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Documents/Signatures help request area

Article about: Thanks for looking Mark.

  1. #1

    Default Documents/Signatures help request area

    Military, Civil, Political


    If you post a question regards an autographed photo or signed document, name on a clothing tag, unit abbreviation/composition, etc show the entire item. NOT JUST A CUT OUT SIGNATURE. A uniform tag, show the tag and uniform, doesn't have to be 42 photos but do need to know what the individual is purported to have owned. Watermark photos if you wish, for myself I won't reply if just a clip signature. It does me no good with how I determine who it should be. Once someone knows that, a signature is obvious if not initially legible. I'll ass two other threads allowing (from the military areas) collectors to "help themselves" regarding unit and other types of terminology.

    1) The majority of fakers and dealers can't read (i.e. zero history knowledge) and as a result often have wrong rank, unit, etc on their bad products, or badly "add to." I researched a nice SS uniform's owner that, to me, was butchered by a dealer adding a cufftitle to for a unit he never served in to boost cost.

    2) I read a multi-replied thread on another forum with experts trying to explain why an award document was fake; detailing paper composition, "lettering style," kind of ink stamp, etc. Scrolling through 15 posts I finally saw the item and far more simple (for me) to ascertain was the simple fact the individual never received the award and was never assigned to the unit shown. Never mentioned, they didn't know. That aside from the fact the division on the document never had a Kradschützen Bataillon (motorcycle battalion) that person was supposedly assigned to. Knowledge is power.

    3) Having generally exhausted desired examples, fakers have moved to lower level "invented recipients" or "invented personnel" (a name with wrong rank, unit, etc) with a signature. Knowing who it should be is generally enough to ID a faker. Likewise if a signature is on a document for an individual who was assigned to another unit 500 miles away at the time, let's save your money. Also see end of point 2

    4) BEFORE buying documents, signed photos, etc know who the signature should be or ask what it looks like. I've seen many who buy combat decoration documents with no clue who it is even supposed to be signing it. In my mind that's like looking for mines by covering your ears and stamping your feet as you walk.

    5) If you're going to spend hundreds (or more) for documents, spend under 100 on the numerous books available with data you can use on whatever unit, individual, etc. you have interest in. Dagger collectors buy books as does every other facet of collecting. But this area (signature related) seems the weakest with a higher percentage of buyers being separated from their hard earned dollars for junk. A "Certificate of Authenticity" from a general militaria dealer has exactly the same value as a sheet of toilet paper. Smiling dealers who talk well and pretend to be your buddy, fellow collector, "letting just you have it at a special price," are just a source of orally expended natural gas.

    6) Looking at all collecting areas where individuals do the same, I'd seriously suggest anyone interested in documents, signatures, etc specialize. Knowledge is power. Many years ago I met an individual, now a very close friend, who has always obtained with his brain instead of excitement. I've no doubt he has more signatures (photos or documents) of Waffen-SS Close Combat Clasp in Gold holders than anyone else. Initially he asked me questions on individuals until my brain leaked. A far more rare award than the Knight's Cross, etc. And few dealers have a remote clue who those men are, unit, so a lot were obtained "for a song." They signed documents as well as being award recipients in many cases.

    7) I must repeat a comment I posted about a uniform (with name tag) on another forum years ago. How long does a pair of your pants last if you wear them daily ? What makes you think a man crawled through 5 years combat in the same uniform only to have it survive in mint condition so you could pay $11,000 to own it ? Item I mention was worse than bad. Common sense combined with functional logic, any amount, is as valuable as anything else.

    Hope I can help some of you in some way, if nothing else we can have a chuckle knowing how little "famous dealers" know, Wikapedia is for the intellectually deficient and hopefully collectors will grasp that in this area.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Documents/Signatures help request area

    Many thanks Mark for preparing this guide and for passing onto the members and collectors your wealth of experience in this area , it is much appreciated,


    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  4. #3

    Default Re: Documents/Signatures help request area

    Thanks Mark, I can only endorse Paul's comments. Excellent work.


    Currently working on several KZ related projects, including items for the USHMM, Groß-Rosen Museum and various private concerns and studies. Available as a guide to KZ sites, contact for details.

    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  5. #4

    Default Re: Documents/Signatures help request area

    If nothing gets posted in my area of knowledge, not that I know-it-all, will post some things of general use. Having made a zillion posts on WAF I can certainly say that documents and signed photos have some of the most easily burned collectors and the knowledge needed is simply a brain. Unlike medals weighing so many grams, etc, I'd like to see someone NOT own a document where the "General" who signed it never was, or actually became one two years later.

