H012089 OFFICER'S DAGGER WITH PORTEPEE & HANGERS. (Heer Offizierdolch mit Portepee und Dolchgehänge)

BACKGROUND: Traditionally German army Officers had worn a saber as part of the uniform dress and this tradition was carried on through the Weimar Reichswehr, (National Defence Force, Circa 1919-1933), era and on into the Third Reich, (Circa 1933-1945), era. In an attempt to build morale and curry favour within the army, Hitler introduced the dress dagger for Officer’s ranks and Officials with equivalent Officer’s ranks/positions for optional wear with the walking out dress, and retained the saber for wear on more formal occasions. The dress dagger was designed by Berlin graphic artist Paul Casberg and was officially authorized for wear on May 4TH 1935 along with specifically styled, dagger hangers and a new pattern portepee. The edged weapon portepees were originally introduced in the Prussian army in 1808, and continued to be worn with the Dress uniform, as a tradition and identifying item through WWI, the Weimar era and on into the Third Reich, with minor modifications. Originally designed as a functional item to secure the blade sidearm to the holder’s wrist the portepee evolved into a purely decorative accessory. The Third Reich era Officer’s dagger portepee was introduced along with the Officer’s dagger on May 4TH 1935 and was intended for wear by all Officers and Senior NCO’s with permission to wear the dagger. Although the introduction of an ornamental dress dagger may seem insignificant, Hitler was quite shrewd and realized that such things could only strengthen cooperation of the armed forces, who had felt strongly disenchanted by the loss of the first world war and blamed the loss on the politicians as they felt they had not lost the war on the battlefield, but rather by political intrigue, (the stab in the back theory), behind the scenes. Adding to the armed forces disenchantment were the strict dictates forced on it by the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler well realized that he must restore the armed forces confidence in politics and politicians and as a result did everything within his power to mollify high ranking army personnel, the most powerful act being the promise to refute the articles of the Treaty of Versailles and restore the armed forces to their previous position of power, strength and authority, which he did with great success. Of Note: Officers, (and certain senior NCO ranks), were responsible for purchasing their own uniform items, including the dress dagger, and accoutrements, (hangers and portepees), and as a result were allotted a clothing allowance through the army’s Kleiderkasse, (Clothing Account), system. As a result the Officer’s dress daggers and accoutrements were only available at specially designated retailers and could be purchased, at additional cost, with additional enhancements including pure ivory grips, an assortment of ornamental, etched blade designs and more ornate, deluxe patterned, hangers. The uniform item allowances for Officer’s consisted of a singular pay out of roughly, 450.00 Reichsmarks, ($180.00USD), followed by a maintenance allowance of roughly 30.00RM, ($12.00USD), per month. The dagger hangers for Officer’s ranks from the rank of Leutnant up to and including Oberst were outfitted with silvered fittings while the hangers for Generals ranks of Generalmajor up to and including Generalfeldmarschall were outfitted with gilt fittings. Also Of Note: By 1943, with the German’s worsening war situation, the ornamental Officer’s dagger was no longer deemed to be a dress requirement and regulations of May 27TH 1943 discontinued production of the dress dagger and accoutrements, although they were still permitted for wear until regulations of September 5TH 1944 prohibited further usage. Finally regulations of December 23RD 1944 indicated that Officer’s ranks were to wear the much more practical, loaded pistol in place of the dress dagger and further wear of the dress dagger was officially discontinued although it was still worn on a limited basis.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The dagger features a roughly 25.5cm long, drop forged, steel construction, nickel/silver plated, stiletto style blade with a flat central ridge and a full length, including the hilt, of roughly 37 cm. The blade is in overall good condition with light scabbard runner marks. Maker marked to Höller. The logo consists of a dual lined, vertically oval cartouche with the manufacturer’s name and location, "F. W. Höller Solingen", encompassing a vertical thermometer. The original leather washer is still intact. The dagger has a cast alloy, nickel/silver plated, crossguard, ferrule and pommel all intact. The obverse crossguard features the embossed, army style national eagle with outstretched wings, clutching a wreathed, canted swastika in it’s talons and a plain reverse. The ferrule and pommel both feature embossed repeating oak-leaf patterns. The dagger has a molded, ivory, celluloid grip with diagonally angled ribbing. The dagger comes with its original, tooled, magnetic sheet metal construction, nickel/silver plated scabbard with a random pebbled pattern to both the obverse and reverse and smooth side panels. The dagger comes with its original well worn portepee, and deluxe dagger hangers.

GRADE ****                             PRICE $975.00 (Or Best Offer)

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