FDer Rittmeister Militaria, LLC. Imperial German Merchandise, Page 0: Just in From Germany, the newest items fresh from the Fatherland!  Updated on 13 February 2017.  
Contact us @:kgreenfield@derrittmeister.com

Click here for Links to our Merchandise & Content Pages. This is just a sample of  the wide variety of high quality items that we offer in our ever changing inventory!

 

 

ATTENTION!

If you want to be on our mailing list,  please send us an e-mail and ask to be placed on it. We notify our mail list members when we update our online "Just In From Germany" Merchandise Page. In addition, you will receive early notification when we add new items to any clearance pages (currently under revision). More importantly, we notify our list members when we have a sale. These sales are NEVER announced on our web site. They are for our list members ONLY. Be assured that we never sell or share your e-mail address with anyone. The list is only for our purposes as stated above.

Our e-mail address follows: kgreenfield@derrittmeister.com

 

Next Update:  6 March 2017

Our business phone number in the USA: 001 (727) 233-6173

Jim Turinetti just completed a Photo Calendar for 2017 - Mar 2018, with numerous photos of headgear and soldiers wearing these various items. [See the ad below].
The calendar is
$15.00.  Postage in the USA is $2.50, for a grand total of $17.50.    [Customers outside the USA: please write to Jim for postage costs].
Jim accepts PAYPAL (JTurinetti@woh.rr.com) or a check on a US bank
      (mail to: Jim Turinetti, 1835 Langview Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324).
The calendar makes a great gift for Christmas for you or someone you know.

 

 

04-680 SAXONY - PICKELHAUBE - INFANTERIE - RESERVE SENIOR NCO. This is a marvelous Saxon line-infantry regiment Senior NCO’s pickelhaube. Its fine leather body is of the highest-quality and condition. All of its furniture is brass, with the exception of the wappen’s center. The latter features a brass sunburst inset with a reserve cross on a silver-toned Saxon Coat-of-Arms. We can tell that this is not an officer’s wappen because the crown is closed, not open. The brass chin scales’ superior quality and condition are extremely impressive, as is the non removable spike (shorter than the ordinarily tall Saxon spikes). The rear brass fitting is not flush against the leather body, which causes it to stand out just a bit.
The exterior’s final features are lovely Officers’ Saxon-pattern Reich’s and State’s kokarden. Five Imperial German states (Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Württemberg, and Saxony) employed this particular kokarde pattern instead of the usual Prussian pattern.
The helmet’s interior displays a moderately-used dark-brown leather sweatband, and a rust-colored silk liner. The liner has seen more use and wear than the sweatband, exhibiting evidence of perspiration. The barest signs of shredding/running are also visible. Under the silk liner we see NO evidence of double holes. Nearly all of the original hardware is present, although one of the four clips at the top is missing. The latter does NOT affect the helmet’s integrity (that is why four of the clips are in place). This is a rock-solid, high-quality pickelhaube in first-rate condition. The fact that it is a reserve Senior NCO example makes it all the more attractive. It is a true value based on what you are receiving!
$3,495.00  

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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04-705 SAXONY - PICKELHAUBE - INFANTERIE - FÄHNRICH. The Imperial German Army had a rank for which the USA does NOT have an equivalent known as a "Fähnrich." The best way to describe the rank is that it indicated an officer’s candidate or cadet. It ranked above a Senior NCO (Feldwebel), but below the rank of Leutnant (equivalent to the U.S. Army’s 2nd Lieutenant). In Napoleonic times, the same position was referred to as an "Ensign" by the British, even though it had nothing to do with the navy!
This brief explanation allows to begin our description of a Saxon line-infantry regiment Fähnrich’s spiked helmet. [One notable difference exists between this helmet and that belonging to an officer ranking as a Leutnant (or above), which we will address later in this description].
Our helmet possesses a particularly delightful leather body that is smooth, clean, and supple, just like a baby’s bottom! The helmet has had the best of care from every family member or collector who has owned it before it came to us. [To maintain your helmet in the best possible condition, apply a high-quality leather conditioner at least twice a year. Doing so more often is perfectly fine, as it helps keep its leather body moist. A lack of moisture causes the leather to dry out and crack. Using a leather conditioner on ALL of your leather goods will contribute to a longer life of your collectible].
All of its furniture is brass, with the exception of the wappen’s center. The wappen consists of a brass sunburst with Saxony’s silver-toned Coat-of-Arms in its center. We can tell that this is an officer’s wappen because the crown is open (voided). Non officer’s wappens sport closed crowns (this is true for every Imperial German state). Examine those crowns, boys and girls, and you will quickly see that you have an officer, a Fähnrich, or a One-Year-Volunteer’s (OYV’s) helmet.
All of these brass fittings simply glow. Its removable spike is the ultra-tall Saxon officer’s spike. The helmet also sports a pearl ring just below the spike. Its only NON-officer detail is the lack of officers’ stars. Instead, the helmet displays NCO-style studs. Its officers’ theme even extends to the Officers’ Saxon-pattern Reich’s and State’s kokarden. Five Imperial German states (Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Württemberg, and Saxony) employed this particular kokarde pattern instead of the usual Prussian one.
The helmet’s interior features a moderately-used, dark-brown, leather sweatband and a rust-colored silk liner. The liner has seen more use and wear than the sweatband, exhibiting evidence of perspiration. The barest signs of shredding/running are also visible. Under the silk liner we see NO evidence of double holes, and all of its original hardware is present. Its front visor boasts a small label with a number on it. [The latter leads me to surmise that the helmet once belonged to a larger collection and this was its identification number within the collection].
This is an elegant pickelhaube that has been well cared for during the last one-hundred-plus years. [I personally find this spiked helmet more intriguing than an officer’s helmet. The number of Fähnrichs within the Imperial German Army was limited compared to officers and NCO’s]. You will be hard-pressed to find many pickelhauben in such excellent condition, regardless of the rank or regiment represented!
$4,495.00  

 

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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04-560 STORAGE/TRANSPORT CASE - PICKELHAUBE/KUGELHELM - W/SPECIAL PARADE EPAULETTES SECTION. This is perhaps the most interesting storage/transport case that we have ever offered. It is far different from the standard pyramid-shaped (i.e., wider at the bottom and narrower at the top) pickelhaube case. THIS case is cylindrical, standing 15" tall and measuring 12" in diameter. All of its leather exterior straps are present. As a matter of fact, the straps are what make the case so unusual. TWO different straps secure its two halves together. The first is a conventional strap that is cinched up by a buckle at its end. The other strap has a metal end that is locked into second metal attachment. Unfortunately, the small key that would lock it has been lost to history. A tag is present at the top that I believe lists its original owner’s name. [That said, I am unable to decipher the information].
The case’s interior presents something that is very curious. At first blush, it appears to be a pedestal upon which the pickelhaube or kugelhelm would rest. Upon closer examination, however, we discover that the "pedestal" has a removable lid that reveals an interior that is handsomely-lined with red cotton material! It immediately becomes obvious that a pair of epaulettes was once housed in it. A ribbon is present to tie the epaulettes in place during transportation (similar ties appear in epaulette storage boxes for the same purpose).
This is a rather unique storage/transport box that offers the additional function of storing epaulettes. I have never seen another box like this, especially in such excellent condition. All the leather straps and buckles are in place. It offers amazing way to store/display your pickelhaube/kugelhelm along with a pair of epaulettes.
$850.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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04-451 STORAGE/TRANSPORT CASE - LARGE PICKELHAUBE. One of the most important accessories in an officer’s inventory was a storage/ transport case for his dress headdress, in this case a pickelhaube. Whether the owner carried his helmet with him, or had it transported via the Train-Bataillon assigned to his regiment, the storage case served to protect the dress helmet from any rough treatment. [PLEASE NOTE: many officers owned more than one helmet, i.e., one for daily use and a more elaborate helmet for dress functions or regimental parades. Also, most officers rated orderlies (Batmen for the Brits) who supervised their wardrobes, and kept all their uniforms, boots, and headdresses in order].
This particular pickelhaube storage case is the largest size available, which could easily accommodate a Garde du Corps helmet mounted with its parade eagle. [In all actuality, parade eagles generally merited their OWN transport/storage cases. I am merely employing a Garde du Corps helmet as an example for judging its capacity]. The case stands 15" tall, with a diameter at the base of 13," and a diameter at the top of 5."
The case’s exterior is missing the leather straps that secure its cover to the case itself. The case also boasts four balled "feet" at its base. The case’s two interior sections are lined with burlap, rather than the far-more-common cotton liners. The strap that secures the helmet in its case IS present.
This is a very useful accessory to display with a pickelhaube, or for storing your helmet as its original owner would have more than one-hundred-years ago.
$175.00   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today we are offering a very rare See-Bataillon or Marine-Infanterie Officer’s Schirmütze from shortly prior to (and during) WW I. In addition to this example, we are offering an even rarer officer’s See-Bataillon Schirmütze in astounding condition that probably belonged to a nobleman on our Headdress Nr 2 Merchandise Page. While both are quite rare in
their own right, we also are offering an AMAZING opportunity to add
BOTH to your collection at  a substantial discount (just ask)!

 

 

33-332 PRUSSIAN - SEEBATAILLON - FELDGRAU OFFICER’S SCHIRMÜTZE. Today, we are offering a very rare schirmütze, an officer’s feldgrau visor cap for the Seebataillon or Marine-Infanterie. Not only is it rare, it is in TOP condition. [The latter is especially notable since WW I feldgrau that was subjected to the elements did NOT tend to survive(!)].
The Seebataillon was a relatively small, elite force. It was formed in 1852 to fill the same role as the British Royal Marines and the United States Marine Corps (i.e., acting as a shipboard security force). Historically, (such as during the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar) British Marines were tasked with positioning themselves in the ship’s rigging and raining fire down on opposing vessels’ sailors. [As a matter of fact, Admiral Nelson was killed by rifle fire rather than cannon fire]. If the action involved ship-to-ship fighting, Marines were the first wave, leading their fellow sailors. [Naval warfare eventually evolved into ships facing off from great distances and simply lobbing shells at one another]. Marines also enforced security onboard ship, such as standing guard at the ship captain’s door. In addition, the U.S. Marines and the Seebataillon provided security forces for overseas embassies and legations.
[The latter became especially important for Imperial Germany when Kaiser Wilhelm II decided to expand the Empire’s overseas holdings shortly after assuming its throne. His grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm I, following his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s advice, had rejected colonial enlargement (and the added expense of developing a Navy large enough to do so). Two years prior to Wilhelm I’s death, the entire Seebataillon comprised a mere two half-Bataillone divided between Germany’s two naval bases at Wilhelmshaven and Kiel. Soon after Wilhelm II’s 1888 ascension, each half-Bataillone was elevated to full Bataillon status. Seebataillon Nr I was established in Kiel, while Seebataillon Nr II was garrisoned at Wilhelmshaven. With German expansion well underway in 1897, Seebataillon Nr III was posted to China, with contingents based at Tsingtao and Kiautschou to protect German interests. [Men from Seebataillon Nr III were fully involved in the 1900-1901 Boxer Rebellion].
By the time WW I began, additional Seebataillone (at least three) were established for use in Belgium, particularly in Flanders. In time, these men and their supporting artillery became known as Marine-Infanterie. Marine-Infanterie eventually expanded to include multiple Marine-Divisions. These troops (who never saw a ship) fought in Flanders as sailors in the trenches along with their army brothers.
Today’s offering is a feldgrau officer’s schirmütze, the first of its kind that we have offered. The visor cap’s primary color is feldgrau (field gray). It sports a wide white trim band measuring approximately 1 ½" in height. A single narrow band of white piping encircles the cap’s crown. The schirmütze sports a single Reich’s kokarde in the wide white trim band’s center. [The Seebataillon, like the Kaiserliche Marine itself, was a national unit. It was NOT composed of contingents from the various German states, so its caps lacked states’ kokarden ]. A fine black leather visor completes the cap’s exterior.
Its interior features a high-quality leather sweatband that exhibits light wear, and a silk liner. The schirmütze’s liner displays its manufacturer’s name, Adolf Block - Hüte & Uniformen seit 1870 - Cöln. I am familiar with this tailoring firm, who were known for their high-quality work.
This fine schirmütze’s condition is excellent, exhibiting only light wear and some soiling to the white pipe band encircling the cap’s crown. The wool is of a rough weave, which makes it likely that it is a mid-to-late war example.

[Again, I draw your attention to our pre war officer’s schirmütze found on our Headdress Nr 2 Merchandise Page (click here to see). It is even rarer than the feldgrau example, since the Seebataillon was an even smaller unit PRIOR to WW I, at which time it was greatly expanded to become the Marine-Infanterie. Although we do not wish to minimize the feldgrau visor cap’s rarity, please remember that compared to the German Army’s Infanterie units, the Marine-Infanterie was tiny. If you are interested in adding BOTH schirmützen to your collection, please contact us for a VERY special price]. $1,495.00   cbJan17lywy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33-334 XRP PRUSSIAN - BUSBY - OFFICER - HUSAREN-REGIMENT NR 12 - FULL PARADE CONFIGURATION INCLUDING PARADE FEATHERS. This is a consignment item. It is a Thüringisches Husaren-Regiment Nr 12 officer’s busby (pelzmütze) in full-parade-configuration with its very rare parade feathers. The regiment was founded in 1781, and garrisoned in Torgau from 1901 until WWI’s end. It was attached to the IV. Armeekorps. It was an old-line Prussian regiment that participated in conflicts spanning from the Napoleonic Wars to the German unification wars of the 1860's through the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War up to WW I, when it fought as dismounted cavalry in the trenches on both the Western and Eastern Fronts. It had been among the leading German units in WW I ‘s early days, when it still functioned as mounted cavalry. It was directly involved in the invasion of Belgium.
Officers’ busbies are among the most elegant and beautiful Imperial German headdresses. The busby’s exterior is lined with very soft, plush otter fur. Near the top, facing the observer, is the very handsome silver-frosted wappen in the form of a bandeau that proclaims "Mitt Gott Für König und Vaterland" (With God for King and Fatherland). The pelzmütze had evolved from Hungarian cavalry regiments, as had the attila, the unique tunic worn by Husaren-Regiment troops. Slipped in behind the wappen is the officer’s feldzeichen (field badge), constructed of silver bullion with a black velvet center that denoted the Kingdom of Prussia. The convex gold chin scales are mounted in the "up" position behind the feldzeichen. A single officer’s Reich’s kokarde appears on the busby’s right side. A white kolpak covers the busby’s top (it is removable) and hangs down over its left side. The kolpak’s color and the silver-toned wappen enable us to identify it as an officer’s busby from Thüringisches Husaren-Regiment Nr 12. The busby’s cap lines (essentially a rope-like silver bullion arrangement) hang down from the back. They were primarily for decoration, although the cap lines could be loosened and attached to the wearer’s attila to prevent the busby from flying off his head while his horse was at a gallop.
The exterior’s final detail is its very rare parade feathers. The combination of black and white heron feathers is attached to the busby by a metal clip inserted behind the feldzeichen.