    The easiest to fool are both ends: The Eicke, Dietrich, big Luft aces, followed by the opposite being the unknown but significant and historically interesting individuals people have never seen or heard of. Being (my term) a research/historian rather than a militaria collector, I'm willing to do what I can and have time to do simply to stop some of the "famous" dealers who knowingly rip off collectors (especially new and/or younger ones). Hopefully we can show the community here that having a fancy site, being all over the web, or on TV, does not make a person knowledgeable. As I wrote, knowledge is power.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Documents/Signatures help request area

    I'm now going to post a reasonably complete list dictionary of abbreviations and terms for deciphering various military, civil, and political documents as a separate thread.

    Mark C. Yerger

  7. #6

    Default Re: Documents/Signatures help request area

    This is very kind of you. Thank you!

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  8. #7

    Default Re: Documents/Signatures help request area

    A great idea and thread. Document help/guidance is something needed here, especially from you! I think the abbreviations/etc list is also going to help alot of people....

  9. #8

    Default Re: Documents/Signatures help request area

    Lesson why own books #1.

    At all command levels a commander had a deputy to take his place during absences for leave, wounds, or if KIA. Superficial sources listing officer "A" for lengthy periods fail to take into account there were not always there, a higher level of research. In signing awards related material who you expect to see sign someone is not always the case. A deputy was normally the senior ranked (by date of promotion) command individual below the commander. For division the senior (normally) artillery or infantry regimental commander. Artillerie Regiment the senior Abteilungskommandeur and so on. In signing a document the position of being a designated deputy/substitute can be seen 2 ways. With the abbreviation i.V. (in Vertretung) in the signature area, normally at higher levels but can be found in medium command positions. A second was was the command notation; the deputy of a Batterie Chef would notate his temporary position as Batterie Führer, indicating he was in command on a non-permanent formal bases. As before an Abteilungsführer was a substitute or temporary until given formal (permanent) command at which point he became Abteilungskommandeur. This results in a diverse number of signatures on material when superficial books indicate another individual. A Zugführer commanded a platoon, that lowest area having a Halbzugführer as his deputy and when he took command there was no title change: both signed as Zugführer with a Roman numeral indicating the Zug within a Kompanie.

    Although for higher awards, the examples that follow show such differences and would be the same for lower level awards. In the case of the Wound Badge, many can be found signed by the medical officer treating the person at his hospital location, normally the Chefsarzt (senior medical officer), and are rather difficult to track in the case of Waffen-SS.

    Top left: Kurt Meyer was the formally appointed division commander when he signed this Vorschlag for the German Cross in Gold
    Top right: German Cross and Roll of Honor Clasp holder Franz Pleiner was leading a Bataillon but not the formally appointed permanent Bataillonskommandeur when he signed this proposal for the German Cross in Gold. He therefore signed as Btl. Führer or Bataillonsführer, having previously led a Kompanie. He was the designated deputy commander of the Bataillonskommandeur. Regardless if a deputy/substitute the officer was in command with full authority, this being explained as to why one expects to see a certain person sign a document on a given date but is signed by someone else.

    The 2nd command substitute was potentially the IIa (adjutant) at Regiment, Bataillon, and Abteilung levels normally but occasionally the Ia (1.Generalstabsoffizier). In high combat engagements with resulting losses, a Kompanie Chef could find himself in command of a Bataillon. If the regimental commander was killed within the period a more experienced temporary commander was sought as in succession the next available would be that officer who only led a Kompanie until recently, the mentioned other source being used, and so on though the command levels. Also in high loss combat engagements, lower command personnel would be emergency sent to another Kompanie, Bataillon, or Abteilung to assume command due to losses and resulting in shifts of command within his original unit. Generally the Ia was used at Regiment levels with the O1 (1.Ordonnanzoffizier) or Ic (Intelligence officer) normally assuming the temporary Ia duties. I'm not the best at explaining things so any questions please ask.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #9

    Default Re: Documents/Signatures help request area

    Any help in identifying these 3 signatures would be appreciated. They all belong to the same group for a soldier in Pionier units. The first is a signature on a citation for the soldier while he served in 1./Pz.Pi.Lehr.Btl 130 in 1944/45, while the second image is from his Soldbuch and is for when he served with 1 & 2./Pi.Lehr.Btl 4 in 1943.
    All ranks are Hauptmann.
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  11. #10

    Default Re: Documents/Signatures help request area

    My Army material is inferior to what I have for SS.

    Panzerpionierlehrbataillon 130 was a component of the Panzer-Lehr-Division, but the listing I have for its Pionier Bataillon commanders stops with Walter Brandt (KC on July 18, 1944, as a Major commanding the unit). So his successor would have signed the award document shown as it's dated 1945.

    Sorry, only partial help I can give.

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