an absolutely lovely piece.
$125.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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18-440 XLO VETERAN’S STEIN - BAVARIA - ULANEN-REGIMENT NR 1. This is a consignment item. It is a very fine 1. Ulanen-Regiment Kaiser Wilhelm II, König von Preußen veteran’s stein. The Bavarian regiment was founded in 1863 and was garrisoned at Bamberg. It was attached to the Bavarian II. Armeekorps, and was Bavaria’s only Ulanen-Regiment.
The stein stands 10 ½" tall. Its pewter lid features a dismounted trooper and his horse. The trooper’s last name was Arnold. The stein’s center displays a single mounted trooper carrying his lance. The blue and white shield over his head has a Bavarian Crown. Yet another crown and other patriotic motifs appear beneath the rider, along with an 18 and a 96 on either side of the banner listing the regiment’s name, probably his year of service, 1896.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The central motif is flanked by names of other troopers from his eskadron. Two more panels feature a cavalry troop at full gallop, and a mounted trooper bidding good-bye to his sweetheart in town, with another trooper sounding his trumpet in the background. The stein’s interior features a traditional lithopane at its bottom of a Bavarian man at home with his sweetheart. It is a lovely stein in good condition. $795.00enJune17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-477 SHOULDER STRAP - PRUSSIAN - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - PIONIER-BATTALION NR 23. This is a single Prussian enlisted man/NCO’s Pionier-Battalion Nr 23 shoulder strap. Pioniere were the Imperial German Army’s engineers responsible for the building of roads, trenches, bridges, and etc. The 2. Westpreußisches Pionier-Battalion Nr 23 was founded in 1907. It was garrisoned at Graudenz and attached to Prussia’s XX. Armeekorps. As the regiment was founded in 1907, its brief history only extending into 1918. This particular shoulder strap was only in use for a few years, as feldgrau uniforms and shoulder straps were already being incorporated within the German Army shortly after the regiment was founded. I doubt if this shoulder strap style was used more than three years.
The shoulder strap is red in color. The regimental designation, "23," is embroidered in yellow stitching on the red material. The strap’s backing is black. The strap is in very good condition, generally, but shows some minor soiling due to its more than hundred years of age. You can also see where the button that was once present has left an impression.
$95.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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32-176 PATRIOTIC PIN - AUSTRIA - KAISER FRANZ JOSEF. We rarely acquire Austrian patriotic jewelry. This finely made pin represents Austria’s Kaiser Franz Josef I (1830-1916). He ascended the throne in 1848 and remained Kaiser until his 1916 death, when he was succeeded by Kaiser Karl, Austria’s final Kaiser. The gold-toned pin measures ½" x 1 ¼." It displays an impressive Hapsburg Crown at its top (it varies greatly from any of Germany’s crowns). The crown is attached to a laurel and oak leaf-bedecked wreath. A gold-bordered red enamel oval is centered within the wreath that displays Kaiser Franz Josef golden royal cypher. A fine pin is present on its reverse. The pin is in excellent condition, overall. $125.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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32-177 PATRIOTIC PIN - SOLDIER PHOTO. We have a special interest in patriotic pins that display soldiers’ and sailors’ photographs. They reveal soldiers’ faces both before and during WW I. Such pins were very popular on Germany’s home front. They were worn by wives, sweethearts, mothers, and female relatives of the soldiers who were serving Germany. Today we are offering one of the most interesting pins that we have acquired in recent years. What makes it so different is its size. It is, by far, one of the largest that we have ever encountered. It measures a whopping 1 ½" x 1 ½." The frame is a subdued silver with eight gold highlights surrounding the photo.
The photo shows an enlisted soldier wearing his mütze. The band of the mütze appears to be black. If so, he was from an artillery regiment. He is also wearing a feldgrau tunic. The photograph itself measures 1" in diameter! Its reverse reveals a fine sturdy pin, and no sign of a manufacturer’s hallmark. It is a delightful example.
$125.00 jmJune17   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20-315 KAISER WILHELM II’S SINGLE GROßADMIRAL’S SHOULDER BOARD. This is a single Großadmiral’s shoulder board that once adorned Kaiser Wilhelm II’s uniform. Only six men achieved this exalted rank in the Imperial German Navy’s history. These men included:

 

 

 

 

1901 - Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859 – 1941)
1901 - King Oskar II of Sweden (1829 – 1907)
28 June 1905 - Hans von Koester (1844 – 1928)
4 September 1909 - HRH Prinz Heinrich of Prussia (1862 – 1929)
27 January 1911 - Alfred von Tirpitz (1849 – 1930)*
*[Promoted on an Honorary Basis without Patent, and thus NOT
authorized to wear his shoulder boards with the crossed batons
(the other five recipients could do so).]
31 May 1918 - Henning von Holtzendorff (1853–1919)

 

A Großadmiral’s rank in the Kaiserliche Marine was equivalent to that of a Generalfeldmarschall in the German Army, hence the use of crossed batons. The shoulder board is massive, measuring 2 ¼" x 5 ." It sports two gold bullion braids sandwiching a center silver bullion braid as the primary background. The silver bullion braid sports black chevrons that identify it as a naval shoulder board, since the Navy was part of the Reich (Empire) [not even such a mighty Kingdom as Prussia had possessed a Navy]. A magnificent set of crossed 2 ¼" Großadmiral’s batons is installed on the gold/silver bullion ropes. [Full-sized batons were issued to any man who achieved this rank, with the owner’s name noted on each one. Also please note: although the Großadmiral’s shoulder board batons have the same measurements as those on a Generalfeldmarschall’s shoulder board, the similarity ends there]. The Großadmiral batons’ attention to detail is amazing. If you look closely, you can see Prussian Crowns AND fouled Navy anchors! Instead of being silver, they are painted in THREE colors. Their primary background color is dark copper enamel, although much of it has worn off to reveal the gold beneath. The Hohenzollern Eagles and anchors are painted/enameled gold. Each baton tip is also gold with a small band of white enamel just below it.
The sumptuous detailing just keeps on coming! Kaiser Wilhelm II’s royal cypher is laid over the batons, with a beautiful Prussian Crown directly above it. Both are rendered in subdued brass that blends attractively with the batons. The obverse’s final item is a gilt-toned naval button displaying a crowned, fouled anchor. The reverse features a fine, dark-blue felt underlay, which ALWAYS appears on any Navy officer’s shoulder board. Some very light mothing shows on the fabric. An unusual circular brass backing plate holds the naval button in place.
Although we have offered Kaiser Wilhelm II’s shoulder boards in the past, this may be our rarest example yet!
11,495.00 REDUCED TO $9,995.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20-317 J. GODET & SÖHNE "BON BON" JAR GIVEN BY KAISER WILHELM II AS ROYAL GIFT. Here is a simply stunning royal “Bon Bon” jar from Berlin’s fabled court jeweler J. Godet & Söhne’s workshops, which Kaiser Wilhelm II gifted to some fortunate recipient. Royal gifts from Kaiser Wilhelm II came in a wide variety of types. Any gift given by the Kaiser was significant. Highly-prized when initially given, they are even more avidly sought out by today’s collectors. The gifts range from jewelry (stickpins, cigarette cases, watches, brooches, etc.) to various other personal items. Today we are offering an unusual glass “Bon Bon” jar. In its time, the squat glass jar would have been a table or desk accessory. The jar measures 5 ⅝” at its greatest width, 3 ⅞” in diameter at the top, and 3 ⅝” in diameter at the base. Its base displays a fine rayed design. Etched into the jar’s side we see “Wilhelm II Deutscher Kaiser und König von Preussen.” Fitted to the jar’s top is a fine-silver and leather-covered lid. Affixed to the center of the lid’s leather background is an ultra-high-quality silver Hohenzollern Eagle that measures 1 ½" x 2." Its side is hallmarked “J. Godet - .950.” [Berlin’s J. Godet & Söhne was one of the Kaiser and the royal family’s better-known court jewelers, among the likes of Gebrüder Friedlander, Wagner & Söhne, etc. These firms specialized in orders and decorations, as well as assorted silver and gold gifts]. The jar’s workmanship and overall condition is first-rate. Filled with any number of items, or displayed as is, it will make a striking addition to any collection. $2,995.00 REDUCED TO $2,550.00

 

 

 

 

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20-336 WINE CARAFE FROM KAISER WILHELM II’s ROYAL YACHT S. M. Y. (SEINER MAJESTÄT YACHT) HOHENZOLLERN. Today, we are offering you one of the most interesting items ever owned by Kaiser Wilhelm II and offered to you here on Der Rittmeister Militaria. It is no secret that two of our favorite merchandise categories are items once owned by royals and those related to the Navy. Our offering today combines both types with an item attributed to Kaiser Wilhelm II and his royal yacht, the S. M. Y. Hohenzollern. This truly magnificent wine carafe was used daily aboard the S. M. Y. Hohenzollern to set a fine table for the Kaiser and his guests.
Kaiser
Wilhelm II had strong feelings about the sea and its possibilities for Germany. He firmly supported expanding the Kaiserliche Marine under Secretary of the Imperial Navy Alfred von Tirpitz. As one of Queen Victoria of England’s grandsons, Wilhelm was exceedingly jealous of his British cousins. He was determined that Germany should have a Navy equal to Great Britain’s, as well as overseas colonies to produce wealth for Germany’s Empire as they did for Britain’s.
Kaiser
Wilhelm II also greatly enjoyed his luxurious royal lifestyle on land AND sea. His royal yacht and aviso (royal dispatch boat) was the S. M. Y. Hohenzollern. While onboard, he enjoyed every amenity that was available at his numerous German castles. He had special dishes and glassware created solely for use onboard the Hohenzollern that were just as fine as that at any of his castles. [Recently we offered and quickly sold one of the Hohenzollern’s salad cruets].
The best-known S. M. Y. Hohenzollern was the second to bear that name. It was placed in service in 1893, then used extensively until mid-1914. A third S. M. Y. Hohenzollern was under construction when war broke out in July 1914. WW I not only halted progress on the third yacht, but also ended Wilhelm’s use of the second. [In the nineteen years the second Hohenzollern was in service, Wilhelm spent the equivalent of FOUR full years on board]!
The Hohenzollern’s carafe is a glass flagon that is rounded at the bottom. It holds a total of 28 U.S. ounces (.83 liters). Its diameter at the top is 2 ½" and 3" in diameter at the base. The flagon’s bottom features a sunburst design. The title S. M. Y. Hohenzollern is etched into its glass side toward the base. The presentation’s true stars are featured at the carafe’s top and its handle, which are both rendered in .800 silver! The graceful handle flows down smoothly to the flagon’s mid line. It attaches to the top, where a close look reveals Kaiser Wilhelm II’s crowned royal cypher attached to the flip-up. A wreath encircles the cypher, then is joined at the top with the Hohenzollern Crown. The distinctively elegant presentation simply reeks of Imperial German noblesse oblige. The lid’s underside reveals the hallmarks "37230," a mark I cannot identify, and the royal silver fineness hallmarks: a half moon, a crown, and .800.
We are proud to offer such an exquisite carafe with its echoes of an epoch of Imperial grace and refinement.
$3,495.00 REDUCED TO $2,995.00

 

 

 

 

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Signatures of King George III and King George IV of England
in their additional roles as Kings of Hannover.