 

 

The busby’s interior is every bit as impressive as its exterior. It boasts a very handsome brown leather sweatband that shows little evidence of wear or staining. The liner is typical for that found in officer-style busbies. It actually consists of two pieces of light-beige silk fabric. The first section lines the roof of the interior, while a lower section of gathered fabric extends up several inches from behind the sweatband to a cutout center that allows the wearer’s head to poke through.
I am very impressed with this busby’s originality and condition. In all honesty, it is as fine an example as I have ever seen. The officer who originally purchased this knew (and demanded) superior quality. He also had the means to afford it. No detail or cost was spared in the busby’s construction. This is a complete busby in full-parade-configuration, including the marvelous cap lines and very rare officer’s parade plume. It dates from 1900 to 1910, meaning it is over one-hundred years-old. Whoever purchases it will be getting the best of the best. It will never need to be upgraded.
$11,995.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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01-876 XRV PRUSSIAN - DRAGONER-REGIMENT NR 6 - VETERAN’S MEDAL COMMEMORATING FIFTY YEARS. This is a consignment item. It is a veteran’s medal that commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of Dragoner-Regiment Nr 6's establishment. The Prussian regiment was founded in 1860, and the medal was produced in 1910.
The medal is set up as a one-place medal bar. The medal is gilt-toned and measures 1 ½" in diameter. Its obverse features its regimental chef and patron’s crowned royal cypher contained within a wreath of laurel leaves. It also features the dates 1860-1910 and a "6." The medal’s reverse displays an eagle with outspread wings, along with information about the regiment and regimental number.
The medal sports a small jump ring at its top that hooks onto a blue and black ribbon that is set up as a medal bar. A pin on the reverse allowed the medal to be attached to a uniform, or a civilian’s suit if the man no longer belonged to the regiment. It is a fine veteran’s piece that exhibits just a touch of wear to its ribbon.
$75.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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01-877 PRUSSIAN - VETERANS’ GROUP - TWENTY-FIVE YEAR BADGE. This is a fascinating badge for a man who was a member of a Prussian veterans’ group for twenty-five years. Its construction is quite impressive. A separate silver-toned attachment that displays a shield containing a "25" is surrounded on its bottom two sides by a laurel leaf wreath and features a red and silver crown at its top. Its reverse displays a pin that could attach the entire badge to a garment. The basic badge that was worn by those veterans’ group members who had NOT yet achieved twenty-five years of membership is connected to the base of the silver attachment. This badge features a large shield with a gold Prussian Eagle in its center. The left half of the shield’s background is painted black, while the right half is painted white (Prussia’s national colors). They are divided diagonally.
Twin black and white silk ribbons are attached to the shield’s back. The white portion of each ribbon displays shredding along its entire length. Curiously, the shredding only occurs on the white portion of the ribbon, not the black.
The white side of one of the ribbons is printed with the group’s location, while the other white ribbon features the Prussian legend "Mit Gott für König und Vaterland." The bottom of each ribbon features silver-toned metallic tassels. The large shield’s reverse features a silver-toned oval attachment that displays its Berlin manufacturer’s name. It is in good condition, overall.
$60.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1693 XRV PRUSSIAN - ORDER OF THE RED EAGLE - 4th CLASS WITH SWORDS. This is a consignment item. It is an Order of the Red Eagle 4th Class with Swords from the Kingdom of Prussia. It features smooth, rather than pebbled, silver-toned arms. The Red Eagle in its enamel center regrettably has suffered a chip, which does affect its value. The decoration’s crossed, gold-toned swords extend through its center. The crossed swords generally indicate that it was awarded to an officer during wartime. No manufacturer’s hallmark is visible. It is accompanied by a correct war ribbon. Taking into account the damage to the enamel center, the piece is bargain-priced. $495.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1694 XRV PRUSSIAN - COMBATANT’S MEDAL - FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR - ONE SPANGE. This is a consignment item. It is an 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War Combatant’s Medal. The decoration is a second-generation piece that a veteran could purchase if he had lost his issued decoration or wanted one for another purpose, including putting it on a medal bar. The original presentation decoration was cast from captured French cannons that had been melted down for this express purpose. The latter practice began with medals awarded during the Napoleonic Wars. The first-generation medals from both wars were made of bronze and displayed etching on their edges that identified their origins as captured cannons.
The second-generation medal was NOT made of bronze and did NOT have the etching on the side. This example of a second-generation medal has a correct ribbon, which is mounted with a spange (campaign bar) for Gravelotte-St. Privat. This battle was the largest of the war. It took place on 18 August 1870 and saw some 300,000 German and French troops pitted against one another. While the Germans suffered more casualties, the battle placed them in a better position to bring the war to a conclusion. The French sued for peace with German troops on Paris’ doorstep.
It is an interesting combination.
$50.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1695 XRV PRUSSIAN - COMBATANT’S MEDAL - BOXER REBELLION. This is a consignment item. It is a decoration that was authorized for both combatants and non combatants for their service during China’s Boxer Rebellion of 1899-1901. The example is gold-toned, which means it was issued to combatants. It is mounted on a replacement ribbon. $150.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1696 XRV PRUSSIAN - COMBATANT’S MEDAL - 1864 PRUSSIAN-DANISH WAR. This is a consignment item. It is the combatant’s medal from the 1864 Prussian-Danish War. The 1864 conflict represented the second Schleswig War, the first having occurred from 1848 to 1851. Austria acted as Prussia’s ally against Denmark during the 1864 conflict. When the war ended in favor of Prussia and Austria, the former territories of Schleswig, Holstein, and Saxe-Lauenburg were ceded to Prussia, with some compensation given to Denmark and Sweden. The latter were determined by the 1864 Treaty of Vienna.
This decoration was awarded to noncombatants who served Prussia. As this was a smaller war than usual, fewer Prussian troops were involved. The end result was that fewer of these decorations were awarded than in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War or the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War. The decoration, called the Düppeler Stürmkreuz für Kämpfer in German, was a silver-toned medal featuring the profile of King Wilhelm I of Prussia on one side and the Prussian Eagle on the other. The cross measures 1 ¼" x 1 ¼," and has an original ribbon attached. It is in very fine condition.
$125.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1699 XRV PRUSSIAN - COMBATANT’S MEDAL - 1864 PRUSSIAN-DANISH WAR. This is a consignment item. The 1864 conflict represented the second Schleswig War, the first having occurred from 1848 to 1851. Austria acted as Prussia’s ally against Denmark during the 1864 conflict. When the war ended in favor of Prussia and Austria, the former territories of Schleswig, Holstein, and Saxe-Lauenburg were ceded to Prussia, with some compensation given to Denmark and Sweden. The latter were the determined by the 1864 Treaty of Vienna.
This decoration was awarded to combatants who fought for Prussia. As this was a smaller war than usual, fewer Prussian troops were involved. The end result was that fewer of these decorations were awarded than in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War or the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War.
This decoration is a companion piece to the Düppeler Stürmkreuz für Kämpfer, and is known as the Kriegsdenkmünze 1864 für Kämpfer. It is a gilt toned decoration which measures 1" in diameter. Its obverse displays Prussian König Wilhelm I’s and Austrian Kaiser Franz Ferdinand’s crowned cyphers. The reverse features the legend "Unseren Tapfern Kriegern 1864" (Our Valiant Warriors 1864) within a laurel leaf wreath. The medal and ribbon are both in excellent condition.
$125.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1697 XRV PRUSSIAN - KAISER WILHELM I CENTENNIAL MEDAL. This is a consignment item, the Kaiser Wilhelm I Centennial Medal. It commemorates the 100th anniversary (1797-1897) of Kaiser Wilhelm I’s birth. It was issued during his grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II’s reign. The medal is gold-toned and measures 1 ½" in diameter. Its obverse exhibits a high-relief profile image of Wilhelm I (wearing a pickelhaube). The reverse also lists the first Imperial German Kaiser’s birth information. The decoration is attached to an original yellow ribbon. $50.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1698 XRV PRUSSIAN - HINDENBURG CROSS FOR COMBATANTS. This is a consignment item, the Hindenburg Cross for Combatants. The Hindenburg Cross was awarded in three classes after the death of Generalfeldmarschall Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934), who also served as Germany’s President until his death. Awards were made to combatants, noncombatants, and to the combatants’ next-of-kin. This medal displays KM&F’s hallmark on the medal’s reverse. The decoration possesses a jump ring for attaching a ribbon, but does NOT have the ribbon itself. $25.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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09-1015 PRUSSIA - IRON CROSS - 1st CLASS - 1914 - KO HALLMARK - ENGRAVED. This is an issued 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class that was engraved by or for its recipient. The bulk of 1914 Iron Crosses 1st Class was issued by KO, a Stuttgart firm. It is a flat (non vaulted) Iron Cross. The paint on its obverse rates at 95%. The paint is complete, but displays a flaw on the cross’s right arm. The cross is magnetic. Its frame has a fine patina, and its beading is even and consistent.
After it was awarded, the Iron Cross was taken to a jeweler, who engraved the information listed below.

 

 

 

22.9 - 3. 11
1915
Karl Schamp Kassel
Am Fasahenhof 20

 

Every engraved Iron Cross is different. This one’s dates of 22 September through 3 November 1915 are rather curious. Perhaps it was a battle in which its recipient participated that led to the Iron Cross’s award? Perhaps it was a period during which two men served together, and one offered the engraving as a gift? Why was the German city of Kassel mentioned? Did Herr Schamp reside in Kassel or was that where the two men knew one another? The line below Herr Schamp’s name is an address in Kassel (confirmed by a quick Google search). [I do not know what kind of building displays that address, but it remains viable more than one-hundred-years later]. Regardless, it is all a bit unusual and provides an interesting mystery. It is a handsome engraved Iron Cross. $750.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10-874 TRENCH ART - PAIR OF ASHTRAYS. Trench art is a fascinating facet of collecting WW I militaria. Whether they had been captured, were confined in trenches at the front, or were recuperating from war injuries in field hospitals, men from all the nations involved in WW I faced great stretches of monotony in their daily lives. This has been true for soldiers throughout history, and they usually found something to do during the down times. The production of what became known as "Trench Art" emerged from this situation during WW I. Personally, I have always been intrigued by the ingenuity with which soldiers transformed cast-off battlefield ephemera into interesting, attractive and useful objects.
Today we are offering a pair of fascinating "floor" ashtrays that a person might have set next to a chair or sofa. I have never seen anything quite like them. Although I am familiar with modern-era floor ashtrays, and I have seen small WW I-era ashtrays that one could place on a desk or table, I have never run across something quite like this pair. Each one sports a brass base that measures 4" in diameter. A curved brass rod extends upward from the base and is attached to a small brass artillery shell’s end section. The latter measures 21" tall and 3" in diameter. Two metal pieces have been welded to shell’s edges to provide a resting place for cigarettes. Both sides of the shell exhibit patches of discoloration that probably resulted from heat produced during the welding process.
They are quite unusual, both in their appearance and their construction. They would make excellent additions to your collecting room or elsewhere in your home.
$150.00 each or $275.00 for both   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10-875 XRV IRON CROSS - CUFF LINKS. This is a consignment item, a simply wonderful pair of cuff links that features the Iron Cross. [Back in the day, a gentleman sought out unique cuff links to secure the French cuffs of his dress shirt]. These cuff links show a certain sense of style. Each link’s base is circular and made of mother-of-pearl. Each one measures ½" in diameter. Mounted to each center is a miniature black enamel Iron Cross. Each link’s shank is made of brass.
If you are a gentleman or gentle lady who wants to highlight your French-cuffed dress shirts with ultra high-quality cuff links AND advertise your appreciation of your collecting hobby, then these were made for YOU!
$250.00   itJan17

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13-1027 NAVY - DESK PIECE - GERMAN TORPEDO. Desk pieces played an important part of Imperial German gentlemen’s (and military officers’) lives, highlighting the man’s interests and personality. The desk piece that we are offering today may have graced a naval officer’s or an industrialist’s desk. The torpedo, which appears to be made of brass, measures an impressive 8" in length. It sports twin propellers at the stern, and measures ¾" in diameter. The torpedo is attached to a brass ball that flares out and attaches to a fine wooden base. The base itself measures ¾" x 2 ½" x 9." $225.00 edFeb17

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13-1028 NAVY - UNIFORM SCARF - SAILOR. Today we are offering an enlisted sailor’s neck scarf. Imperial German enlisted sailors wore neck scarves that attached to their jumpers, (the latter term being used for the shirts worn the sailors). This scarf hung down from the man’s shoulders in the back as a rectangular shape, then came forward in a v-shape onto the man’s chest. A small, lightweight, white fabric neckpiece was attached to the scarf’s ends and tucked down the inside the jumper’s front to hold it in place with two white ribbons. The scarf is dark-blue highlighted by three white stripes that run back from where the scarf is attached to the jumper’s v-neck at the front to decorate the rectangle’s outside edges in the back.
The white fabric neckpiece displays printed information that indicates the scarf was drawn from the naval depot that issued the uniforms, mützen, and other assorted gear that a sailor required to be properly and uniformly dressed. This information is stamped on two lines within a boxed outline. The first line reads "B.A.W." The second line indicates it was issued on "5 August 1916."
This makes a very handsome addition to a naval uniform.
$195.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13-1029 NAVY - IDENTIFIED UNIFORM SCARF - SAILOR. Today we are offering an enlisted sailor’s neck scarf. Imperial German enlisted sailors wore neck scarves that attached to their jumpers, (the latter term being used for the shirts worn the sailors). This scarf hung down from the man’s shoulders in the back as a rectangular shape, then came forward in a v-shape onto the man’s chest. A small, lightweight, white fabric neckpiece was attached to the scarf’s ends and tucked down the inside the jumper’s front to hold it in place with two white ribbons. The scarf is dark-blue highlighted by three white stripes that run back from where the scarf is attached to the jumper’s v-neck at the front to decorate the rectangle’s outside edges in the back.
The white fabric neckpiece displays printed information that indicates the scarf was drawn from the naval depot that issued the uniforms, mützen, and other assorted gear that a sailor required to be properly and uniformly dressed. Unlike the scarf listed above, the information is presented in a more unusual manner. It first displays the normal ink stamp that indicates it was issued 12 March 1913. Additional information has been embroidered in red thread, indicating that the sailor was in the "II Matrosen Division." Furthermore his name, "Mayer," appears on the tag, however, "Mayer" has been scratched out and replaced by "Gerold." "Gerold" appears in black ink once again on the other side.
This very handsome uniform addition is identified to two different sailors who both wore it, then were required to return all their depot-issued items so that they could be used again.
$225.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16-458 AIR SERVICE - BOOK - BOELCKE DER MENSCH, DER FLIEGER, DER FÜHRER DER DEUTSCHEN JAGDFLIEGEREI - BY PROFESSOR JOHANNES WERNER. This is a German-language biography of Hauptmann Oswald Boelcke. While many German aces surpassed his final score of forty confirmed victories, he was still considered one of the best Imperial German Air Service pilots. He, along with Max Immelmann, was the first German aviator to be awarded the coveted Orden Pour le Mérite (PLM). [The PLM also was known as the "Blue Max" which was nicknamed for Max Immelmann]. At the time that they received their PLM’s in January 1916, each had eight kills. [A year later when Manfred von Richthofen was awarded his, sixteen confirmed kills were required. Later in the war, twenty were needed. Near WW I’s end, it took thirty]. In the nine months between his PLM and his death in October 1916, Boelcke amassed a mind-boggling forty victories. He was so far ahead of his nearest competitor that it took Manfred von Richthofen until April 1917 (Bloody April) to pass Boelcke. Had Boelcke not been killed in a midair collision in October 1916, I often wonder what score he might have reached, especially flying better airplanes such as the Albatros D. V, the Fokker Dr 1 and the Fokker D. VII.
The book which was published in 1932, a year before the Nazis came to power. It was also four years or so before Hermann Göring founded the Luftwaffe, at which time a proliferation of books about WW I aviation was published under Göring’s auspices. So, this book is free of the propaganda that ran rampant in those books. It is a more even-keeled account of one of Germany’s best aviators. It is also important to remember that Boelcke helped found the creation of the "Jastas," the hunting squadrons of single-seater aircraft.
The book is in very fine condition. It has two hundred twenty-five pages and is complete with its dust jacket. It is also liberally illustrated with photographs and maps.
$45.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16-459 AIR SERVICE - BOOK - IMMELMANN, DER ADLER OF LILLE. This is a German-language biography of Max Immelmann. Immelmann, along with Oswald Boelcke, was the first German pilot to receive the Orden Pour le Mérite in January 1916 upon his eighth victory. Immelmann only lived until June 1916, when he died in combat with fifteen confirmed victories. His challenger, Boelcke, only outlived him by four months, but died with forty victories. Immelmann was credited with inventing the "Immelmann Turn," a maneuver that is used to this day. He was known as the "Eagle of Lille," the same as the title of THIS book. This volume remains one of the best biographies of Max Immelmann.
The book is in excellent condition and comes with its original dust jacket. It has around one hundred eighty-eight pages, and contains many photos and a map showing the area covered by Immelmann (including Lille), hence the title and nickname "The Eagle of Lille."
$45.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16-460 AIR SERVICE - BOOK - DIE ABENTEUER DES FLIEGERS VON TSINGTAU - BY KAPITÄNLEUTNANT GUNTHER PLÜSCHOW. This is a soft cover German-language book. Gunther Plüschow (1886-1931) was a well-known pilot and an early WW I favorite. Plüschow was stationed at Imperial Germany’s Chinese colony based in Tsingtau. His exploits in China (before it was captured in late 1914) are recounted in this book, which was published in 1916. His was an amazing story as he moved across China, then sailed from China to San Francisco. He traveled across the U.S. and sailed on to Europe. His ship made port at Gibraltar, where he was arrested by the British who discovered that he was traveling under false documents. He was sent to a POW camp in England, from which he escaped and returned to Germany. Plüschow was the only German to escape during the war.
He was a pilot, explorer, and author. He was killed in 1931 while exploring Patagonia by air. Before fleeing China, he shot down a Japanese plane with a pistol! A Sanke Card was produced during WW I immortalizing him with other famous German aviators. The book contains a total of two hundred forty-seven pages and is in very good condition for being one-hundred years-old.
$55.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16-461 AIR SERVICE - BOOK - IMMELMANN MEINE KAMPFFLÜGE. This is a soft cover German language book that deals with one of Germany’s two best aces, Max Immelmann. Immelmann, along with Oswald Boelcke, received the Orden Pour le Mérite in January 1916. Both were dead before the year’s end. This book was actually published in 1916, after his death in June. It features numerous photos of Immelmann, including one with a guard standing in front of his grave wearing a stahlhelm. The book has one hundred thirty-two pages and is in surprisingly good condition for being one-hundred years-old.
$50.00
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16-462 AIR SERVICE - BOOK - ALS KAMPFFLIEGER AM SUEZ-KANAL - BY LEUTNANT HANS HENKELBURG. This is a hardback German-language book. It deals with aviation in the Middle East, which saw cooperation between Germany and Turkey against the British. The book was published during the war in 1917 and features photos and maps. It is an interesting book that deals with a little discussed topic. Some of Germany’s earliest aces spent some time in the area. The book is in excellent condition. It contains one-hundred-fifteen pages and displays a striking Turkish Pilot Badge on its front cover. $75.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16-463 AIR SERVICE - BOOK - FLIEGER AM FEIND. This is a hardcover German-language book. It was published in 1934 and comes complete with a dust jacket. It even has a book marker attached to the book, which is a very fine touch. The expected photos of von Richthofen, Göring, and the other stars are present, as well as photos of lesser known fliers.
The German population remained greatly interested in both Army and naval aviation after WW I. The book deals with the Imperial German Air and Naval Services' zeppelins, as well as fixed-wing aviation. The pilots and observers are the stars here. It begins with a young star of the early war in the German colony of Tsingtau (which fell to the Japanese very early in the war). The book has three hundred pages and is liberally illustrated. The book will keep you entertained for hours.
$40.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16-464 AIR SERVICE - BOOK - JÜDISCHE FLIEGER IM WELTKRIEG. This is a German-language book that deals with Jewish flyers in WW I. It is a hardback book, complete with its dust jacket, that was published in Berlin in 1924. It deals with Jewish aviators who flew for Imperial Germany during WW I. Interestingly, the dust jacket features a pilot in a single-seater airplane with an inverted swastika. It contains photographs and interesting stories about Jewish men who served their country.
A dedication appears on the flyleaf. The book has a total of one-hundred-twenty-four pages. Some of the early pages have come loose from the binding, and care should be taken while handling/examining the book.
$75.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16-465  AIR SERVICE - BOOK - LUFTFAHRTEN IM FRIEDENEN UND KRIEGE - BY GERD FRITZ LEBERECHT. This is a hard cover German-language book that was published in 1913. It has a total of two hundred forty-seven pages. The condition of the book is astonishing. I had to look at the copyright date twice to believe that the book was more than one-hundred years-old.
The book deals with zeppelins prior to the beginning of WW I. While the German military did have some zeppelins, for the most part the zeppelin was a civil form of air transport. Many photos were taken from the air by zeppelins. Both prior to and during WW I, zeppelins had a great fascination for the German public. Pleas for funding were filled by Germans and they flocked to actually ride aboard a zeppelin and to have mail flown on board one. This same interest continued after the war with the launching of the zeppelins Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg, until May 1937 with the explosion of Hindenburg and the Graf Zeppelin’s grounding.

