BACKGROUND: The German Customs Service can be traced back to 1834 when a Customs Union was formed to allow the separate German States to trade amongst themselves without trade and tariff taxes, while still imposing import trade taxes on other European nations. With the unification of the German States into a single nation in 1871 the Customs Service became a national paramilitary organization, under control of the Reichsfinanzministerium, (National Finance Ministry), in Berlin. The national Customs Service was still responsible for imposing and collecting import trade taxes but was also tasked with border defence duties. In 1936 the Customs Service was reorganized and given further policing responsibilities including the apprehension of individuals attempting to escape from the NSDAP’s, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, (National Socialist German Worker’s Party), yoke. The German Customs service was divided into two separate branches with one branch consisting of the Landzollbeamte, (Land Customs Officials), which was subdivided into the Zollgrenzschutz, (Land Customs Border Guards), and the Wasserzollbeamte, (Water Customs Officials), and the second branch consisting of the remaining Zollbeamte, (Customs Officials). On June 17TH 1936, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler was appointed to the newly created position of Chef der Deutschen Polizei im Reichsministerium des Innern, (Chief of the German Police in the National Ministry of the Interior), effectively giving him full control of all police agencies within Germany including the Customs service. On February 17TH 1939 Adolf Hitler instituted the Customs/Border Security long service decoration for award to loyal Customs/Border security personnel for loyal or meritorious service. The award was rendered in only one class and was awarded to Customs/Border security Officials for four years service and to civilian Customs/Border employees for eight years service.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Die struck, tombac/brass alloy construction award with a bronze wash is in the form of a Pattée style cross with a circular centerpiece. The obverse centerpiece features an embossed, opened top, circular acanthus leaf wreath encompassing a national eagle with out-stretched wings, clutching a wreathed, canted, swastika on a slightly pebbled background field. The eagle’s wings extended beyond the oak-leaf wreath onto the horizontal arms of the cross. The reverse of the award has embossed Latin script to the center, "Für treue Dienst im Zollgrenzschutz", (For Loyal Service in the Customs/Border Security), also encompassed by an opened top, circular acanthus leaf wreath on a slightly pebbled background field. The arms of the cross have a slightly pebbled background field with a smooth, raised, outer border edging. Paul Meybauer L13 marked to the bottom. Unique Meybauer ribbon attachment ring and original ribbon.

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $395.00

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