 

[Those of you who are not well versed in English/German History at the turn of the 19th Century will find the following information very interesting. Most Westerners are aware that King George III of England (1738-1820) was in power when the American Revolution began in 1776. His reign also encompassed the French Revolution, Napoleon’s subsequent emergence as France’s Emperor, and the Napoleonic Wars that led to "Nappy’s" defeat. Some may not be aware, however, that in addition to being Great Britain’s King, George III was also the King of Hannover! [His grandfather, George I, was the Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg (essentially, Hannover), and assumed England’s throne in 1714 when Queen Anne died without any heirs]. When he ascended to the English throne in 1761, he also became the Prince Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg. He held this title until 1814, when he was formally acknowledged as Hannover’s King. Unlike George I and George II, George III was born in England and never even Hannover!
George III’s tumultuous rule lasted until his death in 1820 and was marked by bouts of mental illness. His son, the Prince of Wales, was made his Regent in 1810. The Prince of Wales, who took the title of King George IV, formally assumed England’s and Hannover’s thrones upon his father’s death in 1820. When George IV died, William IV (his brother) became King of both England and Hannover.
His death and his daughter Queen Victoria’s assumption of the English throne ended England’s direct rule of Hannover. (Hanoverian law prevented Victoria from assuming the Hanoverian throne). This explains how an English King came to sign a German Kingdom’s official documents. [Of course, Hannover was later annexed by Prussia after the latter’s victory in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War]. The three documents are for a young German officer who progressed through the Hanoverian Army’s ranks.

 

19-221 PROMOTION PATENT - HANOVERIAN OFFICER - SIGNED - KING GEORGE III. This is an interesting patent that was issued to "Otto Achatz Kirchoff." Kirchoff was a young officer from Hannover. The patent was signed by King George III of England and Hannover. Although George III was Hannover’s ruler, he never visited his domain on the continent. The document is in the typical German format and in the German language instead of English. From what I can make out, apparently Kirchoff was assigned to an English rather than a Hanoverian Cavalry Regiment. This was quite common. England had several regiments that were filled with Hanoverians in the officer’s, NCO’s, and enlisted men’s ranks. The document measures 8" x 12 ½." It is dated 1802 and was signed at St. James Palace. George III’s signature is bold and clear. A paper seal has been applied to its left. The document has been folded in half. The document’s back half, which has no writing and does not affect the front half’s written information, has a tear across it. It remains a very desirable document that was signed during the Napoleonic Wars. $750.00 REDUCED TO $650.00

 

 

 

 

 

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19-222 PROMOTION PATENT - HANOVERIAN OFFICER - SIGNED - KING GEORGE IV - ENGLAND. This is an interesting patent that was issued to "Otto Achatz Kirchoff." Kirchoff was a young officer from Hannover. The patent was signed by King George VI of England and Hannover. Although George VI was Hannover’s ruler, he never visited his domain on the continent. The document is in the typical German format and in the German language instead of English. From what I can make out, apparently Kirchoff was assigned to an English rather than a Hanoverian Cavalry Regiment. This was quite common. England had several regiments that were filled with Hanoverians in the officer’s, NCO’s, and enlisted men’s ranks. The document measures 9 ½" x 13 ½." It is dated 1823 and was signed at the Carleton House Inn. George IV’s signature is bold and clear. A paper seal has been applied to its left. The document has been folded three times. It is in excellent condition for being nearly two-hundred years-old. $650.00 REDUCED TO $550.00

 

 

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05-1701 XMB AUSTRIA - SERVICE MEDAL - ORIGINAL PRESENTATION CASE. This is a consignment item. It is a simply gorgeous example of Austria’s Bronzene Militär Verdienst Medaille mit Schwerten (Bronze Military Service Medal with Swords). The order was first introduced in 1890 by Austrian Kaiser Franz Josef. It was originally intended for officers. In 1916, also under the Austrian Kaiser’s direction, swords were added to the decoration for wartime service. The medal measures 1 ¼" in diameter. Its obverse features a high-relief likeness of Franz Josef in profile. Information about the Kaiser circles the decoration’s outer edge. Its reverse proclaims "Signum Laudis" (Seal/Battle Standard of Glory/Merit/Approval). An orange and white tri-fold Austrian ribbon bearing a pair of gold-toned, crossed swords is attached to an articulated crown. In turn, the crown is connected to the medal.
The decoration’s red presentation case has its name embossed on its outer lid. The case measures ¾" x 2 ½" x 4 ½," and features the rounded lower edge indicative of Austrian cases. The case’s interior reveals a white silk upper lid with its manufacturer’s name embossed on it in gold as listed below.

 

 

Zimbler, Wein VII
K.u.K Hof-
lieferant
Burggasse 33

 

Zimbler was one of the Austrian Kaiser’s House Jewelers (Rothe Neffe was another leading purveyor). Zimbler's work was among the Austrian Empire’s finest. The case’s bottom half is covered in black velvet that has been elevated and fitted to properly display the decoration.
This is a mint presentation of a rare decoration.
$450.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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06-242 XMB HAMBURG FIELD CROSS - DOCUMENT AND DECORATION - ORIGINAL PRESENTATION CASE. This is a consignment item. It is a high-quality Hamburg Field Cross (Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen), a post WW I decoration that was initially presented to the Free State of Hamburg’s native sons. Later, the decoration was awarded to other German soldiers who had served during the Great War. The decoration is quite striking and poignant. It measures 2" x 2 ½." It features a silver-toned sunburst with a white enamel Maltese Cross in its center. Within the cross’s silver-toned is a German soldier dejectedly slouching home at the war’s end. He carries all of his gear (except for his Mauser rifle) and looks defeated. Its reverse is engraved with the decoration’s official name "Deutsches Feld-Ehrenzeichen" (German Field Honor Badge). Below that is the manufacturer’s hallmark and "Hamburg 3." A sturdy split pin completes the reverse.
What really makes our piece exciting is the inclusion of its VERY rare presentation case. Typically, if we are lucky, a simple cardboard presentation carton (also quite scarce) comes with it. More often than not, only the decoration has survived. This is the FIRST time I have ever seen its true presentation case! The black case measures ¾" x 2 ½" x 3," and features the decoration’s silver-embossed outline on its outer lid. A push button releases the case’s top half from its bottom. The interior’s purple silk upper half features the information listed below printed on it in silver.

 

Deutsches Feld
Ehren-Zeichen e.V.
Hamburg 11

 

The case’s bottom half is covered with purple velvet fitted to snugly accommodate the decoration’s pin. Some minor wear shows on the case’s exterior edges from handling over the years.
This mini group’s final feature is the original award document. It too is quite scarce. I have seen only a handful of them in all my years of collecting. The document measures 3 ½" x 5 ½" when unopened. When fully opened, it measures 5 ½" x 7 ½." The outer page displays a depiction of the decoration. Below that is "Besitzzeugnis" (Certificate of Ownership) and the number 124105 (indicating 124,105 decorations had been awarded up that date.
Inside the document the information listed below appears on three lines.

 

 

 

 

 

Friedrich Rullmann
Musketier
Holzhausen

 

[Holzhausen is a small town in upper Bavaria on the Ammersee]. Below these lines is information explaining that the decoration was for service on the front from 1914-1918 in the Great War. The award date was 18 December 1933. Two original signatures, one for a Generalmajor a.D. (in retirement) and another for an Unteroffizier, appear at the document’s bottom.