$95.00
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today we are sharing a very rare group of autographed Sanke Cards and original photographs with you. They come from the collection of a longtime collector who is shifting his collecting interests. This presents a unique opportunity for you  to acquire many autographed Sankes
and original photos of some of Germany’s most fabled aviators. Some are more famous
than others, including the von Richthofen brothers (Manfred and Lothar), Oswald
Boelcke, Max Immelmann, and Ernst Udet. All share one single trait. Each one was
awarded  the legendary Orden Pour le Mérite (PLM),  the highest honor that Germany
could offer an officer of the Army or Kaiserliche Marine. You also will find pilots,
observers, a commander of a bombing Geschwader, and a man who
served in observation balloons, all very brave men who
received the Fatherland’s highest honor.
  

 

 

19-267 XRP SANKE CARD - RITTMEISTER MANFRED VON RICHTHOFEN - AUTOGRAPHED - NR 533. This is a consignment item. If one WW I autograph is prized above all other signatures, regardless of rank or branch of service, it belongs to Rittmeister Freiherr Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918). The legend of the "Red Baron" is attached to anything and everything that deals with him. He was born to a minor noble family that had a tradition of serving in the Prussian Army. His father was a major who had served in the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War. Young Manfred grew up as an avid hunter and horseman. He attended military schools and ultimately was assigned to an Ulanen-Regiment before WW I began. He found himself assigned to the Eastern Front, and quickly recognized that he would be serving as dismounted cavalry slogging beside other units in the trenches.
He wrote a pointed letter to the authorities, stating that his prospects did not appeal to him, then asked for reassignment to the Imperial German Air Service. His request was granted, but his initial flying skills were poor at best. He actually crashed a plane during pilot training! After graduation, he was assigned to an observation squadron. Later he was recruited by Oswald Boelcke in 1916 for inclusion in Jasta Nr 2, his new "hunting squadron." For the first time, single-seater aircraft had their own units rather than being a part of observation squadrons.
Von Richthofen showed great promise early on. By January 1917 he was awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite and given his own squadron, Jasta Nr 11. He proved himself to be an equally effective squadron commander as he was a pilot, and soon led the underachieving unit to a higher performance level. Some of Germany’s finest aces served under his command in both Jasta Nr 11 and later Jagdgeschwader Nr 1 - JG 1 (renamed Jagdgeschwader 1 Freiherr von Richthofen after his death, it consisted of Jastas Nr 4, Nr 6, Nr 10, and Nr 11). These aces included his brother Lothar von Richthofen, Werner Voß, Kurt Wolff, Karl-Emil Schäfer, Erich Löwenhardt, Karl Allmenröder, Arthur Laumann, Hans Kirschstein, and Oskar Freiherr von Boenigk, all of whom were PLM-winners.
JG Nr 1,
known as the "Flying Circus," was shuttled to various parts of the Western Front to face the Allied squadrons’ stiffest competition. JG Nr 1 was the first of the fighter wings established by the Imperial German Air Service and the Kaiserliche Marine for their jastas on the Western Front. Unifying the command under a strong leader, who was also a highly-decorated pilot, proved most helpful. The young pilots in the Geschwader could look up to and copy what had made their commander so successful.
After taking command of the newly-formed JG Nr 1, von Richthofen led it to success. In July 1917 he was shot down and suffered a severe head wound. He was never the same, suffering headaches and nausea while flying. He also was changed mentally, coming to realize that his days were numbered and that he would not survive the war. The end came for him on 21 April 1918. It is still debated whether he was shot down on his final flight by Canadian pilot Captain Roy Brown, or by Australian machine gunners on the ground. More of the evidence and analysis point to the view that it was ground fire that brought down the famed "Red Baron."
Our offering here is von Richthofen’s Sanke Card Nr 533. The card is titled "Rittmeister Manfred Frhr. Von Richthofen." He is seen in his ulanka (the tunic worn by the Ulanen (cavalry) Regiments). He wears his PLM at his throat, and the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class’s ribbon in his top buttonhole. His 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class appears on his left breast, with his Prussian Army Pilot Badge directly below it. His left hand rests on his hip, a pose commonly struck by his mentor, Hauptmann Oswald Boelcke. He is wearing his schirmütze and glances to his left in a three-quarter pose. His black ink signature extends nearly 3" across his ulanka bottom, from his right arm to his left hand. The width of the postcard is about 3 3/8," which gives you a sense his signature’s extent. The signature is clearer if one looks at it from an angle rather than from directly overhead. The postcard was never mailed.
This is a unique opportunity to acquire the autograph of Germany’s most famous fighter pilot of WW I or WW II.
$4,295.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-268 XRP SANKE CARD - LOTHAR VON RICHTHOFEN - AUTOGRAPHED - NR 656. This is a consignment item. Lothar von Richthofen (1894-1922) was Manfred von Richthofen’s younger brother. Lothar joined a Dragoner-Regiment, while Manfred first served in an Ulanen-Regiment when WW I began. Lothar then followed Manfred to the Imperial German Air Service. He spent some time in two-seat observation planes, then managed to be posted to Jasta Nr 11 under his brother’s command in March 1917. During "Bloody April" (April 1917) Lothar managed to shoot down fifteen enemy planes. By 14 May 1917, Lothar had shot down the requisite number of enemy planes to be awarded Germany’s highest honor, the Orden Pour le Mérite.
Lothar was a very accomplished flyer. Many held (and hold) the view that he was an even better pilot than his elder brother. During his time at the Front, Lothar achieved forty confirmed victories. He was shot down on more than one occasion and suffered several severe injuries that finally took him out of action by August 1918. That he achieved forty kills in a limited number of days at the Front is amazing. He also commanded Jasta Nr 11 at several points in time, both before and after his brother’s death. Lothar survived the war and tried several different careers before returning to being a pilot. He was killed in Hamburg during 1922 in a flying accident.
Today we are offering his Sanke Card Nr 656. Its pose shows him looking to his right. He wears his PLM at his throat and his 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class is pinned above his Prussian Army Pilot Badge on his left breast. The card is identified as "Lothar Freiherr von Richthofen." The signature is clear and distinct in black ink. The signature, which is on a diagonal, reads "Freiherr von Richthofen."
The reverse shows a date of 10 October 1918. It is addressed to a German collector of that time who sought autographs from famous aviators. Above it is the word "Feldpost." No evidence shows, however, that it actually went through the Feldpost system. The card is mint.
This is a VERY rare autograph. While Lothar von Richthofen achieved forty confirmed victories, his career (which spanned a little more than eighteen months) was cut short due to recovery time from several serious injuries. His autograph is actually rarer than that of his more famous brother, Manfred. It has been years since I have been able to offer his autograph.
$3,495.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-269 XRP SANKE CARD - OBERLEUTNANT MAX IMMELMANN - AUTOGRAPHED - NR 360. This is a consignment item. Max Immelmann was one of the first two pilots to receive the PLM in January 1916, along with Oswald Boelcke. In 1915, he made good use of the Fokker Eindecker and its newfound capability of shooting a machine gun through its propeller, thus demonstrating the effectiveness of a single-seater pursuit aircraft as a weapon. Immelmann is especially remembered for two things. The first was his creation of the "Immelmann Turn," an aviation combat move that is still used by combat pilots some one-hundred-years after his death. He is also attributed to be the man for whom the PLM’s informal nickname was coined, the "Blue Max." Immelmann perished in combat during June 1916, barely five months from the time he received his award.
This is Sanke Card Nr 360. It is the classic pose of Immelmann in a photographer’s studio. He is seen in uniform from the chest up. His PLM, 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class, and Prussian Army Pilot Badge are quite clear. He is also wearing a large medal bar that places special emphasis on his Saxon decorations, as he was a native son of Saxony.
His signature appears in bold black ink across his chest as "Max Immelmann." The card is titled as "Oberleutnant Immelmann." The card was not mailed and is in excellent condition.
$1,495.00     mbjan2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-270 XRP SANKE CARD - HAUPTMANN OSWALD BOELCKE - AUTOGRAPHED - NR 363. This is a consignment item. Oswald Boelcke was arguably one of the finest pilots and aces that the Imperial German Air Service produced in WW I. When the war began, Boelcke was assigned to a Telegraph-Battalion. Like so many other young men, he yearned for duty in the fledgling Air Service. Flying in the skies seemed like a much better situation than being buried in the trenches and the mud at the Front. So, Boelcke transferred and became a pilot in an observation squadron.
In the summer of 1915 the Fokker Eindecker, Germany’s first single-seater pursuit fighter plane, arrived at the Front. It was armed with a machine gun that fired through its propeller, a major advance. [Prior to that, some had tried placing armor on the propeller blades, but the propeller still was shot off. Also, bullets ricocheted off the blades, threatening to hit the pilot]. The squadron to which both Boelcke and Max Immelmann were assigned received Eindeckers. Soon the two were shooting down enemy airplanes. They quickly became Germany’s first aces and were awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite in January 1916. Boelcke’s organizational and leadership skills soon became just as evident as his piloting prowess, and he was assigned one of Germany’s first all-fighter-aircraft squadrons: Jasta Nr 2. Once the unit was formed, he was tasked with recruiting pilots for his jasta. Boelcke had an amazing eye for talent and tapped a young Leutnant who displayed merely-average flying ability, Manfred von Richthofen. Boelcke sensed that the young Baron possessed the hunting talent and aggressiveness vital to a fighter pilot.
After Boelcke’s closest rival, Immelmann, was killed in June 1916 (with a total of sixteen victories), Boelcke continued to raise his tally. By late October 1916, Boelcke had amassed an unbelievable FORTY confirmed victories. At this point, unfortunately, he was involved in a midair collision with one of his own pilots, Erwin Böhme, and suffered a fatal crash. Böhme himself eventually received a PLM, then commanded Jasta Nr 2, which had been renamed Jasta Boelcke. Erwin Böhme never forgave himself for the collision, and carried that guilt until he was shot down and killed.
This is Sanke Card Nr 363. It is Boelcke’s classic pose with his hand on his hip. He can be seen in full uniform from the knees up. His PLM is at his throat. In his buttonhole we see the ribbon for the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class and another ribbon, most likely for the Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th Class with Swords. On his left breast is his 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class and Prussian Army Pilot Badge. He is also wearing his officer’s schirmütze. "Hauptmann Boelcke" appears in the card’s upper left corner. Boelcke was promoted to Hauptmann on 22 May 1916, and held this rank until his death on 28 October 1916. As no cross shows to his name’s right, this card was produced during that time period and, obviously, was signed prior to his death. His signature shows quite clearly in black ink at his tunic’s hip. The card was never mailed and is in excellent condition,
$1,495.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-271 XRP PHOTOGRAPH - EDUARD RITTER VON SCHLEICH - AUTOGRAPHED ORIGINAL. This is a consignment item. Eduard Ritter von Schleich (1888-1947) was a well-known Bavarian pilot during WW I and a minor figure in WW II’s Luftwaffe. He began the war in a Bavarian Infanterie Regiment. He suffered major wounds in the war’s first month. After his recuperation, he applied for transfer to the Bavarian Air Service. He received training, then received yet another wound while acting as an observer. Instead of having the plane return to the base, he bound his wound and completed the mission. For his bravery he received the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class. He completed his pilot training in December 1915. He was wounded another time, and during this recovery he commanded a Fliegerschule (Flying School). He was posted to Jasta Nr 21 in May 1917. He took command, and shot down nineteen enemy airplanes during his first month. During this period his closest friend (a fellow pilot) was killed in action. As a tribute to the fallen comrade, he had his Albatros D. V. painted black, and displayed a rampant Bavarian Lion superimposed over the Bavarian Flag on its side. He retained the same color scheme on all of his Albatros D. V., D. Va, and Fokker D. VII aircraft until the war’s end. For this, he became known as the "Black Knight of Germany."
He became the only pilot to receive his PLM WITHOUT being awarded the Knight’s Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order, due to a dispute between Prussian and Bavarian authorities. He was also transferred to Bavarian Jasta Nr 32b from the Prussian Jasta Nr 21. By WW I’s end he had accumulated thirty-five confirmed victories, and been commander of Jagdgruppe Nr 8, which consisted of Jastas Nr 23b, Nr 34b, and Nr 35b. His final command of the war was the establishment of JG 4 on 3 October 1918. JG Nr 4 consisted of Jasta Nr 23b, Nr 32b, Nr 34b, and Nr 35b. Eduard Schleich also received Bavaria’s highest military honor, the Military Max-Josef Order on 14 June 1918. This decoration elevated him to Knight’s status. For the remainder of his life he was known as Eduard Ritter von Schleich.
The post war years were not easy for von Schleich. He was attached to the air unit of the Bavarian police, tried farming, and acted as an airline pilot. In 1931 he joined the Nazi Party (more to advance his career instead of being enamored with its doctrine). His old friend Hermann Göring invited him to join in the establishment of the Luftwaffe in 1935. Von Schleich commanded a pilot training school in Austria due to his having commanded one in WW I. He also was the commander of what became one of the most famous WW II Jagdgeschwaders, JG Nr 26. For the approaching war, the authorities decided that younger men should command the Jagdgeschwaders, so von Schleich was promoted to Generalmajor. As his support for Hitler was lukewarm, he never received a major command, advanced promotion, or the Knight’ s Cross of the Iron Cross [He retired with the rank of Generalleutnant in 1944 due to ill health]. He held minor commands in Denmark and Norway. After the war, he was held by the British for war crimes. He was never charged, but died in captivity in 1947. As he had been during WW I, he remained strictly correct in how he dealt with both combatants and non combatants.
Our offering today is a real prize. Rather than a Sanke Card, it is an original photograph. [I believe this photo was used as the basis for a Sanke Card]. In any event, an autograph on an original photograph is more highly-prized and valuable than one on a Sanke Card. Von Schleich is standing toward the front of his black Albatros D. V. or D. Va. He is visible from head-to-toe and wears a British flying coat. [The coat has an interesting story. Von Schleich had long wanted one, but it seemed that every example he encountered had been, shall we say, "ventilated." One day he was presented with an "unventilated" coat as a gift from an officer at the front. It soon became a part of his trademark, and was one of his prized possessions]. His very clear and bold black ink signature appears on the diagonal near his legs as "v. Schleich."
This is a mint photograph, the FINEST example that I have ever encountered. Eduard Ritter von Schleich is a particular favorite of mine. In the past I was privileged to own his PLM, a Luftwaffe honor ring given to him by Hermann Göring at Christmas 1941, another original autographed photograph, and his WW II soldbuch. These artifacts now reside in the collection of a very advanced WW I collector. We also now offer an original document signed by von Schleich that describes the flying abilities of Hans Ritter von Adam, as well as an original painting of the "Black Knight of Germany" in his resplendent black Fokker D. VII rendered by the late author of The Blue Max and painter Jack D. Hunter. [The latter has been a part of my personal collection for years]. We also offer several other Jack D. Hunter paintings (click here to see).
$995.00   mbjan2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-272 XRP SANKE CARD - LEUTNANT ERWIN BÖHME - AUTOGRAPHED - NR 502. This is a consignment item. Erwin Böhme (1879-1917) was one of the oldest pilots to serve in the Imperial German Air Service. He served in the Garde-Jäger-Regiment beginning in 1899. After his two years service, he led an interesting and varied life that included time in German East Africa. He returned to Germany and to his old regiment just prior to WW I’s start. He applied for a transfer to the Air Service and by December 1914, he had completed his pilot training. He served in an observation squadron with Oswald Boelcke’s brother, Wilhelm. He was serving in Kampfstaffel (Kasta) Nr 10 under Wilhelm Boelcke when he achieved his first victory in August 1916. He soon was introduced to Boelcke’s more famous brother, and invited to serve in the newly formed Jasta Nr 2, along with Manfred von Richthofen. By September 1916 he had shot down his first plane as part of Jasta Nr 2, and had achieved five confirmed wins and one probable by 22 October.
In late October 1916, however, the wheels of Böhme’s plane touched the top wing of Boelcke’s plane, ripping the fabric and causing it to crash. The great Oswald Boelcke was dead, with forty confirmed victories to his credit. Böhme (who had become quite close to Oswald) was heartbroken. This tragic error followed him for the remainder of his life. In fact, he had been found in his quarters with a pistol in his hand after the accident, and had to be convinced not to kill himself.
Böhme continued to fly and eventually was given command of Jagdstaffel 29. He was transferred back to the now-renamed Jasta Boelcke on 18 August 1917 as its Jastaführer. He continued to increase his impressive score and was awarded the PLM on 24 November 1917. He shot down his twenty-fourth plane on 29 November 1917. Tragically, he was shot down and killed on that same day at the age of thirty-eight. [Few pilots lived beyond twenty-five and many were barely in their early twenties]. In another of the war’s many grim ironies, he never received his PLM. It arrived AFTER he was shot down.
Sanke Card Nr 502
depicts Böhme sitting down. Of course, he is NOT wearing his PLM. [Interestingly, some Sanke Cards created from photographs of PLM-winners taken prior to their receipt of the award had the PLM airbrushed onto them]. Böhme is looking to his left. He wears a ribbon bar that includes his Knight’s Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order, the highest decoration that he actually received while alive. He sports his 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class and his Prussian Army Pilot Badge on his left breast. His bold black ink signature, indicating his name and rank, is scrawled across his lap. The card is in mint condition and was never mailed.
$895.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-273 XRP SANKE CARD - LEUTNANT ERNST UDET - AUTOGRAPHED - NR 620. This is a consignment item. Ernst Udet (1896-1941) was Germany’s second-highest-scoring WW I ace, with sixty-two confirmed victories. He also was the highest-scoring pilot to survive the Great War. He was a mere twenty-two years-old when the war ended in 1918. During the war, he served in Jastas Nr 15, Nr 37, Nr 4, and Nr 11. He served in Jasta Nr 11 and Jasta Nr 4 under Manfred von Richthofen and Hermann Göring when each one commanded JG Nr 1.
Von Richthofen had personally recruited Udet, and thought enough of him to place him in charge of Jasta Nr 11 fairly soon after his March 1918 arrival. Udet offered his complete loyalty to von Richthofen, which was what the Baron demanded, in addition to superior performance. Yet by the following month, Udet’s hero was dead. Udet was at home recuperating from an ear infection when he learned of von Richthofen’s death. In May of 1918, Udet himself was tapped to receive the Orden Pour le Mérite.
Shortly thereafter, JG Nr 1 received its final commander, Hermann Göring. Under Göring’s command, Udet also became Jasta Nr 4's Jastaführer and flew a Fokker D. VII with deadly precision. Udet displayed two significant decorations on the latter aircraft during 1918. The word "Lo" (his then fiancée, to whom he was married from 1920 to 1923) was emblazoned on both sides of its fuselage. He also sported the phrase "Du Doch Nicht" ("Definitely not you" or "Oh, not you") on his rear elevators. The latter boasted that NO allied fighter could get on his tail and shoot him down!
When WW I ended, Udet suffered some of the uncertainty felt by many Imperial German veterans found. They had returned to a financially and socially ruined Germany. Internal strife within the government and its battles with Communist and Socialist factions ultimately led to the right-wing rise of Adolf Hitler and his Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei/NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party). The times were difficult and Udet drifted like many former pilots. He tried his hand at many ventures. He started an aircraft manufacturing firm, flew in several movies, as well as air races and air shows in which he performed stunts. [I remember my good friend Jack D. Hunter (1921-2009), the author of the landmark WW I aviation novel The Blue Max, telling me a story about meeting Udet. Jack’s father took him to the 1931 Cleveland Air Races. The two of them were going up into the control tower when they passed Udet on the steps. Udet paused to share a few friendly words with the enthralled ten-year-old boy, which was an over-the-moon experience for the lad. During the show, Udet picked up a napkin off the ground with his wingtip, demonstrating his extreme control of his airplane].
In 1935, Udet joined his former commander, Hermann Göring, to help create the Luftwaffe. He was a proponent of dive-bombers, helping to champion the JU-87 Stuka dive-bomber that proved very successful during WW II’s early years. It was not long, however, before this slow-moving aircraft and Germany’s inability to quickly produce all the airborne weapons needed by the German military, caused Göring cast much of the blame on Udet. On 4 April 1942 Udet committed suicide, although his cause of death was kept from the German public. Udet was given a massive funeral with full honors, and was laid to rest at the Invalidenfriedhof in Berlin beside his hero Manfred von Richthofen (whose body had been moved from his original burial spot in France).
