Brass Plaque from Panzer Abt GrossDeutsnchland
This brass octagonal plaque measures 9x7 inches and has upon it what appears to be copies of the signatures of members of the officer corp of Panzer Abt Grossdeutschland.They could be hand engraved copies.My grandfather and father engraved silver presentation trays with copies of actual signatures and this could be a similar custom .However could it be etched? The thing that puzzles me is the tank on one side and a rifle with bayonet on the other side.I have considered the history of this unit but am still puzzled.
Can any one provide any information?
Was it a common practice . Why brass and not silver? Could it be trench art in origin?
07-25-2015 01:19 AM
The badges shown are awards, the Panzer assault badge and Infantry assault badge.
This is professional made item and would have been done by a jeweller.
I would have expected it to be silver to be honest.
Better close up's are needed to determine originality. Also some research into the signatures.
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Thanks Ade as always for your prompt advice.I agree that such an item would be on a silver tray but in wartime could that be readily available?Brass was plentiful from used shell casings.
i examined the markings with a Jewelers loupe and the two Assault badges are i believe dye stamped items. As a primary school kid in the 1930's i watched my father make the dye stampings using a master brass engraved original.Then with a mechanical pantograph machine engraver the image would be transferred to to a soft iron block and engraved to order. A blacksmith would then heat the iron in a furnace to a certain color and then plunge the heated dye into a vat of cold water quenching and so hardening the iron instrument. This could then be used to mark metal objects.I do not see the marks of an engraved tool on the assault badges. I doubt that that could have been done in the field since it would require a complete factory setting.
You are correct that it would require a n hand engraving expert to make those signatures.as a very young boy in the 1930's i would take the silver trays to one on Birminghams [England}master engraver in the famous jewelry quarter and watch him apply apply the signatures to the tray.
He would tap his scalp and transfer skin oil the tray and sprinkle very fine talcum powder to the area where the skin oil was and this is where my memory fails. i watched this process many many times since i acted as a runner from my father to this renowned master craftsman.He may have taken the signature from thick rice paper and indelibibly transferred the signature to the talcum powder and then engrave with a hand graver tool. Or like a skilled forger he hand copied the texture and facsimile of the signature.
Whatever method used for the signatures he was the top engraver for the Royal Family.
I am very sure that the "Officer Korps inscription is hand engraved as i can see the triangular indentation indicating the hand process. At age twelve i took lessons from him during W.W.2 but i lacked the artistic temperament to succeed.
The signatures are not so deep but i have to assume that they were hand engraved too.I have tried and failed to identify to whom the signatures belonged or the period when this was done.
My supposition is tha due to the exinguices of war that at some point they may have been issued in brass as silver was not readily available at the time of issuance and the "a master craftsman" finished the inscription.
My real question is this example of a military commemoration piece uncommon and if anyone can add to my supposition as to origin and make?
What could be the era.
At one point in my life i was given a presentation tray and insisted that the inscription be engraved by my old teacher 'Mr Biddle. He hand copied by eye the University coat of arms and did so perfectly.
This is sowewhat of a rambling response but i would like to find out precisely what i have before i part with it.
On further examining the plaque, i find that there is a neatly fitted black velvet type undercover applies when the item was finished as well as four small legs. This then is a tray perhaps presented to a fellow officer for reasons unknown.
Does anyone else own such an engraved tray like this? please let me know.
its very nice and I like it.
It's a nice-looking piece...
The close up image above this post shows a close up of the wreath surrounding the combat badges. These are raised edges meaning that it is not engraved. i wonder if these brass trays were commercially available with the stamped combat badges surrounded by free spaces. These areas could then be filled in with unit and comrade names either machine or hand engraved. i wish i could someone else who has such a tray/
Odd that they did not include the intertwined GD as used by the Gross Deutschland'ers. And interesting piece, nonetheless...I almost wonder if this platter does not or did not originally exist in Silver and this is a well-made copy of it? Perhaps it was once given to the Commander and these brass were made for reunion presentations after the war?
"Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."
Thank you Wagriff for your suggestion.I find it very plausible.i had an occasion as a young British officer stationed in postwar Germany to be invited as a guest to a reunion of former officers of one of the infantry Divisions that fought in Stalingrad.So few escaped and my host was captured in russia in 1945 and was one of the lucky officers to return to West germany in 1947.
There were about thirty or so well dressed german business men and while there was a quiet pride in their former military service there was no evidence of martialism other than standing respectfully when a former divisional general entered the room.
So a brass tray made post war bearing the combat badges of the infantry and panzer regiments makes sense to me as a commercial endeavor.Also the signatures of the survivors could added by a master hand engraver in post war Germany.i doubt that a replica silver tray would have had many takers since germany was still in financial recovery mode.But that is my speculation.
I do not know if this is true but to my surprise this thread is already on a google search list.
I am still very receptive to any other information.i hope to decipher the names engraved in the hope that someone, somewhere may have further information.