 

This is a simply marvelous complete set containing the decoration, presentation case, and an award document named to a veteran of WW I. You will never find a more complete or handsome Hamburg Field Cross group! $525.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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09-1020 XMB IRON CROSS - 2nd CLASS - 1914 - PRIVATELY-PURCHASED - ORIGINAL PRESENTATION CASE. This is a consignment item. It is a striking 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class in the original presentation case. The red leatherette case measures 1" x 2 ½" x 3 ¾." Some scuffing on its surface indicates honest age. The interior’s upper half is covered with white silk. Stretched across that white silk is a white and blue ribbon that is embossed with an Iron Cross’s outline. The dates 1914 and 1918 flank the Iron Cross on either side. This band’s white and blue colors lead me to believe it was manufactured in Bavaria. The silk band permits the EK’s ribbon to be stored behind it. The case’s bottom half is lined in with burgundy velvet that was NOT fitted to hold the EK’s pin.
The Iron Cross itself is a very high-quality example. The paint on its obverse is quite pleasing and rates at 98%. The cross’s frame features an excellent patina. A hallmark appears on the jump ring, but I cannot decipher it. The ribbon attached to the cross is well used, with significant shredding/running in its silk. This handsome 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class and presentation case’s quality indicates that it is a privately-purchased, post WW I example.
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10-873 XRV GENTLEMEN’S WALKING STICK - GREAT BRITAIN - 17th LANCERS. This is a consignment item. [I am sure you are wondering why in the world we are offering an item attributed to a British cavalry regiment, but read on]! The regiment is best-known as one of the regiments attached to a cavalry brigade during the Crimean War. [Are you starting to tingle yet]? Yes, it was one of the regiments that formed the Light Brigade involved in the famous incident recounted in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s 1854 narrative poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade." It took place during the Crimean War (1853-1856), which pitted England, France, Sardinia, and Turkey against Russia. This costly war saw the loss of at least 750,000 lives.
The Light Brigade’s charge took place on 25 October 1854. The Brigade consisted of 670 officers and men from the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons, the 8th and 11th Hussars, and the 17th Lancers, five very small and under-strength regiments. Through miscommunication, they were ordered to attack Russian positions consisting of some twenty infantry battalions and a large number of cannons. The charge took the Light Brigade through a valley wherein they were surrounded by Russian troops on three sides. The result of the charge was disastrous. Out of the 670 men, 110 were killed and 161 were wounded. The horses fared even worse, with some 350 killed during, or destroyed after, the battle.
This was the 17th Lancers’ greatest claim to fame. The regiment was originally founded in 1759, and was known as the Duke of Cambridge’s Own or the 18th Regiment of Dragoons. The regiment was renamed countless times over the years. In 1766 they became the 3rd Regiment of Dragoons. 1769 saw them christened the 17th Dragoons. Ultimately, they were designated the 17th Lancers. The regiment saw service in Germany, France, Jamaica, the United States (from 1775 to 1781 during the American Revolution, participating in numerous battles), South America, a brief appearance in 1879 South Africa, and extensive experience in India from as early as 1817, then the 1850's and up into the 1880's. It was amalgamated with the 21st Lancers to form the 17th/21st Lancers in 1922.
When the regiment was formed by its initial commander, Col. John Hale, he created a cap badge that was worn by the regiment until its amalgamation in 1922. It was a Death’s Head with the legend "Or Glory" (as in "Death or Glory") in honor of the great General James Wolfe. The Death’s Head used by the regiment was more like the Braunschweig Totenkopf used by Infanterie-Regiment Nr 92 and Husaren-Regiment Nr 17 than the Prussian-style Totenkopf employed by Leib-Husaren-Regiment Nr’s 1 and 2.
So our offering today is a gentleman’s walking stick that belonged to a member of the 17th Lancers. The walking stick dates from the period of 1880 to 1890. British officers of the time frequently used walking sticks, both in and out of uniform. They (as well as swagger sticks) were an important part of a British officer’s uniform. What makes this walking stick so unusual is that it incorporates a skull or "Death’s Head" into the stick’s handle. Naturally, one was never expected to use it the way a disabled person would use a cane (i.e., putting one’s full weight on it). It was intended as a walking "accessory," which also explains why its shaft is quite short. It just was too short to use as a conventional cane.
The shaft appears to be made from bamboo that has been stained dark-brown. The stick measures 34" from the base to the skull’s top and is 3" in circumference. A modern-day rubber tip has been added to protect the cane. The skull, is 2 ¼" tall and measures 5 ¾" in circumference at its top. It is made from a very high grade of ivory. If you look at the detailed photos, you will see both decorative lines and some cracks. Some of the cracks are natural, while others are skillful repairs where the skull was slightly damaged. [Had I not mentioned it, you would not have guessed it had been cracked in the past]. Whoever did the repair was very skilled and patient. A gorgeous silver bandeau that proclaims "Or Glory" adorns the skull’s front.
This is an amazing piece of history. Although it is not German, we find it fascinating from a historical standpoint. Its materials and craftsmanship are simply breathtaking.
$2,295.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today we are offering a special group of Generals’ Shoulder Boards from Prussia and Bavaria. They also represent line-officers, retired officers, and royalty who were considered à la Suite officers, since they did NOT have a line-General’s tactical responsibilities. Their positions were more ceremonial. They are interesting and historically significant. All of them are of a different type than those we have offered in the past. 

 

 

23-469 BAVARIA - SINGLE SHOULDER BOARD - GENERALFELDMARSCHALL. This is a single Generalfeldmarschall’s shoulder board from the Kingdom of Bavaria. The massive shoulder board measures 2 ½ x 5 ½." It features two Russian-style gold bullion ropes, with a single band of silver bullion in between them. The silver bullion features the blue chevrons that identify the boards as Bavarian. A pair of highly-detailed crossed batons, each measuring 2 ¼" long, appears in the shoulder board’s center. The latter are beautifully frosted and look quite striking against the actual shoulder board. The shoulder board’s reverse features a strap that allows it to slip onto the tunic. Its red felt underlay displays a single small moth nip. Seldom do Generalfeldmarschall’s shoulder boards become available, especially NOT from Bavaria or the other two non Prussian Kingdoms (Württemberg and Saxony). That said, even Prussia possessed only a few Generalmarschalls. $1,795.00 jtJune17    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-470 BAVARIA - SINGLE SHOULDER BOARD - GENERALOBERST IN THE RANK OF GENERALFELDMARSCHALL - INFANTERIE-REGIMENT NR 8 - ONCE OWNED BY GROßHERZOG FRIEDRICH II. This is a single shoulder board that was once the property of Baden’s Großherzog Friedrich II (1857-1928). He was Baden’s final ruler who, like all of the Imperial German heads of state, was swept from his throne with WW I’s end. Along with Hesse-Darmstadt, Baden had the largest military after the four Imperial German Kingdoms (Prussia, Bavaria, Württemberg, and Saxony). Friedrich II was the Regimental Chef (Patron) of more than one regiment, as he was of Bavaria’s 8. Infanterie-Regiment Großherzog Friedrich II. von Baden in this instance. The regiment was founded in 1753 and garrisoned at Metz, where it was attached to the Bavarian II. Armeekorps. Although he was the regiment’s royal patron, his royal cypher did NOT appear on its shoulder boards (the regimental number did so, instead).
The shoulder board measures 1 " x 4 ¼." It features two Russian-style gold bullion ropes, with a single band of silver bullion in between them. The silver bullion features the blue chevrons that identify the boards as Bavarian. An "8" appears in the shoulder board’s center. Two silver-toned pips appear above and below the numeral, for a total of four. [Silver-toned pips indicated an à la Suite officer, confirming the unique rank that was strictly reserved for members of royalty. Gold pips were used for field officers]. The board’s reverse reveals a strap that allowed it to be slipped onto a tunic. Some mothing appears on the strap’s side. Its underlay is made of red felt.
This is a very rare and desirable shoulder board for a well-known member of German royalty.
$1,395.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-471 PRUSSIA - SINGLE SHOULDER BOARD - GENERAL DER INFANTERIE - GARDE ZU FUß-REGIMENT NR 2 - FÜRST WILHELM OF HOHENZOLLERN. Germany’s royal houses often sported more than one "line" of succession. This was true for the House of Hohenzollern, which was split into two lines. The greater line contained Prussia’s ruling family, including Prussia’s Kings and, later, Imperial Germany’s Kaisers. The lesser line ruled the principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Fürst Wilhelm (1864-1927) was Fürst Leopold’s elder son, who assumed the title and served as head of that Hohenzollern family branch upon Leopold’s 1905 death. Fürst Wilhelm did not hold any military command, but DID serve as a General der Infanterie à la Suite of Prussia’s 2. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß. The regiment was founded in 1813 and headquartered in Berlin. Like all Garde-Regiments it was attached to the Gardekorps.
This single shoulder board once belonged to Fürst Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. It measures 2 ¼" x 4 ." It features two Russian-style gold bullion ropes, with a single band of silver bullion in between them. The silver bullion features the black chevrons that identify the boards as Prussian. The shoulder board’s center features two silver-toned pips, which indicate a General der Infanterie à la Suite. [Gold pips would have indicated a true command General at the Armeekorps level]. The board’s reverse displays a double underlay, a small red trim band and a larger white band. [The latter band ties the shoulder board to the 2. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß]. The white underlay is also interesting in that it is not made of the more commonly-seen felt. It is made of cotton twill. A white strap also is attached that permitted the shoulder board to be slipped onto a tunic.
It is a truly fine example of a shoulder board belonging to a member of German royalty.
$1,195.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-472 PRUSSIA - SHOULDER BOARDS (2) - GENERALMAJOR ZU DISPOSITION - ONE PRE WAR & ONE M-1915 SUBDUED FELDGRAU. These two shoulder boards came to us together. I believe they came from the same officer and represent what was worn on a pre war tunic and on an M-1910 or M-1915 tunic. They are also quite unique as they are for a Generalmajor zu Disposition. [We have never before offered any Generalmajor zu Disposition’s shoulder boards. They provide a fine contrast to an active-duty General’s boards. It typically was the Imperial German Army’s practice to advance an officer one grade when he entered retirement, both in recognition of his long service and to increase his retirement pay. So, it is most likely that this particular officer entered retirement as an Oberst, either as a regimental commander or serving as a Brigade, Division, or Armeekorps staff member].
We will be selling the boards as a pair because they will be more interesting to display together, AND that is how they came to us.

 

 

 

 

1). Pre War Example Probably for a Dunkel-Blau Tunic. This shoulder board measures 1 ½" x 4." It features two Russian-style gold bullion ropes, with a single band of silver bullion in between them. The silver bullion features a white chevron with thin black trim that identifies the boards as Prussian for an officer who was zu Disposition. The underlay is made of red felt that extends past the board’s end. NO strap is available to slip it on (nor does it appear that one was ever present). It may well have been sewn onto the tunic, which is a bit unusual. Some light mothing appears on the red surface. They appear more like blooms rather than full nips.