Sanke Card Nr 620
depicts Udet in a standing studio pose. His PLM is at his throat, while his left breast displays a ribbon bar, the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class, and the Prussian Army Pilot Badge. His clear and bold black ink signature appears across his tunic’s lower portion. He has indicated that his rank is that of an Oberleutnant. While the card was never mailed, it has some of his personal information written on its reverse, as well as some information concerning its owner/collector. The card and the signature are mint, representing one of Germany’s best WW I pilots.
$1,495.00   mbjan2017 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-274 XRP SANKE CARD - OBERLEUTNANT BRUNO LOERZER - AUTOGRAPHED - NR 651 - WITH MAILING ENVELOPE. This is a consignment item. Bruno Loerzer (1891-1960) was an early WW I pilot. In October 1914, he became the pilot of an aircraft that featured Hermann Göring as its observer. The two men flew together until June 1915. Loerzer then transferred to single-seater fighter aircraft. By October 1917, he had twenty confirmed victories. He was awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite in February 1918. At that time he was also appointed commander of JG Nr III, WW I’s third fighter wing. Manfred von Richthofen had first commanded such a group, JG Nr 1, in the Summer of 1917. Loerzer finished the war with forty-four confirmed victories.
With the formation of the Luftwaffe in 1935, men such as Loerzer, Eduard Ritter von Schleich, etc. were recruited into the new German Air Service. Loerzer had a successful career commanding units on the Western and Eastern Fronts, and in Italy. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross in 1940. He achieved his final rank of Generaloberst in 1943, then retired in April 1945.
This Sanke Card, Nr 651, is unusual since it comes with the original envelope in which it was mailed to a collector. The envelope was sent through the Feldpost system on 15 June 1918. It also has a unit stamp for JG Nr 3. The Sanke’s reverse is similarly stamped for JG Nr III and dated 18 September 1918. [PLEASE NOTE: unit stamping of the Sanke Card and its envelope is something of a rarity. JG Nr III was a small administrative office, with few personnel actually assigned to it. The bulk of the personnel instead was assigned to the jastas, so this unit stamp was primarily used on official documents submitted to the office of General der Kavallerie (General of Cavalry) Ernst von Hoeppner (1860-1922) who was the Luftstreitkräfte’s (Imperial German Air Service) commander.  Perhaps it is a coincidence, but the date is the same day that Loerzer shot down his forty-fourth plane].
The Sanke Card’s obverse features Loerzer in a standing pose with his PLM at his throat. On his left beast he is also wearing his 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class and Prussian Army Pilot Badge. Bruno Loerzer’s black ink signature appears in at the card’s bottom. The signed card, along with the envelope sporting the JG Nr III unit and Feldpost stamps, makes a prized pair.
$950.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-275 XRP SANKE CARD - LEUTNANT KARL BOLLE- AUTOGRAPHED - NR 685. This is a consignment item. Karl Bolle (1893-1955) came from a solid middle-class family. He was educated at Oxford and spoke excellent English, which proved helpful during the war. In 1913 he entered the army as a Küraßier-Regiment’s One-Year-Volunteer. His regiment served on both the Western and Eastern Fronts. In 1915 he applied for and was accepted into the Imperial German Air Service. While serving in Kampfstaffel Nr 23, he acted as Lothar von Richthofen’s observer/gunner. In April 1917, he was transferred to Jasta Nr 28 where he learned his craft from the likes of Karl-Emil Schäfer (Manfred von Richthofen’s student in Jasta Nr 11) and Max Ritter von Muller. In February 1918, he was transferred to Jasta Boelcke (formerly Jasta Nr 2 under early-ace Oswald Boelcke). [Jasta Boelcke was a part of JG Nr III, which was commanded by Bruno Loerzer]. In August 1918, Bolle received the coveted Orden Pour le Mérite. He finished the war as a Rittmeister (having originally belonged to a cavalry regiment) with forty-four confirmed victories. He later served as a special advisor to Hermann Göring when the Luftwaffe was created, although he never actually served in it.
Bolle appears in Sanke Card Nr 685 wearing an overcoat over his uniform. The latter’s top buttons are open to display his PLM. His signature and a dedication appear at the card’s bottom. This is a fine opportunity to acquire a signature of a top-known ace that does not surface very often.
$950.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-276 XRP SANKE CARD - LEUTNANT RIEPER - AUTOGRAPHED - NR 659. This is a consignment item. My research found little on Leutnant der Reserve Peter Rieper. He served in a Balloon unit (apparently Ballonzug19). He served as a Balloon Unit observer from October 1915 until he was severely wounded on 3 July 1918. He received the PLM on 7 October 1918. I can find no additional information. Rieper was the only officer from an Army balloon detachment to be awarded the PLM.
He is seen herein Sanke Card Nr 659. He is wearing a litewka (a type of tunic) that features a double row of buttons. His PLM is at his throat. In the litewka’s second buttonhole is his ribbon for the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class and another decoration. He wears a wound badge and the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class on his left beast. He is also wearing his schirmütze. The card has not been mailed and reveals a short notation on its reverse.
$795.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-277 XRP PHOTOGRAPH - JÜRGEN VON GRONE - AUTOGRAPHED ORIGINAL. This is a consignment item. Jürgen von Grone (1887-1978) came from a prominent Prussian military family. His father had served in the Army, so it was no surprise that Jürgen followed him into the military. He was initially a cadet (Fähnrich) in a Prussian Artillerie Regiment. He served in this regiment at the war’s beginning and participated in the assault of Belgium. He was severely wounded. Like so many others who had been wounded, von Grone applied to serve in the Imperial German Air Service.
[I have always found this curious that men like von Grone who had been wounded transferred into the Air Service. The attitude almost seemed to be that although they were no longer fit to serve on the ground at the Front, flying in airplanes was no sweat! Men who wore glasses also could transfer into the Air Service. Today pilots undergo the STRICTEST physical examinations to qualify for flight training. WW I certainly was a different time with different standards].
Von Grone began his training in December 1915. He passed his training and was assigned to an observation squadron where he served as both a pilot and an observer. He became one of the most successful observers, and eventually was assigned to the 7. Armee. He made many dangerous flights and perfected new techniques that made observation aircraft more effective. He was ultimately awarded the PLM in October 1918. [Only one other observation squadron officer may also have received the PLM].
This is an original photograph of von Grone. He is standing in a three-quarter pose, and wears his visor cap, PLM, Prussian Army Observer Badge, and the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class. In his tunic’s buttonhole he is wearing the ribbon for the Knight’s Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order. His signature and a dedication in blue ink appear toward the photograph’s bottom, which measures 3 ½" x 5."
$650.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-278 XRP PHOTOGRAPH - ERNST BRANDENBURG - AUTOGRAPHED ORIGINAL. This is a consignment item. Ernst Brandenburg (1883-1952) was the only bomber pilot and squadron commander who received the PLM during WW I. When WW I began, Brandenburg was Prussian Infanterie-Regiment Nr 149's regimental adjutant. In December 1914, he was transferred to the Imperial German Air Service. He received his pilot training and was assigned to a bomber squadron. He was severely wounded, then he was awarded the Knights Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order on 5 March 1917. He then became the commander of Bombengeschwader der Obersten Heeresleitung Nr 3 (Bogohl 3). On 13 June 1917 he led his Geschwader consisting of seventeen Gotha G IV Bombers on a raid over London. The Gotha was the largest German bomber and fielded a crew of three. The G IV boasted the most Gotha-variant planes built within any Bomber Geschwader. The raid was devastating in terms of loss of life, killing more than one hundred civilians. The raid was considered to be very successful by the German High Command, as well as the Kaiser. Brandenburg was awarded a PLM the following day. After the bestowal ceremony at the hands of Kaiser Wilhelm II, he crashed in an airplane and lost a leg. He finished the war as a Major. He was also the only bomber pilot/squadron commander to receive the PLM.
This original photograph, which measures 3 ½" x 5," shows Brandenburg from the chest up. His PLM is clearly seen. His signature and the year "1917" appear at the card’s bottom. Clearly, this photograph was taken after his 1917 PLM award. The photograph is in mint condition.
$695.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-279 XRP PHOTOGRAPH - PAUL BÄUMER - AUTOGRAPHED ORIGINAL. This is a consignment item. Paul Bäumer was one of WW I’s leading aces. He was a dental assistant by trade and received his transfer to the Imperial German Air Service in THAT role rather than as a pilot! His first service in a jasta was with Jasta Nr 5. He later transferred to the famous Jasta Boelcke. He flew with them until the war’s end and finished with forty-three confirmed victories. He was awarded the PLM in October 1918. Bäumer became a dentist after the war, then was killed in a 1927 air crash. Legend says that his name was used for the primary character in the hit novel All Quiet on the Western Front, which depicted life in WW I’s Imperial German trenches. The book’s author, Erich Maria Remarque, was one of Bäumer’s patients.
This is an original photograph of Bäumer that measures 3 ½" x 5 ¼." The pose shows him from the waist up. He is wearing the PLM at his throat. A ribbon bar, the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class, the Prussian Army Pilot Badge (and what appears to be a Silver Army Wound Badge) all are pinned on his left breast. His bold black ink signature is applied diagonally from his shoulder to his waist.
$1,150.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-280 XRP PHOTOGRAPH - ROBERT RITTER VON GREIM - AUTOGRAPHED ORIGINAL. This is a consignment item. Robert Ritter von Greim (1892-1945) was a leading Bavarian WW I ace. He first entered the Bavarian Army in 1912, and was assigned to an Artillerie Regiment. He began the war with that regiment, then, like so many other young men, joined the Imperial German Air Service. By April 1918 he was assigned to Jasta Nr 34b, a Bavarian unit. In June of 1918 he had risen to command the same Jasta. He received the Orden Pour le Mérite on 8 October 1918. He also was awarded the Bavarian Knight’s Cross of the Military Max Joseph Order (MMJO), the highest military decoration awarded by the Kingdom of Bavaria. This decoration was accompanied by an elevation to knighthood. From that point on he was referred to as Robert Ritter von Greim. Unlike Prussia’s elevation to knighthood, which was a hereditary award, Bavaria’s knighthood did NOT have that restriction. Von Greim’s final confirmed victory count was twenty-eight.
In 1923, he was a participant in Munich’s 1923 Putsch, which was led by Adolf Hitler, former General Eric Ludendorff (Generalfeldmarschall Paul von Hindenburg’s deputy), and Hermann Göring. For his participation, he was later awarded Hitler’s Blood Order. As an early Nazi Party member and Göring confidant, von Greim was an early Luftwaffe member. He held numerous high Luftwaffe posts during WW II on both the Western and Eastern Fronts. He became a Generaloberst later in the war. When Göring surrendered to the Americans in April 1945, Hitler declared Göring to be a traitor and replaced him with von Greim, who became the Third Reich’s last Generalfeldmarschall. After Hitler’s death, von Greim surrendered in Salzburg, Austria during May 1945, and  committed suicide there later that month.
This is an original photo of von Greim that measures 3½" x 5 ½." It shows him from the waist up. He is wearing his PLM, the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class, and his Bavarian Army Pilot Badge. He also is wearing a medal bar that features the MMJO. As both the PLM and the MMJO were awarded in October 1918, it is most likely that the photograph was actually taken after WW I’s end. His black ink signature is scrawled diagonally across his left arm.
$1,150.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19-281 XRP PHOTOGRAPH - WALTER BLUME - AUTOGRAPHED ORIGINAL. This is a consignment item. Walter Blume (1896-1964) began WW I in Jäger-Battalion Nr 5. After he completed pilot training, he was assigned to Jasta Nr 26. He later joined Jasta Nr 9 and served as its Jastaführer. He received the Knight’s Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order on 18 July 1918. He was one of the last pilots to receive the PLM on 2 October 1918. The war ended a mere five weeks after his award. Blume’s final score was twenty-eight confirmed victories.
After the war’s end, Blume became an aviation engineer and assisted in the design of some of the Third Reich’s jet aircraft, including the design of a four-engine bomber. He was captured by the Russians and forced to assist them in the design of jet aircraft.
This original photograph measures 3½" x 5 ½." He is shown from the waist up. He is wearing his PLM, the Prussian Army Pilot Badge, and the 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class. He has signed diagonally in black ink across his right arm at the card’s bottom. In addition to his autograph, he has included the fact that he was a "Leutnant der Reserve und Führer des Jagdstaffel 9." The photograph is in fine condition.
$1,150.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20-149 PHOTOGRAPH AND GLASS NEGATIVE - KAISER WILHELM II. This is an interesting original photograph and glass negative of Kaiser Wilhelm II. While I am not a photographic historian, I believe it was taken sometime around the turn of the 20th Century, when glass negatives gave way to film negatives. [Now that we have digital cameras, negatives themselves are becoming rarer]! The photograph shows the Kaiser in a German Army Generalfeldmarschall’s uniform. He is standing on an estate’s lawn with two older women, as well as a younger woman accompanied by two very young girls dressed in their Sunday finest. I believe one of the older women is the Empress. While I cannot be certain, I have a hunch from the Kaiser’s age that this photograph may have been taken at Haus Doorn, his exiled estate in the Netherlands. It is also possible that the photo was taken in Germany during WW I’s last year.
The photo and the glass negative both measure 4 ¼" x 6 ½." The negative has been cracked into two separate sections. It needs to be handled with great care.
$175.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20-297 FULL-COLOR GLASS PATRIOTIC PIECE - KAISER WILHELM I. I have examined this item for several minutes trying to categorize it for you. The best that I can determine is that it is a patriotic display item commemorating Germany’s first Kaiser, Wilhelm I (1797-1888). In addition to being Kaiser, he was also Prussia’s King from 1861 until his death in 1888. He assumed Prussia’s throne in 1861 when his older brother, König Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1795-1861), died. Friedrich Wilhelm IV was paralyzed and mentally incapacitated by a stroke in 1857. In 1858, Wilhelm I assumed the position of Regent for his older brother and remained in this position until the King’s death in 1861.
Wilhelm I continued his brother’s policy of German unification, which was largely completed with the conclusion of the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. Through all this, and for the balance of his rule until his 1888 death, his closest advisor and political ally was none other than "Iron Chancellor" Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898). While Wilhelm I remained King of Prussia, the other German states deferred to Prussian rule. After the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War’s end, he was formally recognized as Emperor of Germany, as well as King of Prussia. Wilhelm I remained the political and moral head of Germany, and was much beloved by his people.
Upon his death in March 1888, he was succeeded for ninety-nine days by his son, Germany’s second Kaiser, Friedrich III. Friedrich III was in ill health and died of cancer in June 1888. Germany’s third (and final) Kaiser was Wilhelm II, Friedrich III’s son and Wilhelm I’s grandson. He ruled Germany from June 1888 until November 1918. As part of the German surrender following WW I’s end, Wilhelm II agreed to be exiled to the Netherlands. The House of Hohenzollern, which extended back to Frederick the Great’s time, no longer ruled Germany.
Returning to our offering, this is a circular piece that measures 1 ½" in diameter. Its gold-toned frame might be brass, or some other non magnetic material. What I believe is a glass panel sits inside the frame. A full-color likeness of Kaiser Wilhelm I is painted on the panel. He is wearing a full-dress uniform complete with a Generalfeldmarschall’s epaulettes. His uniform’s chest sports a large medal bar with numerous decorations. He is wearing the Golden Kette of the Order of the Black Eagle around his neck, along with the Orden Pour le Mérite. [The Kette was a large, elaborate, gold collar/neck device. It was the highest chivalric order bestowed by the Kingdom of Prussia, dating back to 1701. It could be considered the ultimate expression of being a House of Hohenzollern Prinz. Princes were invested with it, and it could only be worn by a born-of-the-blood Prince on state occasions. Certain other decorations from the "Black Eagle" decoration family were awarded to very favored individuals at the pleasure of the House of Hohenzollern’s head member. The Black Eagle was prominently displayed on General Officers’ headdresses and served as a central theme on the headdresses of other officers, NCO’s, and enlisted men from the various Garde-Regiments, the General Staff, and so on].
This patriotic item is two-sided, so that the image may be viewed from both sides. The image is somewhat faded, and certainly a bit less splendid than when it was created more than one-hundred-years ago. Scratches and discolorations of the glass itself are evident. Its overall impression is one of showing honest age. I have never seen anything quite like it. I do not know how to classify it as anything other than a patriotic piece. One might possibly consider it to be a table medal, but even that misses the mark.
$95.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21-331 ZEPPELIN - BOOK - ZEPPELINE ÜBER YORK - BY FELIX LÜTZKENDORF. This is a hardback German-language book that comes complete with a dust jacket. It deals with zeppelin activity over England. Its index lists all the naval zeppelins along with some basic information about them. It contains sixty-three pages, and was published in 1935. $75.00 edFeb17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21-332 ZEPPELIN - BOOK - Z-181 GEGEN BUKAREST. This is a soft-cover German-language book that recounts the story of Zeppelin Z-181. My understanding is that it is a fictional work that contains an historical account of the bombing of Bucharest. The book contains one-hundred-seven pages and was published in 1916. It also features a dedication from one person to another that dates from 1918. $40.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21-333 ZEPPELIN - BOOK - 40,000 KM ZEPPELIN-KRIEGSFAHRTEN LETTOW-VORBECK ENTEGEN - BY INGENIEUR GOEBEL-FORESTER. This is a hardback German-language book. I have not taken the time to study the book in any great detail. It deals with plans to resupply the German colony of East Africa during WW I. Over WW I’s four-year span, Generalmajor Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck commanded a small group of German Army and Navy troops (the latter group’s ships had been sunk), as well native African soldiers known as Askaris, against the British. His vastly outnumbered contingent dashed about East Africa picking and choosing pitched battles against vastly superior numbers of British troops.
At the conflict’s height, Great Britain had more than 100,000 troops hunting for the Generalmajor’s plucky assemblage. Von Lettow-Vorbeck continued their efforts until after the war’s end, and only then did he lay down his arms. He became a national hero in Germany. The Kaiser promoted him from a Colonel to a General AND awarded him the Orden Pour le Mérite before it was all over.
This book deals with plans to resupply his group with much-needed munitions by air. You will find it a lively read! It contains one-hundred-twenty pages that are liberally illustrated with photographs and a map.
The book was published in 1933. $50.00  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21-334 ZEPPELIN - BOOK - ACHTUNG! BOMBEN FALLEN! - BY OBERMASCHINISTENMAAT PITT KLEIN. This is a hardback German-language book published in 1934. It deals with the bombing of England by zeppelins during WW I. It contains numerous photographs and recounts the zeppelin campaigns from the German perspective. The book has its dust jacket and is one-hundred-fifty-seven pages long. $40.00 edFeb17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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32-173 AUSTRIA - PATRIOTIC PIN - RED CROSS WORKER. We rarely have the opportunity to offer patriotic jewelry from Austria. This is a Red Cross Worker’s oval-shaped, patriotic pin that measures 1" x 1 ¼." It features a black two-headed Austrian Eagle sporting the Hapsburg Crown painted against a silver background. The center of the Eagle’s chest displays a red enamel cross within a white square. It is quite attractive and boasts a horizontal pin. It is in very fine condition. $65.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1700 XML JEWELER’S/WEARER’S COPY - ORDEN POUR le MÉRITE - PRUSSIA. This is a consignment item. 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.
The final detail is that its current owner has added a REPRODUCTION presentation case in which the PLM may be displayed or stored. The case measures 1" x 3 ¼" x 6 ½." A gold-embossed PLM decorates on its outer lid. The upper half of the case’s interior is lined with sumptuous purple silk. The bottom half is also purple. It is fitted to comfortably and safely accommodate the PLM. A small recessed area is present into which the ribbon is neatly folded to complete the display.
It has been quite some time since we have been able to offer a PLM of this quality and condition.
$8,495.00
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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02-427 XBS SEVEN-PLACE NAVY-STYLE FRACK BAR. This is a consignment item. It is a Frack Bar that was used by the Navy, Diplomatic Service, and etc. a Frack Bar’s primary characteristic is that it is constructed on an angle. Also, the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class, which typically appears all the way to the left on most medal bars, appears on the right instead. The rather large and extensive Frack Bar sports SEVEN decorations, and measures 7 ½." It features the decorations listed below from left to right.