2). M-1915 Example for an M-1910 or M-1915 Feldgrau Tunic. This also measures 1 ½" x 4." As it was intended for use on a feldgrau tunic, the roping is subdued rather than the pre war gold/silver. Again, its white chevron with thin black trim really stands out against the subdued roping. The same red underlay as the pre war example is present, also extending past the board’s end. Also, NO strap is available to slip it on (nor does it appear one was ever present), just like the pre war example. It also exhibits some light mothing on its red surface, although a bit less than what appears on the other shoulder board.

 

If you have an interest in shoulder boards (especially those belonging to Generals), these two would make an excellent addition to your collection. $895.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-473 PRUSSIA - SHOULDER BOARDS M-1915 - MAJOR - GARDE-REGIMENT ZU FUß. This is a pair of Major’s 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß shoulder boards. The 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß was the Imperial German Army’s most important Infanterie Regiment. It was to Infanterie Regiments what the Regiment des Garde du Corps (GdC) was to the Kavallerie. Like the GdC, the regiment was headquartered in Potsdam. It was founded in 1688, making it among Prussia’s oldest Infanterie Regiments. It was attached to the Gardekorps along with other Garde-Regiments and Bataillone.
The 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß was also where all Prussian princes were attached as Leutnants when they reached the age of ten. Every one of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s sons served in the regiment. [In fact, Prinz Eitel Friedrich (1883-1942), the second oldest son after Kronprinz Wilhelm, served as its regimental commander at the beginning of WW I]. From throughout the empire, more royals enlisted in the 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß than any other Imperial German regiment. [I once went through a Rangliste and found more than 25 royals enlisted as officers in it]! Princes, Grand Dukes, Dukes were in the regiment as à la Suite officers. The ranks of these royals were determined in part by their age and their status as royals. The regiment’s highest-ranking royal was Kaiser Wilhelm II’s younger brother, Prinz Heinrich. He held the rank of Generaloberst in the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. Of course, Kaiser Wilhelm II served as its Regimental Chef (Honorary Commander), as he did for the GdC, with the rank of Generalfeldmarschall.
In the 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß, an officer who held a Major’s rank would have commanded one of its four Bataillone. Most Infanterie Regiments boasted only three Bataillone, but the 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß contained a fourth, known as the Lehr-Bataillon (Teaching/ Learning Battalion). In addition to potentially heading one of these Bataillone, a Major might have been attached to the regimental staff as its deputy commander or its chief of staff.
The shoulder boards measure 1 ¼" x 4 ¼." As they are of the M-1915 variety, they were intended to be worn on a feldgrau tunic. They are subdued in nature, meaning the pre war gold and silver bullion ropes are replaced by feldgrau ones that sport Prussia’s black and white chevrons. The boards’ reverses display white cotton twill underlays thinly-trimmed with silver bullion, which are placed over a second gold-toned underlay. A feldgrau wool strap attached to each shoulder board permitted the boards to be slipped onto a tunic.
These VERY rare shoulder boards are in excellent condition.
$550.00 jmJune17  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-474 PRUSSIA - SHOULDER BOARDS M-1915 - LEUTNANT - GARDE-ULANEN-REGIMENT. This is a pair of Leutnant’s M-1915 shoulder boards from Prussia’s 2. Garde-Ulanen-Regiment. The regiment was founded in 1819 and garrisoned in Berlin, where it was attached to the Gardekorps. These boards would have been worn on a waffenrock rather than an ulanka.
The boards measure 2 " x 4 ½." They sport a brilliant silver bullion surface marked with the black chevrons that identify them as Prussian. They are of the sewn-in variety commonly used for junior officers, with a red felt underlay on each board’s reverse. They are in mint, unissued condition, appearing much as they did when freshly purchased at the military effects shop.
$250.00   jmJune17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-475 PRUSSIA - SHOULDER BOARDS M-1915 - LEUTNANT - KRAFTFAHR-BATAILLON - PRUSSIA. This is a pair of Leutnant’s M-1915 Kraftfahr-Bataillon shoulder boards. The Imperial German motorized transport units that served in support of front-line operations, known as the Kraftfahr-Bataillon, came into existence in 1911. Its units served with Eisenbahn-Regiments and Train-Battalions, and performed very useful functions when WW I began. Considered a Garde unit, it was based in Berlin. Saxon and Württemberg Companies existed in addition to the Prussian Battalion.
The shoulder boards measure 1 ¾" x 4 ." As they are of the M-1915 variety, they were intended to be worn on a feldgrau tunic. Instead of gold or silver bullion, their background is a subdued gray. Their white chevrons sport a thin black trim. Each board’s center displays a subdued, stylized "K." Each board’s reverse features a feldgrau cotton twill strap that enabled it to be slipped onto a tunic. It is a bit unusual to see slip-on shoulder boards for a junior officer. Such details were a matter of individual taste, however, not something dictated by regulations.
These quite scarce shoulder boards are in excellent condition.
$375.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-476 PRUSSIA - SINGLE SHOULDER BOARD - LEUTNANT - DRAGONER-REGIMENT. This is a single shoulder board for a Leutnant who served in a Prussian Dragoner-Regiment. It has a yellow underlay made of cotton twill. It is of the sewn-in variety. $95.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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42-188 XBB SANKE CARD - RITTMEISTER MANFRED VON RICHTHOFEN - NR 503. This is a consignment item. It is Sanke Card Nr 503, arguably the most famous and most popular of the "Red Baron’s" Sanke Cards. Manfred von Richthofen was WW I’s most talked-about pilot. Even though some German pilots exceeded his score of eighty victories during WW II, those names pale when speaking of von Richthofen. This pose shows him from the chest up. He is wearing a coat with an upturned collar that perfectly frames the Pour le Mérite at his throat. He also wears a visor cap. His deep, penetrating eyes gaze out at you. It makes for a chilling effect, as one can almost imagine him looking out over his twin machine guns at YOU.  The card is in mint condition and was never mailed. $130.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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42-189 XBB SANKE CARD - RITTMEISTER MANFRED VON RICHTHOFEN - NR 450. This is a consignment item. It is Sanke Card Nr 450, perhaps the second-most-popular of the "Red Baron’s" Sanke Cards. Manfred von Richthofen was WW I’s most talked-about pilot. Even though some German pilots exceeded his score of eighty victories during WW II, those names pale when speaking of von Richthofen.
The pose shows him from the waist up in his dress uniform. His elite cavalry regiment Ulanen-Regiment Kaiser Alexander III von Rußland (Westpreußisches) Nr 1's epaulette is clearly visible. On his chest we see a four-place medal bar, his Prussian Army Pilot Badge, and his 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class. The Orden Pour le Mérite is around his throat.
Some evidence of silver oxidation appears on the card’s edges. The card’s reverse sports a message dated from 29 April 1917, about fifty-one weeks prior to his death in combat. The card was mailed in Bavaria to an address in Munich and bears a 7 ½ pfennig stamp of King Ludwig III of Bavaria.
$130.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14-443 XJB STERLING SILVER DESK BOX WITH FIFTY-SIX POUR le MÉRITE WINNERS: THIRTY-SIX AVIATORS, FOURTEEN U-BOOT ACES, AND SIX ARMY OFFICERS. This is a consignment item. As I gaze at this superb item, I can honestly say that I have never typed such a totally inadequate title. The truth is, words cannot do this exquisite item full justice. As its description unfolds, you will better appreciate its historical significance. It is the second of the two MOST important consignment offerings we have ever shared with you.
As many of you know, Der Rittmeister Militaria was founded partly to honor Rittmeister Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen, as well as to cultivate interest in the Imperial German Air Service. No WW I personality is more iconic than the "Red Baron," so it pleases me immensely to present this VERY historic box today. As our highly-detailed description unfolds, we will present some interesting speculation about the box owner’s (famous) identity. I have offered many fine silver boxes over the years, some were presentation pieces engraved with a few names, others were marked to famous squadrons [such as the marvelous silver Jasta 11 cigarette box we recently sold, presented to a virtually unknown pilot who briefly flew with that squadron]. Still more were given as Kaiser prizes or gifts from other royals, while a very rare few belonged to aces who collected squadron mates’ and other famous pilots’ names.

 

This high-quality, jeweler-made, desktop box trumps them all. It measures an impressive 2" x 5 ½" x 10 ½," and probably held cigars or cigarettes. Its upper lid was signed by an unheard of THIRTY-SIX Pour le Mérite-winning aviators. Stop for a moment and consider, this represents nearly HALF of all the flyers upon whom the Kaiser bestowed Germany’s highest decoration for military valor. Never before have I seen such a famous group of names on a single piece of silver! It is an incredible total. The way these signatures were obtained makes the box even more extraordinary. Its current owner is one of the USA’s major aviation collectors. At one time or another he has owned many extremely important aviation artifacts, including numerous Ehrenbechers and Ehrengaben, an Ace's PLM and Urkunde, and the ultra-rare Ehrenbecher given to Imperial German Army Zeppelin personnel. He has done an astounding amount of research about the box, which we will be sharing with you. As a matter of fact, he has prepared a research binder that will greatly enhance its purchaser’s enjoyment. He will be happy to correspond with its new owner by phone or email, sharing further insights or answering additional questions.
First, let us fill in the box’s background. As previously stated, a total of thirty-six PLM-winning aviators’ signatures appears on its top lid. These thirty-six men include flyers from Fighter, Bomber, and even Observation Squadrons. They constitute an Imperial German Knights of the Air Who’s Who, every one of whom personally held the box to sign his name on it with a grease pencil. [We will explain about the grease pencil and its part in the box’s preparation later]. The honor roll is listed below. It includes each flyer’s number of "kills" in descending order, or another reason he was awarded the PLM.