 

1). Hannover Landeskriegerverband. It was a Hannover veteran’s organization for men who served from 1914 to 1918. This identification appears on the reverse of a bronze-toned decoration that measures 1 ½" in diameter. Its obverse features the Hannover and Braunschweig running horse in profile, along with the date 1914-1918.

2). Hindenburg Cross with Swords for Combatants. This decoration was awarded in three grades: combatants, non combatants, and to the families of soldiers who died in action or from wounds received while in action. This one for combatants features swords through a cross’s center with the dates 1914-1918. It was initiated after Reichspräsident Generalfeldmarschall Paul von Hindenburg’s death. He was Germany’s most famous Great War military hero.

3). Kriegsehrenkreuz für Heldenmütige Tat 2nd Klasse (War Honor Cross for Heroic Deed[s]). This gold-toned cross was the Principality of Lippe-Detmold’s 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class equivalent.

4). Fürstlich Lippischer Hausorden Ehrenkreuz 4.Klasse (The Princely House Order of Lippe Honor Cross 4th Class). This decoration was from the Principality of Lippe-Detmold. It is a pre war award and does NOT come with the crossed swords that were awarded to officers who had been in combat. Even though it is the 4th Class, it is a very high level award. It displays a wonderful enamel red rose in its center that was emblematic of Lippe-Detmold.

5). Kriegsverdienstkreuz II. Klasse (War Service Cross 2nd Class). This is the Duchy of Braunschweig’s 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class equivalent. While it is smaller in size (measuring 1 ¼" x 1 ¼"), it is NOT a Prinzengroße-sized award. It was only awarded in this size. Its obverse sports Herzog Ernst August’s cypher. He was Braunschweig’s final ruler, who was married to Kaiser Wilhelm II’s only daughter.

6). Verdienstkreuz für Kriegshilfe. This was a civil award that was awarded from 1916 through 1924 for aid given during the war.

7). 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class - Prussia.

 

All of the decorations and ribbons are in mint condition. This is an exciting Frack Bar with many interesting decorations. $1,395.00 PRICE REDUCTION!!$1,250.00

 

 

 

 

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02-428 XBS FIVE-PLACE RIBBON BAR. This is a consignment item. It is a five-place ribbon bar that measures 3 ¼." It contains the decorations listed below in order from left to right.

 

 

1) 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class - Prussia.

2) This decoration is unidentified.

3). Saxe-Ernestine House Order 4th Class - Saxe-Coburg und Gotha.

4) Friedrich August Cross 2nd Class - Oldenburg.

5). Knight’s Cross of the Franz Josef Order.

It is an attractive piece. $95.00  PRICE REDUCTION!!$85.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1691 XBS MILITARY MERIT CROSS 4th CLASS - BAVARIA. This is a consignment item. It is the Military Merit Cross 4th Cross from the Kingdom of Bavaria, an officer-level award that was given in a number of variations (i.e., 1st through 4th award levels, pinbacks, etc.). The 4th Class award was the most basic. It was given not only to native sons, but to allied officers of Bavaria who fought side by side with Bavarian troops. It was first awarded in 1866 after that same year’s Austro-Prussian War. It was authorized by King (Mad) Ludwig II (1845-1886) of Bavaria. [Ludwig led a tortured life. He nearly bankrupted Bavaria with his lavish lifestyle and the building of numerous castles all over Bavaria. Ultimately, he was removed from his throne in 1886 for "mental defect," then was found mysteriously drowned the following day. His brother Otto was also found mentally incompetent. This led to the appointment of a Regent, Prinz Regent Luitpold, who served in that role from 1886 through 1912. Upon his death, he was succeeded by Prinz Ludwig. The latter served as Regent until 1913, when he assumed the throne as King Ludwig III. He was Bavaria’s King until 1918, when all the heads of state relinquished their thrones at WW I’s end.
The 4th Class award was given in both combatants’ and non combatants’ versions. The cross, which measures 1 ¾" x 1 ¾," has handsome blue arms. Its center features black, gold and white enamel, with a brilliant crowned gold "L" cypher in place. Above that is the Latin word Merenti.
The decoration’s reverse features a rampant Bavarian Lion and the date 1866 (when the decoration was introduced) beneath a pair of crossed swords at the top. The sword’s reverse is hallmarked for .800 silver. The cross’s overall condition is excellent. The enamel shows no chipping whatsoever. This example is in top condition.
$650.00  PRICE REDUCTION!!$575.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13-1026 XBS KAISERLICHE MARINE DECK OFFICER’S SCHIRMÜTZE (VISOR CAP) EMBLEM. This is a consignment item. Essentially, an Imperial German naval Deck Officer was a senior NCO. He wore a uniform similar to an officer’s. His schirmütze also was similar to an officer’s, but its abzeichen (emblem) was different. The Deck Officer’s shoulder boards and his cap badge’s design were the two primary differences between his uniform and one for an officer. Deck officers were responsible for insuring that the enlisted men and NCO’s under his command operated smoothly. Often a Deck Officer had been in the Navy for twenty years or more, and had developed the skills to efficiently guide his younger charges. Whether they were in the Navy or the Army, senior NCO’s served as the backbone of their respective institutions (which has been the case in military institutions throughout the world and across the ages). They were essential guides to younger, less-experienced officers throughout the early stages of their military careers.
The Deck Officer’s abzeichen features a prominent crown at its top, with a stole’s twin ribbons flowing down from either side of the crown. The stole’s central point features a circular black, blue and silver-colored bullion badge. This particular example has aged quite nicely and displays a fine patina. Its reverse sports a blue paper backing that also has aged well. The paper’s wrinkling exhibits honest age.
It would make a fine addition to any collection.
$450.00  PRICE REDUCTION!!$395.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21-325 XBS LUFTSCHIFFER OFFICER’S DOCUMENT AND PHOTO GROUP. This is a consignment item. If you have an interest in document groups, we have something special for you. If you have an interest in observation balloons and zeppelins, this wonderful group is VERY special for you. The number of documents it contains is absolutely staggering, and will enable you to track and research almost everything the man ever did. His name was Werner Eugen Möschke. He was born in 1881, then first entered the army at the dawn of the 20th Century. The document group indicates he saw early service in Nassau Field Artillery-Regiment Nr 27. After completing his mandatory two years of military service, Möschke began his post high school (called "gymnasium" in Germany) studies, eventually becoming a mechanical engineer. The group contains many documents from this period, including some confirming his graduation and his qualifications as an engineer.
When WW I broke out, Möschke found himself in a Luftschiffer-Bataillon as a Leutnant der Reserve. Luftschiffer-Bataillons included the observation balloons that were launched from mobile units to spy on enemy positions and call in artillery strikes, which was his assignment. Later he was transferred to the Luftschiffer-Bataillon’s zeppelin section. He finished the war as a Hauptmann der Reserve. Our document group provides definite proof that he did indeed serve with a zeppelin unit, although I am unable to determine if he was onboard as a zeppelin commander or if he was a unit commander. [Please note: in 1917, the Imperial German Army decided it was no longer interested in fielding Luftschiffer-Bataillons. So, the Army turned over all its airships and zeppelin-related equipment to the Kaiserliche Marine, including (perhaps) some transfer of personnel].
Möschke returned to his peacetime profession when WW I was over. In the 1930's, however, he returned to the army, where he eventually achieved a major’s rank. The group’s consignor has included several typed papers containing translated information concerning some of the documents, including his war service. These papers indicate that he served as a member of the executive committee for a military reporting office in Freiburg during WW II. Photos from the group show him wearing the very rare Army Commemorative Airship Badge, which further documents his involvement with zeppelins as well as an observation squadron.
We are listing some of the group’s military-related documents below. Some of them detail his various assignments during the Great War.

 

Above all, they show some of the more important and costly battles in which Möschke was involved.

 

 

1) 1907 Artillerie Officer’s Patent. The same type of patent was used whether its recipient was a Leutnant or a Generalmajor. The only real difference is that junior officer’s Patents were not signed by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Prior to WW I, the Kaiser had personally signed Patents in the rank of Hauptmann and above. Due to the Imperial German Army’s size, however, as the war progressed, he signed far fewer Patents, perhaps only for Majors and above.

 

 

 

 

 

2) Award Document for the Long-Service Award 2nd Class. Dated March 1914, it was issued through the XVIII Armeekorps.

 

 

 

3) Award Document for the Iron Cross 2nd Class. It is dated August 1917.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Award Document for the Ernst Ludwig Allgemeines Ehrenzeichen für Tapferkeit. He was awarded Hesse’s Iron Cross 2nd Class equivalent in 1915. The very ornate document bears the Grand Duke of Hesse’s signature. Möschke probably was a native son of Hesse to have received its award so much earlier than the Imperial Iron Cross 2nd Class he later was awarded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Enlisted Man/NCO’s Militärpaß and Soldbuch. This dates from his two-year mandatory service.

 

 

6) Two Kriegsranglisten. These documents were used by officers, much as an enlisted man and NCO used a Militärpaß. Each contained all of their owner’s critical information about his rank, promotions, areas of service with dates, awards, and so on. They are excellent sources for research. They indicate that he saw service in the battles of Verdun and Ypres. One of the two was updated in 1935 when he once more re-entered the army.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7) Hindenburg Cross with Swords for Combatants Award Document. The document is dated 1935.

 

 

A number of military-related documents date from 1935 forward. Following WW II, Möschke went through the de-Nazification process where he was deemed not to be a hard-core Nazi threat. He again returned to engineering, although the papers indicate he had health problems that stemmed from his many high-altitude flights. He died at the age of 73.
We have barely scratched the surface of what is contained in this fantastic document group. We have never offered anything as extensive as this group! Möschke took great pains to retain the many documents that related to his military and professional life. Stacked up, the group measures some two-to-three inches in height! Frankly, the group is mind-boggling.
You will have hours of fun pouring though all of these documents and learning more about a man who served his country through two world wars. Please be ready for the large number of photographs attached to our entry. In this case, a picture IS worth a thousand words! $2,495.00 PRICE REDUCTION!  $2,250.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22-106 XBS FOR VALOUR: THE HISTORY OF THE IRON CROSS AND WOUND BADGE IN GERMAN SOUTHWEST AFRICA 1914-1918 by GORDON McGREGOR. This is a consignment item. It covers the awarding of the 1914 Iron Cross and the German Wound Badge in Southwest Africa during World War One. The soft cover book was published in 2005. It contains examples of an Iron Cross’s Urkunde (Award Document), including the numerous formats used. It also lists the numbers and types of Iron Crosses awarded (i.e., 1st and 2nd Class and a breakdown of 2nd Class Combatants and Non Combatants), as well as the soldiers who were awarded the 2nd Class.
It is a useful research book, and can help confirm which Colonial Southwest African soldiers were awarded the Iron Cross.
$95.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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31-128 XBS AWARD DOCUMENT GROUP FOR GERMAN SOUTHWEST AFRICA SCHUTZTRUPPEN MEMBER. This is a consignment item. The document group covers a German Southwest Africa (DSW) Schutztruppen member named Hugo Kleemann. His documents are chronologically listed below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1). Document for the Award of the 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class. The document measures 6 ¾" x 10." At this point Kleemann was an Unteroffizier. It is dated 15 May 1919, after he had been returned to Germany. The document’s left section depicts a standing enlisted man/NCO holding the German national flag (NOT the kriegsflagge) beneath a 1914 Iron Cross. The man is wearing the Schutztruppen’s well-known hut (hat) with its half-turned-up brim. The document is stamped in blue ink with the Schutztruppen unit’s identification "Kommando der Schutztruppen im Reichskolonialministerium" (Imperial Colonial Office Protection Forces Command) accompanying a scrawled official’s signature. The document clearly states that on this date Kleemann had received his Iron Cross 2nd Class.

 

2). Ausweiß (Identity Transcript). The document’s obverse is dated 16 May 1919. It was issued in Friedrichshafen on the same date, and measures 8" x 10 ¼." It bears the unit stamp for the "Reichs-Kolonial amt Kommando der Schutztruppen" (an abbreviated form of Imperial Colonial Office Protection Forces Command). It also features a hastily scrawled Major’s signature. The document’s reverse states that Kleemann was honorably separated from the Schutztruppen effective 30 January 1919.

 

3). Fifteen-Years Loyal Service Award Document. It is a first class award that bears the Schutztruppen’s unit stamp. It was signed by the same officer who signed Kleemann’s 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class Award Document. The Service award’s date is 31 October 1919. It measures 6 ¼" x 7."

 

 

4). Kolonialabzeichen Urkunde (Colonial Badge Award Document). The award’s date was 22 March 1922. The document measures 7 ¼" x 8 ½." Two of the sides display African motifs such as a native shield, spears and swords. A lion’s head decorates the document’s top. The phrase "Afrika, Kiautschou, and Südsee" is displayed at the document’s bottom enclosed within a wreath. The document was signed with the purple grease pencil often used by officers in the field.

 

5). Hindenburg Cross for Combatants Award Document. This was awarded through the Hamburg police department (we later discover that Kleemann was a Hamburg policeman). The basic form date given for the preprinted document is 13 July 1934. It was signed and issued on 19 December 1934 by a police official. It measures 5 ¾" x 8 ¼."

 

6). Police Department Long-Service Award Document. This is a very fancy velum document attesting to twenty-five years of long service to the police department. The document is signed in Berlin with a deeply embossed eagle and swastika. It is dated 26 September 1938, and is signed at the bottom with a reproduction signature for "Der Führer and Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler." The document measures 8 ¼" x 11 ½," and is four pages long, only one of which was used. It is a very impressive document that was presented in the name of the German people.

 

This most interesting document group celebrates a man’s service during and after WW I. You may wish to purchase both the group and the book on Iron Cross awards in German Southwest Africa, which would make a fine companion for the documents. $845.00   PRICE REDUCTION!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20-343 KAISER WILHELM II - SOUP BOWL - S.M.Y. HOHENZOLLERN. The S.M.Y. (Seiner Majestät Yacht) Hohenzollern was Kaiser Wilhelm II’s royal yacht. An earlier royal yacht by the same name was launched in 1878 and used by the House of Hohenzollern heads until 1892. It was then renamed the Kaiser Adler and later scrapped in 1912. The second, and most famous, S.M.Y. Hohenzollern was placed in service in 1894. It was used extensively by Kaiser Wilhelm II until just shortly before WW I began, when it was retired. [A bigger and even more opulent S.M.Y. Hohenzollern actually was launched in 1914, but it remained incomplete due to the war].
Wilhelm II spent the equivalent of five years (from 1894 through the first part of 1914) aboard the second Hohenzollern, primarily sailing around the Baltic, North, and Mediterranean Seas. Every summer, with the exception of 1906, Wilhelm’s favorite destination was Norway. The Hohenzollern, accompanied by at least one German cruiser anchored in a fjord, where the Kaiser exercised daily in the morning, sailed, and enjoyed visits ashore. He and his guests dined luxuriously from a table service specifically designed for use aboard the S.M.Y. Hohenzollern. The Kaiser maintained many different place settings at his various castles and estates. He even had a set designed for his use aboard the Kaiserliche Marine’s various flagships, as well as aboard his racing sloop. [Saying the Kaiser knew how to live it up in style is a gross understatement]. One tableware pattern that many Imperial German collectors prefer is that from the S.M.Y. Hohenzollern’s table service.

 

Today we are offering you a very rare example of a soup bowl from that same pattern, measuring 10" in diameter. The bowl features a double-gold rim, one quite simple and the other more decorative. At the bowl’s top is the Kaiser Flag, which always accompanied Wilhelm wherever he went and was displayed when he was on the land with his army units. The flag usually was carried by a Regiment der Garde du Corps trooper (the ones who sported gilt metal helmets displaying the Hohenzollern Eagle). The letters "S.M.Y.," appear below the flag and sit above a blue banner displaying "Hohenzollern" written in gold. The bowl’s center displays an Order of the Black Eagle Kette (collar), which features Wilhelm II’s royal cypher in its center. [The Order of the Black Eagle was intended for members of the nobility and royalty rather than ordinary members of the military. All male House of Hohenzollern (HoH) members received some level of the order. Some celebrated individuals, such as Generalfeldmarschall August von Mackensen, also were awarded the decoration].

 

 

 

This soup bowl was produced by the porcelain manufacturing firm KPM. Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur’s history began in 1763, when Prussian König Friedrich der Große (1712-1786) purchased the firm from its original owners. From that point forward, KPM’s trademark included a cobalt-blue scepter along with the firm’s three initials. [A royal orb was added to the trademark beginning in 1803]. In addition, all HoH members began purchasing KPM’s tableware for their royal estates. [KPM continues to produce some of the world’s finest porcelain items today, along with other such Imperial German-era survivors as Saxony’s Meissen and Bavaria’s Rosenthal].

 

 

The bowl’s underside features the correct KPM trademark that includes the scepter and orb. Wilhelm II’s tableware commonly added a date to indicate when the piece was placed into service. Our soup bowl’s date is 1914, the year of the ship’s final July voyage prior to WW I’s start! This means it was one of the last items to be placed in service aboard the S.M.Y. Hohenzollern.
Did Kaiser Wilhelm II eat from this bowl? We have no way of knowing. You, however, can feel like a royal when you purchase this very rare bowl!
$2,295.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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04-724 XLO BAVARIA - RESERVE OFFICER’S PICKELHAUBE - LEIB-INFANTERIE-REGIMENT. This is a consignment item. It is a high-quality Leib-Infanterie-Regiment Reserve Officer’s spiked helmet from the Kingdom of Bavaria’s most elite infantry regiment. Each of Imperial Germany’s four kingdoms, as well as many of its Grand Duchies and Duchies had a regiment that was often their oldest and/or part of their ruler’s private guard, as was the case with Bavaria’s Leib-Infanterie-Regiment. The latter was founded in 1814 during Maximilian Joseph I of Bavaria’s reign. It was garrisoned in the capital city of Munich, and assigned to the I. Bavarian Armeekorps.
The helmet boasts a lovely leather body. Its front visor is squared, as was the case for all Bavarian Infanterie and Kavallerie pickelhauben. A few blemishes show on the exterior, including some areas of cracking, but nothing major. The crown has settled a bit where the cruciform is attached, which is quite common for Bavarian helmets due, in part, to the cruciform’s size and weight. The primary difference between the Leib-Infanterie-Regiment’s pickelhaube and all other Bavarian Infanterie Regiments is that all its fittings (with the exception of the gold-toned Reserve Officer’s Cross) are silver-toned. The latter include the wappen, chin scales (flat, as is correct for the Infanterie), cruciform, front/rear visor trims, officers’ stars, and the extra-tall fluted spike. The spike is massive. It is one of the tallest that I have ever seen on ANY pickelhaube. It is large even by Saxon standards, which are among the tallest of all pickelhauben spikes. Finally, the helmet’s exterior displays the correct Bavarian and Reich’s kokarden.

 

 

The interior sports a well-worn brown leather sweatband that is attached to an equally well used, rust-toned, silk liner. The latter reveals signs of perspiration and even hair oil from the wearer’s head. NO double holes appear under the silk liner, although a couple of the helmet’s original washers are missing. The helmet’s size, 57 ½, has been penciled-in. Anything above a 56 is on the large side. Helmets running from 55 to 56 would be considered medium. Many helmets from the WW I-era range from 53 to 54, and would be classified as small.
This is a pleasing, original spiked helmet that has not been altered. It is also bargain-priced.
$4,295.00 
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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04-729 XAS BAVARIA - GENERAL OFFICER'S - PICKELHAUBE. This is a consignment item. Our offering today is an extremely fine General Officer’s pickelhaube from the Kingdom of Bavaria. It is Bavaria’s final General Officer’s pickelhaube pattern, which was introduced in 1913 then used through WW I’s end. It sports an excellent leather body that has remained in fine shape due to its owners’ careful maintenance since it was first accepted at its purveyor’s establishment. The general who purchased it both knew AND demanded superior quality, as is evident from its smooth, almost blemish-free surface. Babies’ bottoms do not come much cleaner or smoother than this! Some depression/settling shows where the cruciform attaches at the helmet’s crown, which is very common with Bavarian pickelhauben. [Interestingly enough, I do NOT see this as often with other Imperial German states’ headgear].
Its front visor is squared-off instead of rounded. All of its furniture is silver-toned, including the chin scales, cruciform, officers’ stars, and its (magnificently tall and fluted) spike. Its wappen displays a gorgeous silver patina that confirms it has not been cleaned in decades. The oval, multicolored (black, red, gold, blue, and white) enamel shield in the wappen’s center is what makes this general’s helmet "pop" when you look at it. The shield features two rampant Bavarian Lions (whose silver-toned likenesses comprise the rest of the wappen on either side of the shield), above and below a smaller blue and white Bavarian checkerboard in its center. [The same blue and white checkerboard design also dominates Bavaria’s state flag]. The helmet’s exterior also features the correct Bavarian and Reich’s kokarden.