 

 

NAME                                                       KILLS/REASON

  1. Manfred von Richthofen                                                  80

  2. Ernst Udet                                                                         62

  3. Rudolf Berthold                                                               44

  4. Bruno Loerzer                                                                  44

  5. Paul Baumer                                                                     43

  6. Oswald Boelcke                                                               40

  7. Franz Büchner                                                                 40

  8. Lothar von Richthofen                                                    40

  9. Carl Jacobs                                                                      38

10. Carl Bolle                                                                          36

11. Carl Degelow                                                                    36

12. Ritter von Müller                                                              36

13. Julius Buckler                                                                  35

14. Otto Könnecke                                                                 35

15. Eduard Ritter von Schleich                                            35

16. Josef Veltjens                                                                  35

17. Heinrich Bongartz                                                           33

18. Theodor Osterkamp                                                        31

19. Gotthard Sachsenberg                                                   31                       

20. Walter Blume                                                                   28

21. Robert Ritter von Greim                                                 28

22. Arthur Laumann                                                              28

23. Oskar von Boenigk                                                         27

24. Hermann Göring                                                              22

25. Hans Klein                                                                        22

 

                  26. Ernst Brandenburg led daylight Gotha bombing on London

                  27. Hans-Georg Horn flew over 300 WW I Recon missions

                  28. Alfred Keller Night Bombing Pioneer/Famous Raid on Dunkirk

                  29. Hermann Köhl blew up Amiens Ammo Dump*           
                         *[The1st to cross the Atlantic West to East, awarded the DFC by President Coolidge]!

                  30. Leo Leonhardy Renowned Bomber Pilot*
                         *[He was nicknamed "The Iron Commander"]

                    31. Albert Müller-Kahle. He won the PLM for artillery spotting for the great Paris Gun!

                  32. Paul von Pechmann the 1st Observer to Win PLM*
                         *[Famous for the 1918 Summer Offensive's "Nutrition Flights,"
                            dropping food/meds/ammo to forward troops]

                  33. Peter Rieper, an intrepid Balloon Observer*
                         *[He was shot down several times, yet survived]

                    34. Erich Homburg, Observer Pilot/Squadron Commander*
                            *[He flew 239 Missions]


                  35. Not Yet Identified

                  36. Not Yet Identified

 

We will also list below the other names signed to the box’s front, left and right side panels. They include U-Boot aces as well as Infanterie/Artillerie officers. [Yes! These three panels boast twenty more PLM-winners’ engraved signatures]! However, we must first complete our description of the lid’s other decorations. The lid’s upper left corner boasts a full-sized PLM. It is a top-quality Jeweler’s Copy that was modified for use on the box. Directly below it are miniatures of a Prussian Army Pilot Badge, a Prussian Army Observer Badge, and a Kaiserliche Marine U-Boot Badge. These badges were originally made for stickpins, and the box’s maker has affixed them to its lid. In addition to this fillip, a surprise is present underneath the PLM. The cross has worked loose over the last hundred years, and we can carefully remove it. Underneath it we discover ANOTHER engraved PLM! It is life-sized, done exactly to scale! [I can only speculate that the jeweler originally engraved the gorgeously-detailed PLM, only to have the customer change his mind and demand the placement of an actual PLM in that location. Examining the lid with a loupe, it appears that the miniature badges were originally engraved as well]. The PLM’s reverse displays two holes (one on the upper arm, the other on the lower) that fit over two pins mounted through the lid. The splendid detail of this engraved cross equals (dare I say surpasses?) a Court Jeweler’s Kaiserpreis! The PLM copy could easily be restored by a jeweler. We do suggest securing only one post to its hole so that it may continue to swing out to reveal its doppelgänger, hidden for almost a century.

 

The box’s second panel, located on its front side, was signed by fourteen U-Boot Commanders. As is the case with two of the flyers, seven U-Boot aces and four Army Pour le Mérite-winners have yet to be identified. [This creates a worthy research project for its next owner, as all the "easy" names already have been identified! The identified U-Boot aces are listed below.

                    37. Walther Forstmann sank 146 ships totaling 384,304 tons.

 

                           38. Hans Rose sank 79 ships totaling 213,987 tons.*
                                 *[He was famous for protecting lifeboats until enemy ships came to the rescue].
                   39. Gustav Siess sank 53 ships totaling 159,545 tons. *
                         *[Including the RMS Titanic’s sister ship].

                   40. Robert Moraht sank 45 ships totaling 129,569 tons.

                   41. Kurt Hartwig sank 43 ships totaling 139,082 tons.

                   42. Wilhelm Marschall sank 43 ships totaling 119,170 tons.

 

                   43. Otto Hersing sank 36 ships totaling 79,005 tons. *
                        *[He was nicknamed "Battleship Destroyer" for sinking HMS Triumph. He survived the war to grow potatoes]!

                   44.-- 50. These signatures are unidentified.*
                        *[They will provide a forensic challenge for the box's new owner]!

 

The box’s left and right side panels were signed by Army officers, with six total signatures (three per side). Only two of the six have been identified and are noted below.

 

                  51. Otto Lancelle was awarded the PLM in October 1918, and survived WW1, only to be killed on WW II’s Eastern Front in 1941. *
                        *[He was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross posthumously. He was one of only a few men to receive the PLM and the Knight’s Cross of
                            the Iron Cross
, Germany’s highest military decorations for valor in two world wars].

                  52. Hauptmann Karl Seidel was awarded the PLM in October 1918.

                  53.-- 56.  These signatures belong to four more brave Army officers who will be identified soon, we hope.**

 

An important distinction needs to be made about these fifty-six officers. All were junior officers who received their PLM’s as a direct result of heroic actions in battle. PLM’s were given in great numbers to the generals and admirals who directed big bodies of troops and fleets of ships, or served on the General Staff. The fact that all of our men here were combat officers is an important clue to the original box owner’s identity. TWO-THIRDS of the fifty-six signers were flying officers, and about 70% of them at least (factoring in the two unknowns) were fighter aces. The clear emphasis here is given to the Imperial German Air Service, and the fighter pilots who were given pride-of-place on the box’s upper lid. Fighter pilots were GREATLY revered in wartime Germany, the equivalent rock stars of their era! Girls sought them out, burying some of the biggest aces in fan mail and propositions!
The back panel has been left un engraved. One of the box’s interior edges is hallmarked for its manufacturer and its silver content (.830). [This silver content-level is quite unusual. Most of the era’s silver boxes and cigarette cases were produced in .800 silver. It was only in such small insignia as Iron Crosses and other orders that one sees silver contents of .900 and above (all the way to .950 in some cases). So for such a large item as this box to begin its life (during WARTIME) at .830 silver – before it was engraved and further embellished –indicates that it was intended for someone VERY special]! A typical cedar box lining is present, along with groove for the slim wooden divider that splits the box into two equal compartments for holding cigarettes. [The divider can be positioned in one of three different grooves, or removed completely]. The lid’s interior reveals a discoloration and four tiny nail holes where a plaque was once mounted. If the plaque had survived, it definitely would have cleared-up this magnificent box’s mysterious ownership.

 

 

Before we tip our hat as to the owner’s probable identity, let us go through the process of elimination. If this had belonged to a member of royalty, its outside lid DEFINITELY would bear that person’s name or monogram! If it had belonged to a senior Army or Navy commander (e.g., a von Hoeppner, a von Hindenburg or a von Tirpitz), it would be signed by other general, admirals, and staff officers. If it had belonged to a front-line pilot, it would boast his squadron mates’ signatures, or perhaps a few of his squadron’s high scorers, as well as a few celebrity pilots he’d met at the front or on leave. The box was NOT presented by the officers who signed it because, although they all were awarded the Pour le Mérite, not all of them were alive – and decorated heroes – at the same time to present gifts to VIPs! Lastly, this box wasn’t produced by a jeweler or a civilian for his own private enjoyment from facsimile signatures (perhaps from the jeweler’s files or from signed Sanke Cards), because in an autocratic state like Imperial Germany no jeweler would DARE to effectively forge dead pilots’ (national heroes to boot) signatures without official sanction! No civilian could walk into Godet & Söhne and buy that Jeweler’s Copy Pour le Mérite without official paperwork or special dispensation. That person would have had to prove he was entitled to an order that had been personally awarded by the Kaiser. The Imperial German sense of "correctness" absolutely would have prohibited such an event. The same was true of a box such as this. One would not show up at a jeweler’s with a list of fifty-six of Germany’s war heroes, nationally celebrated in newspapers, magazines and books, then ask to engrave their signatures on a box. STRENG VERBOTEN!
This box can only have belonged to a VIP industrialist who collected these names one-at-a-time over a three-year period from 1916 through 1918 – as the men were transformed into the nation’s heroes. This man had personally made their acquaintance, either through personal friendships with them and/or his importance to the war effort. Since the box predominantly features PLM-winning fighter pilots (again, 70% – or more – of the lid’s signers are fighter aces), I speculate that the first owner was neither a Krupp, nor a Siemens, but Dutch aircraft manufacturer Anthony Fokker (1890-1939). Another important clue is that the box came from the Netherlands. It was purchased in Amsterdam just after WWII, from the original owner’s family. That purchaser’s grandson sold it several years ago to my friend, the present owner, which completes its provenance. The box existed quietly in Germany and Holland from 1916 until 2014.
Fokker was a Dutch national who first moved to Germany to learn to fly. Several years of meteoric success later, he had designed and manufactured the renowned Fokker fighter-planes, including the Eindecker monoplane made famous by Immelmann and Boelcke, the Dr. 1 Triplane made famous by Manfred von Richthofen and his flying circus (Jasta 11 and JG 1), and the D. VII, arguably WW I Germany’s greatest fighter-plane. His Fokker D. VIII monoplane set the new design standard for fighter aircraft up to WW2 (as biplanes were phased out). Fokker also invented the interrupter gear that allowed pilots to shoot between their propeller blades and rack up huge kill scores, turning the air war even more deadly. His invention was copied by the allies after an Eindecker accidentally landed at a French airfield!