 

 

The pickelhaube’s interior reveals a fine brown-leather sweatband. A pinkish-colored liner is attached to the sweatband. It may be made from polished cotton rather than the more commonly seen silk. It is in mint condition. No extra holes appear under the sweatband. All of the original hardware is in place.
This is a marvelous example of a 1913-pattern Bavarian General Officer’s pickelhaube. You would be hard-pressed to find a finer example. It is being offered UNDER its current market value because its consignor has had it for more than fifteen years. He is allowing me to pass the savings onto you!
$12,995.00  
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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04-730 XRH RUSSIA - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - GARDE du CORPS HELMET. This is a consignment item. As a rule, we rarely stray from offering Imperial German artifacts on our website. This is one of those times when an item deserves to be shared with you.
Our offering today is a Russian Empire Garde du Corps trooper's (enlisted man/NCO’s) helmet. As was the case with the Prussians, the Imperial Russian Garde du Corps (GduC) served as the Tsar’s personal guard. The Russian GduC consisted of two regiments: Preobrazhensky and Semonovsky. Their wappen was a silvered eight-pointed starburst that featured an enamel, double-headed Imperial Russian Eagle with the Cross of St. Andrew in its center, surrounded by a Russian inscription in gold Cyrillic lettering that translates as "For Faith and Loyalty." The helmet is topped by a large, crowned, silver-toned, House of Romanov (founded in 1613), double-headed Imperial Russian Eagle. The Eagle’s chest sports a shield bearing a depiction of St. George slaying a dragon. The helmet’s front visor is lined in black velvet. This helmet-style was introduced in 1846 and saw service until 1914. [The lobster-tailed helmet is similar in appearance to the Prussian GduC’s gold-toned, Hohenzollern Eagle-topped helmets].

 

 

 

The helmet’s correct and original chin scales are present. The wearer's right side sports a large gold, red, and blue kokarde that is similar in style to those used by Württemberg, Saxony, Hesse-Darmstadt, and Baden. It is far different from the Prussian pattern and, in my opinion, more elegant. The helmet’s exterior displays some minor dimpling in perhaps three or four places. These are in NO way detractive to the helmet’s overall appearance. The large detailed Eagle and crown are silver toned. The rear visor sports three different levels in the "Lobstertail" style also favored by the Imperial German GduC and Küraßier Regiments, originally intended to protect their wearers’ necks from sword slashes.

 

 

The helmet’s interior features a liner in the style typically used for Prussian enlisted men’s helmets, i.e., multiple leather tongues (ALL present) strung together by a leather thong that allowed its wearers to adjust the liner according to their head sizes and/or comfort-levels.
This helmet is extremely difficult-to-find. We are pleased to offer it here for your pleasure and consideration.
$10,995.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33-330 ENLISTED MAN/NCO - TSCHAPKA - ORIGINAL PARADE BUSH. Here is a correct, ORIGINAL enlisted man/NCO’s tschapka parade bush, which would enable the helmet to be correct for use at parades and more formal functions. It is made of white horse hair whose ends are inserted and held at its base by a metal device. The metal device’s opposite end very much resembles a long paperclip! The "paperclip" measures 3" in length, and is inserted on the helmet’s side. This enables the bush to be held upright so it can stream down the helmet’s side.
It is an important accouterment that instantly changes a tschapka from its "everyday" style to being correct and proper for a parade. If you buy the cap lines offered above AND this bush, you will be able to properly complete your tschapka! We encourage you to contact us for a special price for the pair.
$550.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33-331 PRUSSIA - OFFICER’S TSCHAKO - ORIGINAL FELDZEICHEN. Today we are offering a Feldzeichen (Field Badge) that is suitable for a Prussian officer’s tschako. The Feldzeichen sports a clip at its bottom that slips into an opening at the tschako’s top, just above its wappen. The Feldzeichen is an essential tschako component in that it serves to identify the state from which its wearer hailed. [Naturally, the tschako’s wappen also performs the same function. The combination of the two helps remove any doubts about the headdress’s home state].
Here, the Feldzeichen displays a black velvet center that identifies it as originating from the Kingdom of Prussia. Several rows of silver bullion surround the velvet center. These rows are widest at its edges, with each succeeding row becoming thinner. The silver bullion is what identifies the Feldzeichen as correct for an officer. An enlisted man/NCO’s Feldzeichen would sport cotton edging material. The Feldzeichen’s reverse is covered by a black velvet backing. If one looks quite closely, you can spot some very small moth nips on it.
This shows honest age and helps us to be more comfortable that this is the real deal.
$295.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05-1692 XKA WÜRTTEMBERG - OFFICER’S PINBACK (OFFIZIERS STECKKREUZ) TYPE 1 WILHELMSKREUZ MIT KRONE UND SCHWERTEN. Württemberg began awarding The Wilhelm’s Cross in 1915 in two classes, as a 2nd Class Cross on a ribbon, or as a 1st Class Pinback Decoration for officers. What we are offering today is an extremely rare (and I do mean RARE) example of Württemberg’s Offiziers Steckkreuz Wilhelmskreuz mit Krone und Schwerten (Officers’ Pinback Wilhelm’s Cross with Crown and Swords. The decoration is made of oxidized bronze and features a massive voided crown at its top. It measures 2 ¾" from the crown’s top to the decoration’s bottom, and 2" in width. Its center displays King Wilhelm II of Württemberg’s royal cypher enclosed within a laurel leaf wreath. A pair of crossed swords extends through the decoration’s body.
The decoration’s reverse exhibits a long, tapered pin that measures 1 ¾" in length. A closer inspection reveals that the pin is somewhat discolored. [This is a good sign, showing me that it was worn on a tunic at some point, rubbing against the uniform’s sewn-in decoration loops when it was pinned to and removed from the tunic. A small detail like this increases my comfort level, since it reveals "honest" age]. The reverse’s center also displays a hallmark that we cannot identify. The latter’s details appear in the photos accompanying our description.
Earlier, I mentioned that it is a very rare decoration. My research in Jörg Nimmergut’s excellent five volume series about German decorations reveals that it was awarded ONE HUNDRED and TWENTY-ONE times. Out of those 121 awards, ONE HUNDRED and EIGHT were awarded to Württemberg’s native sons, while the rest went to officers of other states within the German Empire. [This is quite rarefied company when one notes that the Orden Pour le Mérite was awarded more than seven hundred times]!
It gets even better! During the award’s brief existence, three different versions were awarded and classified as Types 1, 2, and 3. This example is a Type 1, the rarest of the three, and commands a higher value. [Nimmergut’s current price guide values a Type 1 at €5,500, which translates to $5,995 at the November 2016 rate of exchange]. Since we bought it at a very reasonable price, we are pleased to share the bargain with you.
[PLEASE NOTE: the photos accompanying this description show the decoration mounted onto two Württemberg tunics (#15-668 and #15-669, listed below) that we are offering. The officer to whom the tunics belonged worked at the German General Staff, and was a member of Infanterie-Regiment Alt-Württemberg (3. Württ.) Nr 121. A very good probability exists that he proudly wore one of these decorations on his tunic]!
$4,995.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15-668 M-1915 INFANTERIE-REGIMENT Nr 121 HAUPTMANN’S FELDGRAU FELDBLUSE TUNIC - WÜRTTEMBERG. This is a superb M-1915 feldgrau officer’s tunic from Infanterie-Regiment Alt-Württemberg (3. Württ.) Nr 121. The regiment was founded in 1716 and garrisoned at Ludwigsburg. It was attached to the Württemberg XIII. Armeekorps.
The feldbluse tunic is easily distinguished from other tunic styles by a frontal flap that covers its buttons, leaving no buttons visible down the tunic’s center. A total of six simple gray buttons is in its center. Once they have been buttoned, an inner flap is laid down, followed by the exterior flap, and "Ausgezeichnet!" the tunic appears to have no center buttons! This creates a very tidy layout that was favored by some officers, however, it was not as popular as the M-1910, M-1915, etc. tunic-styles.
The tunic’s exterior features two pockets that are secured by two small subdued, crowned buttons. The same small buttons secure its shoulder boards. Each shoulder board displays a "121" that identifies the regiment, along with a Hauptmann’s twin pips. The exterior’s final two buttons appear on the reverse in the vent area. They are larger than the other four buttons, the size that normally is visible running down the tunic’s center.
The shoulder boards are the sewn-in variety, which was quite common among Leutnant’s, Oberleutnant’s, and Hauptmann’s ranks. One side is sewn into the tunic and the other is attached by a button. Each shoulder board has a white underlay. The shoulder boards are of the M-1915 feldgrau variety. The chevrons atop the shoulder boards are both black and red, which is indicative of Württemberg. The tunic’s collar is also feldgrau, which is quite interesting.
One other very important area on the tunic’s left chest elevates this tunic to the realm of the VERY, VERY special. The top left breast area sports a large set of horizontally sewn-in loops measuring 5 ½" in width. This could hold a massive ribbon bar sporting a MINIMUM of eight-to-ten decorations (according to my best calculations given the width).  Another set of loops located just below this area elevates this tunic to another dimension.  Typically, most tunics sport two or three sets of loops for their owners' decorations. This tunic displays SEVEN sets of loops. Some contain two loops, while others have three. The loop sets that I have artificially designated as "one" and "three" are of the size that could sustain a larger decoration, possibly a breast star. Loop sets "two" and "four" are probably designed for an Iron Cross 1st Class and possibly a wound badge. Loops "five," "six," and "seven" are also large and could carry larger pinback decorations or breast stars.

 

It is my opinion that at LEAST two breast stars were worn on five of the loop sets, while the balance would have accommodated larger decoration. I have some other "guestimations." For a man to have this many orders and decorations, we are quite possibly looking at a member of royalty. Considering its relatively low rank versus the high number of awards, I think we could be looking at a young Prinz or Graf. This theory is enhanced by the second tunic, which follows below.
The tunic’s interior is finished in fine gray silk. It has a total of four interior pockets: three on the left and one on the right. We have outfitted this tunic and the one below with a ribbon bar and a number of special  awards to illustrate the sort of decorations that might have been worn by the Württemberg gentleman who owned both uniforms.  [PLEASE NOTE: These decorations are NOT INCLUDED with either tunic!!!  We DO have them available for purchase if you are interested.  We also want to emphasize that the tunics' owner probably WAS awarded a Württemberg Offiziers Steckkreuz Wilhelmskreuz mit Krone und Schwerten like the one we are offering today on JUST IN FROM GERMANY (click here to see)].
The tunic’s condition is excellent both inside and out. I can detect NO moth damage. The tunic has been well preserved for the last nearly one-hundred-years. It is a superb tunic for any collection, especially if coupled with its "mate," listed below.
$4,995.00

 

 

 

 

 

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15-669 M-1910 INFANTERIE-REGIMENT Nr 121 HAUPTMANN’S FELDGRAU TUNIC BUT ATTACHED TO GREAT GERMAN GENERAL STAFF - WÜRTTEMBERG. This is a superb M-1910 feldgrau officer’s tunic from Infanterie-Regiment Alt-Württemberg (3. Württ.) Nr 121. The regiment was founded in 1716 and garrisoned at Ludwigsburg. It was attached to the Württemberg XIII. Armeekorps. The M-1910 feldgrau tunic is a companion to the same officer’s feldgrau feldbluse tunic. It is the classic and most frequently seen of the officers’ wartime tunics. The tunic has a single row of eight silver buttons that run down the tunic’s center. Three additional silver buttons appear on each sleeve. The sleeve cuffs and collar display the matching red trim used by officers assigned to Berlin’s Great German General Staff. [The latter served as the Imperial German Army’s heart and soul. It was responsible for everything from planning the logistics of getting material to the troops in the field to selecting new items for uniforms, headdresses, etc. It had more departments than I can name, with the major departments commanded by General Officers. The major departments had lesser departments reporting to them. All of these departments had many officers of varying ranks who handled the paperwork generated to-and-from the field commands and kept the war machine humming].
This tunic was the second of our man’s garments, for when he transferred to the General Staff. It is impressive, to say the least. The shoulder boards are different from those on the other tunic. They are pre war examples, NOT the later M-1915 feldgrau variety. They again sport the "121" for Infanterie-Regiment Alt-Württemberg in gilt rather than silver. The "121" is flanked above and below by a Hauptmann’s twin gilt pips.  The exterior’s final two buttons appear on the reverse in the vent area. They are the same size as those used to run down the tunic’s center.
The shoulder boards are the sewn-in variety, which was quite common among Leutnant’s, Oberleutnant’s, and Hauptmann’s ranks. One side is sewn into the tunic and the other is attached by a button. Each shoulder board has a white underlay. The shoulder boards are of the
M-1915 feldgrau variety. The chevrons atop the shoulder boards are both black and red, which is indicative of Württemberg. The tunic’s collar is red.
One other very important area on the tunic’s left chest elevates this tunic to the realm of the VERY, VERY special. The top left breast area sports a large set of horizontally sewn-in loops measuring 6 ½" in width. This could hold a massive ribbon bar sporting a MINIMUM of eight-to-ten decorations (according to my best calculations given the width).  Another set of loops located just below this area elevates this tunic to another dimension.  Typically, most tunics sport two or three sets of loops for its owner’s decorations. This tunic displays ELEVEN sets of loops. Some contain two loops, while others have three. Like the loop sets on tunic above, some could sustain larger pinback decorations, or possibly breast stars, while others are probably designed for an Iron Cross 1st Class or possibly a wound badge. 

       

It is my opinion that at LEAST two breast stars were worn on five of the loop sets, while the balance would have accommodated larger decorations. I have some other "guestimations." For a man to have this many orders and decorations, we are quite possibly looking at a member of royalty. Considering its relatively low rank versus the high number of awards, I think we could be looking at a young Prinz or Graf. My theory is based on the supposition that a lowly Hauptmann assigned to the General Staff would NOT have a tunic that housed so many orders and decorations.
The interior of the tunic is finished in fine gray silk. It has only one interior pocket. A decorative tailor's tag appears on the interior below the collar.  It reads  "Gustav Gfrörer, K. u. K Hoflieferant Stuttgart."  The term Hoflieferant indicates a purveyor to royalty, which in this case means Württemberg's König William II (1848-1921). It also further enforces our supposition that the tunic's owner was a royal or a nobleman. We have outfitted this tunic and the one below with a ribbon bar and a number of special  awards to illustrate the sort of decorations that might have been worn by the Württemberg gentleman who owned both uniforms.  [PLEASE NOTE: These decorations are NOT INCLUDED with either tunic!!!  We DO have them available for purchase if you are interested.  We also want to emphasize that the tunics' owner probably WAS awarded a Württemberg Offiziers Steckkreuz Wilhelmskreuz mit Krone und Schwerten like the one we are offering today on JUST IN FROM GERMANY (click here to see)].
The tunic’s condition is excellent both inside and out. I can detect NO moth damage. The tunic has been well preserved for the last nearly one-hundred-years. It is a superb tunic for any collection, especially if coupled with its "mate," listed above.
$6,995.00

 

 

 

 

 

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06-241 AWARD DOCUMENT AND DECORATION - 1914 IRON CROSS 2nd CLASS - GERMAN NAVAL SEAMAN. German naval operations were based in two areas of Germany: the North Sea’s Wilhelmshaven and the Baltic Sea’s Kiel. [During WW I Kaiser Wilhelm II’s brother, Prinz Heinrich of Prussia, was a Großadmiral (the only Großadmiral to have tactical command at the front) based at Kiel. He was responsible for operations in the Baltic against the Russians. Kiel was always a secondary front, since Wilhelmshaven hosted Germany’s biggest, newest, and best ships as they faced the English fleet. This was particularly true in 1916 when the two fleets clashed at the Battle of Jutland (Skagerrak)].
Our offering today is a fine 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class and its urkunde (award document) for a man whose last name was Parschau. The first thing that appears on the document’s "award line" is the abbreviated word "Kan." (I am speculating here) which could be for Kanonier. It is followed by "Griffen," which could be his first name. His last name definitely is "Parschau." The document measures 6 ¼" x 8 ¼." It was prepared at Kiel on 24 March 1920. [I have seen 1914 Iron Crosses 2nd Class that were awarded as late as 1923 and 1924. This also occurred with 1st Class Iron Crosses, although less frequently. Obviously, it sometimes took time to sift through all the necessary reports and requests in order to issue the award]. The unit stamp in the lower left corner reads "Preussisches Marine Kommando Kiel." The document features two punched holes on its left side, which allowed the document to be filed away in a folder.
This pair makes a fascinating mini group.
$250.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15-699 XRH PRUSSIA - OFFICER - GENERALMAJOR - TUNIC. This is a consignment item. Today we are offering a Prussian Generalmajor’s tunic that is often called a "rock." [The rock is a shorter version of the überrock, a frock coat that generally extended to the knees. The latter was the dominant military tunic style throughout much of the 19th Century. The shorter rock began to gain favor as the 19th Century came to a close, and eventually replaced the überrock during the 20th Century’s first decade]. Our example is constructed of high-quality, dunkel-blau (dark-blue) wool. The traditional eight gold-toned buttons decorate the tunic’s front, along with red piping that accents the tunic’s collar, center edges, and cuffs. Silver bullion embroidered kragenspiegel adorn the tunic’s collar and serve as decorations on the sleeve’s cuffs, where they are accented by small gold-toned buttons. The tunic’s exterior is in very fine condition with no evidence of mothing.
The tunic is fitted with a Prussian Generalmajor’s shoulder boards that measure 2 ½" x 5," (they are a bit larger than later versions). Each alternates rows of gold and silver "Russian-style" bullion ropes. The boards are of the slip-on variety and display red underlays. Each shoulder board is secured by a gold-toned button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two sets of sewn-in loops appear on the tunic’s upper left breast. The horizontal upper set measures 1" between the loops and is intended to hold a ribbon bar. The vertical lower set measures 1 ½" from top to bottom and is suitable for displaying an Iron Cross 1st Class or possibly a Breast Star.
The tunic’s rear boasts red trim in the vent area, along with another six gold-toned buttons. The tunic’s interior is lined in luxurious black silk that is complete and in excellent condition. A small pocket appears on its left side, just large enough to hold a pocket notebook or small cigar/cigarette case.
It is a fine example of a pre-WW I Prussian General Officer’s tunic.
$3,995.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-461 PRUSSIA - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - SINGLE SHOULDER STRAP - PIONIER-BATTALION Nr 1. This is a single shoulder strap for Pionier-Battalion Fürst Radziwill (Ostreußisches) Nr 1. The oldest of all Prussian Pionier Battalions, it was raised in 1780. It was garrisoned in Königsberg I. Pr. and assigned to the I Armeekorps. The red shoulder strap features its unit number embroidered in yellow on the obverse. The strap measures 2 ½" x 5 ¾." It may have been for a great coat, as it is considerably larger than the type used on a tunic.
Some soiling appears on the obverse, while substantial mothing marks the dark-blue backing.
$85.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-462 PRUSSIA - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - SINGLE SHOULDER STRAP - PIONIER-BATTALION Nr 7. This is a single shoulder strap for an enlisted man/NCO from Pionier-Battalion Nr 7. The Prussian unit was raised in 1816. It was garrisoned in Köln (Cologne) where it was attached to the VII. Armeekorps. The red strap measures 2 ½" x 5 ½." The battalion number is embroidered in yellow on the obverse. Soiling is evident on both the obverse and reverse. Its backing is dark-blue and exhibits some scattered mothing. $95.00rhFeb17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-463 PRUSSIA - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - SINGLE SHOULDER STRAP - PIONIER-BATTALION Nr 8. This is a single shoulder strap for an enlisted man/NCO from Pionier-Battalion Nr 8, a Prussian unit that was raised in 1816 following the Napoleonic Wars’ end. It was garrisoned at Koblenz, and attached to the VIII. Armeekorps. The red shoulder strap measures 2" x 5 ¼." The battalion number is embroidered in yellow on the obverse. The unit’s name is also noted on the reverse. Soiling is evident on both the obverse and reverse. $95.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23-464 PRUSSIA - ENLISTED MAN/NCO - SINGLE SHOULDER STRAP - PIONIER-BATTALION Nr 11. This is a single shoulder strap for an enlisted man/NCO from Pionier-Battalion Nr 11, a Prussian unit formally known as Kurhessisches Pionier-Battalion Nr 11. It was garrisoned at Hann.-Münden (Hannoversch-Münden). It was founded in 1842 and assigned to the XI. Armeekorps. The red shoulder strap measures 2" x 4 ½." The battalion number is embroidered in yellow on the obverse. Soiling is evident on both the obverse and reverse. $95.00 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33-327 MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN FELDARTILLERIE OFFICER’S KUGELHELM. Today we are offering a very rare Mecklenburg-Schwerin Feldartillerie Regiment officer’s kugelhelm. Mecklenburg-Schwerin was a Grand Duchy that fielded two Infanterie Regiments, one Jäger-Battalion, two Kavallerie Regiments, and one Feldartillerie Regiment. The latter regiment was Großherzoglich Mecklenburgisches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 60. The regiment was founded in 1899 and garrisoned in the capital city of Mecklenburg, today a beautiful city located in former East Germany. The royal family’s castle still stands on an island within the city. [It remains one of my favorite cities/castles in Germany. I always enjoy going back for a visit].
The helmet’s leather body is in well above average condition. It sports a few blemishes, especially on the helmet’s left side. They are minor, however, with NO gouges or breaks. The leather body is very supple and makes a lovely presentation. All the fittings (furniture) are gilt-toned, with the exception of the wappen’s center. The wappen itself consists of a gold-toned sunburst. Mecklenburg-Schwerin’s silver crowned Coat-of-Arms is laid across the sunburst. The Coat-of-Arms’ silver center is beautifully frosted. It stands out to command one’s attention. The helmet’s chin scales are quite attractive. They are convex, as is correct for Feldartillerie kugelhelme. The exterior’s final detail is the presence of the correct officer’s State and Reich’s kokarden.
As beautiful as the exterior is, its interior is also noteworthy. It begins with a brown leather sweatband. It is full and complete but does exhibit some perspiration marks. This is where the helmet gets VERY interesting. The silk liner is white, which indicates that it belonged to a nobleman -- a Freiherr, at the very least. The silk liner also shows some honest age. While it is complete, with NO damage, it does show where the liner rested against the officer’s head. [This kugelhelm DEFINITELY was worn]. Looking under the liner, we note NO presence of double holes. We also see that all of the original hardware is in place. Penciled under the liner is the size, which I read as a 52 ½ (quite small).

 

It is a very beautiful and rare kugelhelm in prime condition.$6,995.00
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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20-342 XKR POCKET FLASK ATTRIBUTED TO KRONPRINZ WILHELM. This is a consignment item. This is a superb example of a pocket flask and is attributed to Kronprinz Wilhelm of Germany. Kronprinz Wilhelm (1882-1951) was Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) and Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria’s (1858-1921) eldest son, and the heir to the German Empire’s throne. He became, instead, the "Kaiser who never was." Kronprinz Wilhelm married Mecklenburg-Schwerin’s Duchess Cecilie (1886-1954) in 1905. As she was a beautiful woman, and the Kronprinz was an attractive man, the young pair was rivaled only by the younger Wilhelm’s parents as Imperial Germany’s most popular couple. Dozens of postcards were issued that featured them individually and together, many with their ever-growing family. [On a sad note, their eldest son, also a Wilhelm (1906-1940), was killed in France during WW II. His death caused the German military to pull all royals from front-line service. He had renounced his title when his Grandfather Wilhelm II tried to influence whom he could marry]. As were so many royals, young Kronprinz Wilhelm was trained for the military. In spite of the (presumed) circumspection such training might have encouraged, Kronprinz Wilhelm was a notorious womanizer. He and his wife eventually lived separate lives.
In August 1914 Kronprinz Wilhelm assumed command of the V. Armee, the principal army that eventually became involved in the Battle of Verdun. Both Germany and France committed about 1,250,000 troops to the battle, which officially ran from 21 February through 18 December 1916. French casualties ranged from 315,000 to 542,000 wounded, along with about 160,000 dead. German casualties ran from 281,000 to 434,000 wounded, with 143,000 battle deaths. [The carnage from this incredible ten-month bloodbath boggles the mind, particularly when multiplied by the hundreds of similar battles during WW I’s four grinding years]. Crown Prince Wilhelm eventually became commander of Army Group German Crown Prince in August 1916, but his service at the front took its toll. As the war progressed, Wilhelm became more vocal about the war’s senselessness. He served with the army through the war’s end in a reduced capacity. At the war’s end, Kronprinz Wilhelm signed letters of abdication along with his father. Both men then went into exile in the Netherlands. While the Kronprinz returned to Germany in 1923, his Father remained in the Netherlands until his 1941 death. Although the Kronprinz was hopeful that the monarchy might resume, he eventually realized that his dream would not come to pass. He withdrew to private life in the late 1930's, living out his days to die quietly in 1951.
Today we are offering a rather unique pocket/hip flask attributed to the Kronprinz. Although Kaiser Wilhelm II was known for his generosity in giving out personal gifts, those from the Kronprinz were not as common. My personal theory is that this flask was NOT a gift, but one used personally by the Kronprinz. His gifts to others tended to be more modest than those given out by Wilhelm II. [Although we do offer one of the young Kronprinz’s more lavish gifts: a marvelous silver frame (see immediately below this entry)].

 

I would like to emphasize that Kronprinz Wilhelm’s personal ownership of the flask is JUST a theory. If it was not his personal possession, it was a magnificent gift to a very favored man. It definitely was a man’s gift as it is quite large and impressive. The flask certainly was NOT dainty enough to have been used by a lady. It measures 6 ¼" in length and 4 ½" in width. Its back is slightly curved, so it could snuggle up against the owner’s hip. A further indication of its size shows that it holds 12 ounces of liquid. It would have been perfect for storing either brandy or schnapps, both of which were equally prized by Imperial German males.
Its obverse features the Kronprinz’s large (a substantial 1 ¼" x 2 ¼") royal cypher in its center beneath a Hohenzollern Crown. The cypher itself is made of high-quality cobalt-blue enamel overlaying an intricate silver scrollwork design accented by several stylized leaves.  The flask’s reverse sports an unadorned, mirrored surface.
A unique flip-off stopper at the flask’s top swings away to allow one access to its contents. A series of hallmarks appears under the swing away stopper. The crown and half moon
(mandated in 1885 by Kaiser Wilhelm I for silver content) appears on one panel, along with a boxed .800. Another box to the .800's right features a castle, followed by "R 9795" and "22" on that same panel. Another panel features an additional "22."
This is a surprisingly well made, high-quality flask that might have belonged to Kronprinz Wilhelm.
$1,795.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13-1023 XRH GROßADMIRAL’S SHIP’S FLAG WITH STORAGE BAG. This is a consignment item. The Kaiserliche Marine (and its improvement) was a project close to the hearts of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Imperial German Navy’s Secretary of State, Alfred von Tirpitz. As Queen Victoria of England’s eldest grandson (Wilhelm’s mother was Victoria’s eldest daughter), Wilhelm spent a good part of his childhood visiting England and hobnobbing with his many royal British relations. His regard for his grandmother’s naval forces eventually became a passion for Germany to equal and SURPASS his British cousin’s Royal Navy. Under Wilhelm II and von Tirpitz a massive build-up took place that saw the Kaiserliche Marine’s scope greatly advance. No matter how many ships Germany built, however, England continually raised the ante by producing more ships with much-improved designs. Germany had spent much of the 18th and 19th Centuries struggling to unite its many small states and kingdoms, and fending off incursions from the likes of Napoleon, which left it little time to pursue foreign colonial expansion. By the time Germany finally consolidated into an empire, only a few small areas were available for colonization. Also, Chancellor von Bismarck had disdained colonial expansion, and had seen little need for a larger navy, which was one of the many reasons that von Bismarck found himself retired shortly after Wilhelm II ascended the Imperial throne!
Once he came into power, Wilhelm II wasted no time in expanding his beloved navy. Until 1901, the Kaiserliche Marine’s highest rank had been that of an Admiral, which was equivalent to a General der Infanterie. [The German Navy’s only three "Flag Ranks" were Konteradmiral, Vizeadmiral, and Admiral]. This meant the Navy had no rank equivalent to the Army’s Generaloberst or Generalfeldmarschall. Wilhelm changed the situation in 1901 by establishing the rank of Großadmiral and, unsurprisingly, naming himself the
rank’s first recipient. From that time until the German Empire’s demise, a total of six men achieved the rank, (listed below).

 

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 w/o Patent, and thus not authorized to wear a Großadmiral’s crossed batons.
Instead, his shoulder boards and/or epaulettes displayed four pips].
31 May 1918 - Henning von Holtzendorff (1853–1919)

 

Our offering today is an ultra rare Großadmiral’s flag. [PLEASE NOTE: in the Kaiserliche Marine, an Admiral of any rank was considered a "Flag" officer. Thus he was permitted to fly "his" flag from any ship that he was stationed aboard or visiting. This was especially true when a Großadmiral visited a ship]. The flag is amazingly beautiful to look at. My imagination immediately whisks me to when it flew from a battleship hosting one of the Großadmirale (a rather infrequent occasion). The massive flag measures 87" x 89" (220cm x 225cm) and is made with two different types and weights of cotton. The flag’s bulk consists of very gauzy, lightweight cotton, which was necessary for such a large flag. When held up to the light, it appears almost opaque. The areas featuring the German cross sport a far heavier cotton to protect the overall design and promote an inherent sense of strength.
The flag’s center features the pair of crossed batons emblematic of a Großadmiral’s office and rank. [To view similar crossed batons, you can look at those on Kaiser Wilhelm II’s single shoulder board (click here to see) or those on Großadmiral Hans von Koester epaulettes (click here to see) Both are currently for sale]. A Großadmiral’s batons, whether on his shoulder boards/epaulettes or on the actual baton he carried, were totally different from those for a Generalfeldmarschall (and far more beautiful, in my opinion). At any rate, the flag’s batons are very large and beautifully detailed. They give the flag some vivid pops of color, including metallic gold, blue, and red. The metallic paint was applied by hand. The flag’s artwork is amazing. The time and effort that went into creating this breathtaking flag had to have been considerable.
Many different sections of the flag do display stains. I do not know what caused them, but they appear across the flag. The flag shows MINIMAL mothing. NO markings whatsoever are present on the flag’s bunting. Two attachments for the lanyards necessary for when the flag was flown are present. Its storage bag is made from lightweight canvas and measures 11 ½" x 42." The bag is dingy with age and has several holes and rust stains at its base. The base is held together by a metal clip in its center.

 

The flag is in surprisingly good condition, considering its age, size and the materials from which it was constructed. The consignor tells us that the auction house from which he purchased the flag stated that it had belonged to Großadmiral von Holtzendorff.  No provenance other than this information is available, however. It remains an amazing historical artifact.
$7,995.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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09-1012 XRV FOUR STARS OF THE GRAND CROSS OF THE IRON CROSS. These are consignment pieces. Today we are offering four 1914 Stars of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross. They are all similar and hallmarked for Godet. [PLEASE NOTE: they are high-quality REPRODUCTIONS]! All four come from the same collector. We are listing each here so that you can choose the one that suits you best. One even hails from the Nazi period, and boasts a swastika. The only real difference among the other three is each one’s patina. All are of a much-higher quality than some of the cheap reproductions one sees on e-Bay. [Only one original Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross ever existed, which was awarded to Generalfeldmarschall Paul von Hindenburg and now resides in a museum]. One of these will make a fine substitute to add to your collection. $225.00 each ONLY TWO LEFT!!!

 

Nr1-1870                                                                                   Nr4-1914

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 stick pins, and the box’s maker has affixed them to its lid. In addition to this fillip, a surprise is present underneath the PLM. If one swings it out a bit (it won’t move much), one discovers ANOTHER engraved PLM beneath it! [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. In concealing his original design, the jeweler center-mounted the PLM in such a manner that it could rotate-out some thirty-odd degrees and reveal his exquisite original engraving, which we can still appreciate today]!
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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How to Order from Der Rittmeister Militaria

A Brief Intro
to Der Rittmeister Militaria
 
Information about Late Great Author & Painter Jack D. Hunter