 

In his excellent 1931 autobiography Flying Dutchman (the source of his quote below), Fokker hints at some less than savory practices that, while commonly used by all captains of industry, were used by Fokker to even greater effect. As an alien from a neutral nation, he felt targeted by cutthroat competitors and so, as he wrote, "My friends were my workmen and German Aces who appreciated that I built the best plane for them I knew how." His close contact with combat pilots and front-line mechanics gave him a wealth of ideas that he built into his new designs. "I made it my business to lend a ready ear to what pilots said of every plane they flew or fought against…I often knew what the next improvement must be two or three months before the urge took official form." He was way out in front of other aircraft manufacturers, and his improvements could be as large as a whole new generation of fighter-planes, or a detail as small as the rifle trigger that lifelong hunter Richthofen asked Fokker to fit on his control stick to replace its thumb press. Several thousand new grips and triggers went to the front immediately, "to give MvR pleasure and because it meant a lot of extra business for us."
Machine guns and fighter tactics changed so quickly that it was hard for Fokker’s competition to keep up. Fokker had another ace up his sleeve, however, he could test-fly his own aircraft. He had taught himself to fly, opened his own flying school for military pilots, and had even been a stunt flyer at Johannisthal before the war to earn money to pay his workmen’s wages during his factory’s lean years. Because he was a skilled pilot, he won a lot of respect. "Fokker, especially, amazed us with his skill," said Max Immelmann, after watching Fokker test-fly his new Eindecker. Boelcke and other aces advised Fokker on his designs, and got personal tours of Fokker’s factory at Schwerin. In return, Fokker stayed with his pilots when on business at the front, spending three weeks on one occasion with the Richthofen Jagdstaffel at the Ypres Front.

 

Below is a link to rare footage of Anthony Fokker during the war, both at the Front with his aces and at his factory in Schwerin. In one scene he is hobnobbing with Manfred von Richthofen while both are in flying gear, while in another scene he is talking with Bruno Loerzer and Hermann Göring. All three signed this box. The footage even includes a scene of Fokker and the future Reichsmarschall skinny-dipping in a river! 
    https://www.ushmm.org/online/film/display/detail.php?file_num=3354   [Be sure to click the link to the film notes written by an historian – they explain the action scene by scene].
Later in the war, and smarting from competitors’ schemes to deny him needed parts and engines, Fokker helped to form the "Committee of Aces." This Committee could select its own cutting-edge fighter plane, instead of "being the goat of headquarters intrigues." During a competition at Johannisthal, Fokker was in the rare position of dogfighting daily with the aces who flew his competitors’ planes. Each night Fokker made small modifications to smooth out any defects. In the end, his Fokker D. VII beat all comers from Rumpler, L.F.G., Albatros and Pfalz. Fokker won a big order and, just as important, won the priority position to acquire scarce Mercedes engines. Manfred von Richthofen himself pronounced the D. VII to be "first-rate." Fokker AND his aces had a lot of skin in the game with every new plane type. Manfred’s brother Lothar almost died flying an early Dr. 1 that still had some kinks left to work out. From past experience with design defects, Fokker was keenly aware that the ace-pilots received the new types first — any serious problems with his planes and "the flower of the German air corps would be wiped out!"

 

"I could depend on my boys at the Front," Fokker wrote, and he repaid them with more than just innovative aircraft. "While they were alive, we did our best to show the flyers a gay time. It was an open secret that all airplane manufacturers entertained lavishly while the pilots were on leave, and when the aces came to Berlin for the competitions." Fokker had the money and the showmanship to really spread it around! We have no need to read between the lines here, "Because of the popularity of the Fokker plane at the front, many of the pilots on furlough preferred to make their headquarters with us at the Hotel Bristol. I had a deep admiration for them, and counted many as close friends. Some were so young, I felt almost paternal towards them . . . It was a pleasure to keep open house for the pilots. Naturally it served our interests to hear them talk, discuss one plane and another . . . but what they wanted most, and what we tried to give them was gaiety, charm, diversion, the society of pretty girls . . . Berlin was full of girls eager to provide this companionship, for aviators in Germany as in every other country were the heroes of the hour, and the spirit was in the air to make these men happy before they returned to face death alone."
Included with the box is a reproduction photo of Fokker, Hermann Göring, and Bruno Loerzer. The latter two were winning aces and significant players in the Luftwaffe during WW II. The photo shows the closeness and comradely relationship that Fokker had with his aces. He spoke their language, worked hard and played hard with them. In their hotel rooms were new fur flying suits, impossible to find champagne and caviar, and companionship—all paid for by Fokker. When the worst happened, he sent their next-of-kin expensive bronzes and other jeweler-made gifts engraved in honor of his dead friends. Fokker, who was described as "popular, charming and charismatic with service pilots," had many opportunities to ask these national heroes to sign his own personal box as a memento of their friendship.
When WW I ended, Fokker returned to his home in Holland. He smuggled out a good part of his wealth, along with trainloads of engines and dismantled aircraft, under the noses of the Allied Control Commission. The latter was particularly keen to clip Germany’s wings and destroy his Fokker D. VII’s, the only aircraft type specified by name in the Versailles Treaty.  Fokker started new factories in Holland and America, moving to the U.S. in 1926 at the U.S. government’s invitation. His steel Fokkers set new records, flew to the North Pole with Admiral Byrd, and supplied fledgling Pan Am Airways, as well as TWA. When Fokker unexpectedly died of meningitis in New York in 1939 (he was only 49), his body and possessions went back to his family home in Haarlem, 35 miles west of Amsterdam. Germany's Weimar government had long since seized all his homes and assets for back taxes.

 

Our box’s whereabouts are unknown from WW I’s end until the end of WW II. Shortly after 1945, it was bought in Amsterdam by a Dutch collector at a time when many Dutch citizens were starving and selling off their possessions to buy food. IF Fokker was its owner, we will never know whether Fokker left it in Holland when he moved to America, or if it was returned with his possessions in 1939. The box was probably hidden from German souvenir hunters during the war, no matter who owned it. Whoever sold it probably removed the plaque to protect their privacy when it changed hands.
So the question remains, why did the original owner have so many aviators’ signatures on the box? It was obviously someone who had a great interest and stake in aviation, and felt that he could get further ahead having Germany’s best combat pilots behind him. Surely the owner of the box was interested in PLM-winners in general – thus the inclusion of the Navy and Army PLM-winners whom he had occasion to meet socially. It is worth noting that Fokker designed seaplanes for the Navy. Marine Jastas also flew his D. VII’s towards the war’s end.

 

For those of us passionately involved in collecting WW I aviation history, this box is akin to a holy relic. It was held and signed by every one of the heroes whose names are engraved upon it. How do we know that? From the customary way people accumulated signatures that they wanted to preserve during that era, a technique that may not be general knowledge today. A few existing boxes reveal the technique, one of which surfaced in a militaria collection a few years ago and was presented through an awards forum. In the latter situation, a German pilot had carried a pocket cigarette case for some months that bore the engraved names of some of his squadron comrades. A few more signatures, however, appeared on the case’s edge that had been written with a purple grease pencil. [These pencils were commonly used to sign documents, or mark up maps and reconnaissance photos when in the field].
Grease pencils left a durable, waterproof impression on metal, so it was common for case owners to proffer such a pencil when soliciting signatures from their colleagues. Once the owner had enough names, he sent his case to a jeweler for engraving. The jeweler then traced over the grease-penciled names with his engraving tool, converting them into more permanent memorabilia. It was much more reliable this way than collecting the signatures on bits of paper! The owner of the case that was discussed on the forum had died before completing the job, and some grease signatures remained on his case for us to read a hundred years later!

 

So, where does all this leave us? On the one hand we have a gorgeous, high-quality, jeweler-made, .830-sterling hallmarked box that boasts the engraved signatures of FIFTY-SIX Pour le Mérite-winners, and is further embellished with TWO PLM’s, and TWO miniature flight badges, and ONE naval badge. These are the "hard" facts. On the other hand, we have the "detective" work, and research that points to Tony Fokker as its original owner. When we suggest other potential owners, the logic simply does not work. For example, Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg is a possibility, but why would he be interested in a bunch of junior officers? He moved in higher circles. We also thought of Alfred Krupp, Imperial Germany’s largest armaments dealer, but the answer is the same. I cannot picture Krupp skinny-dipping with Herman Göring (I have a hard time envisioning anybody skinny-dipping with the future "Dicke Hermann!" In the end, whether you subscribe to our theories or not, this is an amazing engraved box handled by the likes of the von Richthofen brothers, Boelcke, Udet, Göring, and so on.
[Please note the following comparable values. A Manfred von Richthofen signature today goes for $3,000 to $4,000 and up. The values of the other fifty-five PLM-winners’ signatures, whether on paper or on Sanke Cards, probably range from $300 to $2,500 and more. That averages out to a grand total of more than $35,000 for a collection of these names – on paper. You must add a hefty premium for having these signatures finely engraved by a master craftsman on such a high-quality silver box. After this, you must add more value for the PLM’s and badges, which raises the total from $38,000 to $42,000, or more! I have seen silver boxes featuring just Manfred von Richthofen’s name go for $7,500 or more. This suggests my incremental valuation for fifty-six Pour le Mérite-winners (remembering it is the ONLY one of its kind ever made) might actually be on the low side. Finally, if we could definitively prove that the box was once Anthony Fokker’s property, its value would only increase].
Please enjoy the many photos that accompany this description. They will help deepen your appreciation of this historic box. [Thank you, as well, for your kind attention to our VERY lengthy description]! $27,500.00
FIRST PRICE REDUCTION: $23,950.00!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33-322 XAS HUSAREN-REGIMENT Nr 7 OFFICER’S BUSBY IN FULL PARADE CONFIGURATION WITH TWO STORAGE CONTAINERS - PRUSSIA. This is a consignment item, a truly amazing Husaren-Regiment Nr 7 officer’s busby. What sets it apart from so many others is its condition. Often, an antique headdress has remained in such excellent shape due to the way it has been stored. This particular busby has TWO storage cases, one for the helmet itself and the other for its parade feathers. These have kept everything in as near-to-mint condition as possible. [I continue to preach the importance of condition because that, dear friends, is what distinguishes a first-rate collection from the merely run-of-the-mill. In my opinion, ONE excellent item easily trumps TEN average pieces. Junk never improves with age, while top-quality items provide great short-term enjoyment AND increase in value as the years go by]!
This very tasty officer’s busby comes from Husaren-Regiment König Wilhelm I. (1. Rheinisches) Nr 7. The regiment was created in 1815, close to the Napoleonic Wars’ end at the Battle of Waterloo. The regiment was garrisoned at Bonn (West Germany’s former capital prior to Germany’s reunification and Berlin’s restoration as the governmental seat). As a Prussian Regiment, it was attached to the Prussian VIII. Armeekorps.
The busby dates to around 1900, meaning it sports rich, chocolate otter fur rather than the later-mandated light-gray opossum fur. Both furs are very lovely and desirable. Quite frankly, when the fur is in such good condition, it is simply a matter of personal preference.
As I hold this gem in my hands, I am awed that something more than one-hundred-years-old age is so perfect. I can’t help but stroke that fur and feels its softness. [My beloved cats might get jealous, because as cuddly as they are, their fur cannot quite match the otter fur’s softness]! The busby shows absolutely NO loss of fur on its body (again, perfection). The gilt-toned wappen displays Prussian König (later Kaiser) Wilhelm I’s royal cypher. The legend "Mitt-Gott-Für-Koenig-Und- Vaterland" appears below the crowned cypher. The wappen’s frosting is absolutely gorgeous. Its rounded cavalry-style chin scales exhibit an age and patina that confirm they have not been cleaned in decades. The chin scales are pinned in the "UP" position on either side of the Feldzeichen (Field Badge). [Made of concentric silver bullion rings encircling a black velvet center, the Feldzeichen confirms that this busby is meant for a Prussian officer. Feldzeichen were color-coded to allow easy recognition of the state or kingdom from which they hailed]. Busbies’ wappens and Feldzeichen provided this quick identification, because they did NOT sport a state kokarde. Only the Reich’s kokarde was displayed on the busby’s right side, as it is on this example.
The busby’s top has a correct red kolpak. The kolpak is in excellent condition, with only minor soiling and NO mothing. [One small detail: the kolpak can be removed from the busby. Once pulled out, one sees it is fashioned from red silk underneath! Nobody would ever know this but the owner and his batman]. Cap lines are attached to the kolpak’s top and flow down its right side where the kolpak itself extends down and over to the left.
The busby’s final exterior detail is its parade feathers. [They really make this piece "sing"]! The very slender, black and white (Prussia’s state colors) feathers are, I believe, from a heron. They are attached to a metal clip that slips behind the Feldzeichen. When in place, they make for a showy presentation. The feathers inclusion means this is an absolutely complete busby with all of its accouterments.
The interior features a high leather sweatband with partial white stitching around it. The stitching is not complete and several of the holes display none of the stitches. This is the only flaw that I can find and in display you will never notice it. The very slight amount of sweat staining shows the busby was gently worn. A busby-style beige silk liner is attached to the sweatband, and is in MINT condition as well.
The busby’s containers have kept this magnificent example of Hussar headdress in pristine condition. Typically, Imperial German headdress containers/storage boxes were made of cardboard. They were high-quality cardboard, but cardboard nevertheless, whether for the busby or the parade feathers. I am told by this item’s consignor that the British preferred a METAL container for their busbies and some other headdress forms. Obviously, the latter afforded the items greater protection. It appears that our German officer felt the same way, because he chose metal containers for his busby and feathers to that same style.
The oval-shaped metal busby container measures 10" x 10." It is painted black and sports a flip-closure mechanism. The painted exterior has some scratches and dings to its surface, but the container did its job protecting the busby inside. The parade feathers’ container is a metal tube that measures 14 ½" in length and 1 ½" in circumference. Again it is painted black, with some scars on its painted exterior. The feathers inside, however, are little different than the day the officer picked up the entire set from his military effects shop.
If you have wanted to add a busby to your collection, you will NOT find a better example than this one. It is simply unupgradeable.
$9,995.00
REDUCED $8,995.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13-1000 XRL IMPERIAL GERMAN NAVY STOPWATCH. This is a very rare stopwatch that was issued to certain ships in the High Seas Fleet. The primary reason that comes to my mind would be to time torpedoes launched from U-Boots, Torpedoboots, or any vessel whose primary weapon against enemy ships was the torpedo. It is important to remember that like aviation, the art of launching torpedoes at enemy ships was still in its infancy. Once calculations were made, such as how far to lead the ship and the depth that the torpedo was to reach, the sailors could estimate the time necessary for the torpedo to hit its target.
The stopwatch measures 1 " in diameter. Its case is silver. It has a loop at the top where the watch could be attached to a chain. A button at the top was clicked once to start it, then clicked again to stop it. A third click would clear the watch and the stopwatch function could begin again. Each second is broken down to 10's. The watch had a full sweep of thirty seconds, at which time a new half second would begin. A smaller window near the top has provisions for a full fifteen minutes.
The watch face has some minor damage to it. This damage is cosmetic, however, and does not in any way effect the watch’s functioning. A small thin crack extends from the bottom of the sweep hand to the nineteen-second mark. Another crack is at the level of the sweep hand’s bottom and between the seven and eight points. The final point of damage is a crack right at the nine-second mark on the watch’s outer edge.
The watch’s back displays the engraving attributing it to the Kaiserliche Marine. The first is a Hohenzollern Crown, which was then the symbol of the Navy. The second is an "M." This is for Marine from the Kaiserliche Marine (Navy). The last is "XVIII Nr 6."  The watchcase's back opens to reveal some intriguing figures that have been crudely scratched into its surface.   We have interpreted these figures (the thumbnail image inserted below reveals a magnified view) as follows:

 

F 25 .1 .62 / 9.
"   9 11 . 63 / u 
 " 11  2 64 / K H

We have absolutely NO idea what they indicate.  If the character at the beginning of the second and third lines is a "ditto" mark, then the "F" is meant to be repeated before those two sets of numbers/letters.  [If any of our intrepid viewers have a plausible explanation, we would welcome it]!

It is an amazing artifact and an important naval item. $325.00 3rd PRICE REDUCTION!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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08-569 XRV OLDENBURG - BREAST STAR OF THE GRAND COMMANDER CROSS - HERZOG PETER FRIEDRICH LUDWIG HOUSE AND SERVICE ORDER. This is a consignment item, the Brustern zum Großkomturkreuz Haus und Verdienstorden von Herzog Peter Friedrich Ludwig (the Breast Star of the Grand Commander’s House and Merit Order Cross from the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg’s Herzog (Grand Duke) Peter Friedrich Ludwig Order, which was Oldenburg’s top family of orders. The highest award within the decoration family is the Kette (Neck Chain). It was followed by two ranges of Breast Stars; the Grand Cross, Commander’s Cross, Officer’s Cross, and Knight’s Crosses 1st and 2nd Class, as well as the Honor Crosses 1st and 2nd Class. [It was a VERY extensive decoration family]! Some of the decorations feature hand painted reverses that chronicle important dates in Oldenburg’s history.
This Breast Star’s workmanship is breathtaking. It measures 3 ¼" x 3 ¼." The silver star is highlighted with gold accents. Its central display measures 1 ½" in diameter, featuring red, gold, and blue enamel within it. Its absolutely gorgeous blue center is inlaid with Herzog Peter Friedrich Ludwig’s royal cypher. Its reverse features a large, swollen (coke-bottle) pin, with a sturdy clasp to hold the pin in place. Underneath the pin we find the hallmark for Oldenburg’s House Jeweler, Knauer, another of Imperial Germany’s premiere jewelers. This very scarce Breast Star was awarded only SIX-HUNDRED-TEN times from 1838 through 1918.
$2,495.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16-450 ORIGINAL JACK HUNTER PAINTING: HAUPTMANN EDUARD RITTER von SCHLEICH. This is an original painting by the late Jack D. Hunter. Mr. Hunter authored the novel The Blue Max, which was made into a 1960's hit movie starring George Peppard, Ursula Andress, and James Mason. In addition to a successful career producing war and adventure novels (including two sequels to The Blue Max), Mr. Hunter was an accomplished painter. He also was a dear friend and mentor. [As regards his painting, Jack once told me that The Blue Max only had a first edition run of 5,000 books, and, since he was a first-time author, their budget was not sufficient for a color dust jacket. Jack responded by offering to do the artwork himself. This enabled his first 5,000 books to boast a full-color dust jacket rather than plain black and white].
As Jack continued to write his novels, he also produced some excellent WW I aviation paintings that became well known on their own merits. I commissioned several paintings from him over the years, and am now thinning my personal collection. [We already feature a number of Jack’s paintings on our website that are VERY reasonably priced, since they did not receive the high-end custom framing used on those from my personal collection].
Today’s painting features Hauptmann Eduard Ritter von Schleich (1888-1947) as its central theme. Schleich was born in Munich. After his military training, he was appointed a Leutnant in Bavarian Infanterie-Regiment Nr 11. He had health problems prior to WW I and was mustered out of the army. When WW I began, he reapplied and was accepted. He was wounded early in 1914. After recovering, he applied to the Imperial German Air Service. He first was trained as an observer, then later requested pilot training. When the latter was granted, he further requested reassignment from the Observation Squadron to a single-seater Jasta. He flew both an Albatros D. V and a D. Va that were noted for featuring blue and white Bavarian checkerboard designs on their fuselages embellished with the rampant Bavarian Lion. The same design was emblazoned on all the planes he flew during the war.
A 1917 event, however, changed Schleich’s life, his plane’s appearance and the way he became remembered by History. His closest friend, pilot Erich Limpert, was killed in action that year. Schleich painted his airplane all black to memorialize his friend, while retaining his distinctive Bavarian themes. He soon became known as the "Black Knight of Germany." His plane was equally as striking as Manfred von Richthofen’s red paint schemes. Schleich finished the war with thirty-five confirmed victories, while flying a Fokker D. VII. [It was considered the best airplane produced by Imperial Germany – to the extent that its possession was forbidden to Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. All remaining examples were turned over to the victorious Allies].
Schleich was awarded the coveted Orden Pour le Mérite (PLM) in December 1917, after he had achieved twenty-five victories. In June 1918, he was awarded Bavaria’s highest decoration, the Knight’s Cross of the Military Max Joseph Order. The decoration included a knighthood, meaning he was known as Eduard Ritter von Schleich from that point onward. [For political reasons and Prussia’s hard feelings toward the often independent-minded Bavarians, von Schleich was never awarded the Prussian Knight’s Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order, which usually was awarded BEFORE a PLM was bestowed. He was also removed from commanding a Prussian Jasta and reassigned to a Bavarian Jasta].
Like many of his fellow pilots, after the war von Schleich bounced around from one job to another. He joined the Nazi Party in 1931, although he was not particularly political. The Luftwaffe was established in 1935 under Hermann Göring’s command. Like von Schleich, Göring was a Bavarian PLM winner. He had commanded Manfred von Richthofen’s JG 1 until WW I’s end. Göring came to his old friend’s aid, assigning von Schleich to command some of the early fighter wings. When WW II began, however, older officers like von Schleich were removed from front-line service. [Von Schleich had been rather old for a WW I pilot. While most pilots had been in their early-to-mid 20's, von Schleich was already twenty-nine in 1917. So by WW II’s early years, von Schleich was in his early 50's. He was promoted to Generalmajor and commanded forces in Denmark first, then later in Norway. Poor health plagued him once more, so he retired from active service in 1944 as a Generalleutnant. He was in British hands at the war’s end. Although some attempts were made to charge him as a war criminal, nothing came of it. However, von Schleich died in 1947 still a captive of the British.
Jack’s painting depicts von Schleich in his black Fokker D. VII, shooting down his thirty-fifth and final victim, a Frenchman. The details of von Schleich’s airplane are simply amazing. In addition to being an author and painter, Jack Hunter was a historian of WW I aviation and possessed an extensive research library that enabled him to produce a historically-correct painting. Meticulous in his preparation, Jack typically executed many work sketches prior to commencing his final painting. Jack had a knack for catching the true beauty of airplanes in flight. To Jack, it ALL was about the airplane. He had no interest in painting people, just the action in the air.
The painting measures 19" x 23" within a high-end, custom-made, triple-matted frame. Although it is modern-day, the gilt-toned inner wooden molding has an Imperial German Period "look." The framed painting’s overall dimensions are 32" x 33 ½."  A cutout section within the frame features an original von Schleich Sanke Card (number 596) wherein he stands proudly in a studio wearing his PLM. Another cutout features a 2 ½" x 5" black plaque (with gold letters) that proclaims the information listed below.

Eduard Ritter von Schleich
1888-1947
The Black Knight’s Last Victory
by Jack D. Hunter

We are very pleased to offer this original painting from my personal collection that depicts one of the Great War’s most colorful Imperial German pilots.
$2,495.00

 

 

 

 

 

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19-252 SIGNED EDUARD RITTER von SCHLEICH DOCUMENT DISCUSSING FUTURE KNIGHT’S CROSS OF THE MILITARY MAX JOSEPH ORDER (BAVARIA) WINNER HANS RITTER von ADAM’S FLYING SKILLS. This is a signed document by PLM-winner Eduard Ritter von Schleich about pilot Hans Ritter von Adam, who had twenty-one confirmed victories. Eduard Ritter von Schleich (1888-1947) was a well-known WW I German Ace. He had rejoined the infantry in August 1914 at WW I’s outbreak. He was wounded and requested a transfer to the Imperial German Air Service. He began his service flying two-seat observation planes. He was a tenacious and dutiful soldier. He was wounded on one mission, but rather than return to base, he had his observer tend to his wound, and then returned. Following the wounding, he was placed in command of Fliegerschule Nr 1 during September 1916, which he commanded until his return to flying service a year later. Between September and December 1917, von Schleich racked up an impressive score. By December 1917, he was awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite.
While he commanded Jasta 21, von Schleich’s good friend was killed in a dogfight. To honor him, von Schleich ordered his Albatros D. V painted all black, with an emblem of the rampant Bavarian Lion against a blue and white checkerboard field. This caused a real stir. He soon became known as "The Black Knight of Germany." Later, von Schleich replaced his Albatros with a Fokker D. VII, painted in similar livery. He finished the war with a total of thirty-five confirmed victories and JG 4's command.
Eduard Ritter von Schleich survived the war to go through many aviation and non-aviation-related jobs. In the mid 1930's, he joined the newly-established Luftwaffe. He was an early commander of highly-famed JG 26 and was elevated to General, where his career ended effectively in November 1944 due to his poor health. At the war’s end, he was questioned by American authorities for commanding units in both Norway and Denmark as a Generalleutnant. No charges were ever brought, as von Schleich had operated only as a correct and honorable military officer. He died in 1947 at the age of fifty-nine.
Today we are offering a very important document from the time that he commanded Fliegerschule Nr 1 while recovering from his wounds. This is an official evaluation of one of the school’s students, Hans Adam. Adam was von Schleich’s observer in May 1916, and the man who tended to von Schleich’s wound while flying on a mission. When von Schleich was posted to Fliegerschule Nr 1 as commander to recover from his wounds, Adam followed him. It was here that von Schleich wrote the report on Adam. After graduating from the school, Adam was posted to Jasta 34b. Following that, he transferred to Jasta 6 and became its commander when Eduard Ritter von Dostler, a PLM-winner, was killed. Having been awarded the Knights Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order from Prussia, he was in line to be awarded the PLM. Even though he had the necessary twenty victories in November 1917, the call from Berlin did not come nor did he receive that award. He was, however, awarded Bavaria’s Knight’s Cross of the Military Max Joseph Order, which included a knighthood. This was done after his death, and he was then known as Hans Ritter von Adam.
The document, which is one page, measures 13" x 8 1/4." It is dated 14 December 1916. It also notes that the document was from Fliegerschule Nr 1, located in Schleissheim. The document consists of three paragraphs and is handwritten in blue ink. It is signed by Oberleutnant Schleich (von Schleich was not knighted at this point). Mention is made of the school and his position. Two holes are punched on its left side, showing that the document was in a binder. The document is informative. It would make an important addition to an aviation collection, as it is signed by a PLM-winner and gives an insight into a future twenty-one victory ace, who was knighted by his native Bavaria.
$2,395.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14-413 FRAMED CANVAS RECREATION (FROM FORMER ALABAMA WW I AVIATION MUSEUM) OF RAMPANT LION ON EDUARD RITTER von SCHLEICH’S AIRPLANES. This is an unbelievably-gorgeous, framed recreation of Bavaria’s rampant lion against its blue and white flag, a symbol that adorned von Schleich’s airplanes. Eduard Ritter von Schleich was born in 1888, making one of WW I’s older fighter pilots. He was very successful pilot who survived the war with thirty-five victories. He was awarded both the Orden Pour le Mérite and Bavaria’s highest military honor, the Knight’s Cross of the Military Max Joseph Order. Von Schleich not only commanded jastas, but also headed Jagdgeschwader Nr 4b (one of only four WW I fighter groups). After the war, he was involved in a number of aviation-related jobs, including flying for the Bavarian Police and Lufthansa. In the 1930's he joined the Nazi Party, and even flew Adolf Hitler on his 1932 campaign trail. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, he continued to work within the party. When the Luftwaffe was created, he was immediately made a major. His rise was steady. As an oberst he commanded JG Nr 26 prior to WW II. This famous Jagdgeschwader was later commanded by Adolf Galland (1912-1996), and flew against England during the Battle of Britain.
Von Schleich had long suffered from ill health, even during WW I. While he commanded all Norway’s and Denmark’s Luftwaffe forces his health declined even more, so that he retired in November 1944. At WW II’s end, he was questioned by the Allies, as were all high-ranking Luftwaffe officers. He died of the ill health in 1947.
Our offering today is an actual piece of canvas on which von Schleich’s personal emblem has been painted. It is a recreation of the actual design that graced von Schleich’s planes. [Von Schleich was well known for flying an Albatros D. V. and a Fokker D. VII, both of which carried the design. For much of his career he flew a colorful Albatros D. V. When a close friend was killed in combat, however, von Schleich had his Albatros D. V. painted black to honor him. He carried the same color scheme forward when he converted to the Fokker D. VII. From that, he earned the sobriquet "The Black Knight" or the "Black Knight of Germany." In both cases, his planes displayed his personal emblem, a red lion rampant from the Bavarian Coat-of-Arms]. The red lion’s claws are unsheathed. The lion bears a gold crown and rules over a blue and white checkerboard design that represents Bavaria’s flag. It is enclosed within a red-trimmed circle, and measures 22 ½" in diameter. The circular emblem is painted on a black piece of canvas. On the black canvas beneath the emblem, the words "Hauptmann Eduard Ritter von Schleich" appear in blue German script.
This was purchased in the 1990's from a major WW I aviation museum located in rural Alabama (I cannot remember the museum’s name nor that of the
Alabama town), which was closing due to the owner and his wife’s deaths in an air crash. The museum’s amazing collection had many reproduction aircraft from all of WW I’s combatant nations. They even had several of the airplanes used in filming The Blue Max. Items like this reproduction were simply pinned up on the walls. I was fortunate enough to acquire it. As you will note from our photos, the black background, which measures 30" x 32," was not perfectly cut. It gives the piece a certain "torn from the airplane’s side" look.
I had the fabric custom-framed. The simple but crisp-looking frame does not detract from the fabric, which measures 33 ½" x 36." It has hung on the wall of my office for many years, but it is time to move it along to a new home. The new owner must promise to give it a good home where it can receive the respect and honor it deserves! $1,195.00 ccMay17

 

 

 

 

 

 

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