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Did they make SS skulls from Silver?

Article about: by d'alquen "but I do not believe it means "pure."" I apologise, I bow to your superior German knowledge, my dictionary must be wrong. rein; echt; schier; bar {adj}: pure

  1. #11

    Default Re: Did they make SS skulls from Silver?

    Does dave delich have a website?...

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  3. #12

    Default Re: Did they make SS skulls from Silver?

    Quote by militarymania View Post
    Does dave delich have a website?...
    He has joined this site, but posts on the lord of the flies site, i.e. the Wehrmacht Awards one.

    He responded with an answer about the illustration from the Shutt book.

    I am not aware that he has his own website. What he has done is furnish his collection over the years so that it appears in all the leading reference works. He is also an exceptional gentleman, a man of great learning, and with a world known collection. Others cannot make such a claim.

    It was his article in 1969 on SS caps that threw open to me the endless perspective of RZM tags, i.e. the RZM tag picture that launched a thousand hats, as it were.
    damit, basta.

  4. #13

    Default Re: Did they make SS skulls from Silver?

    Quote by carlsson1982 View Post
    Iam however not telling that a silver skull didn't exists, it's of course very possible as a private purchase. I know that there's a ss eagle marked with 800 on the left wing, see the scan. But there's no further info about it yet.
    Read post #4 where FB quotes the existance of such material from period publications.
    BOB

    LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.

  5. #14

    Default Re: Did they make SS skulls from Silver?

    The issue of solid silver SS cap insignia is a long-standing source of debate among serious collectors (and many not-so-serious collectors).

    There are really two issues within this topic: 1) whether solid silver insignia were ever officially sanctioned by the RZM and produced by one or more of the large insignia manufacturing firms under government contract for distribution and sale through normal channels as optional purchase items and 2) whether solid silver insignia were produced independently by local jewelers or even small manufacturers as private purchase items.

    With regard to issue 1, there are period RZM documents/publications, such as price lists, which refer to “silver” SS cap insignia. However, most believe that this reference is to real silver plating on insignia, which were made of the same basic material as those receiving other finishes, rather than solid silver. I have seen very few pieces of solid silver SS cap insignia, which I felt were consistent with the quality seen on known originals produced by the German manufacturers in the standard early materials (tombak, CupAl, and aluminum). Though solid silver pieces would have been sold in far lesser numbers than these other materials, if they were an officially-produced style, I would still expect a fair number to have survived. Therefore, because no consistent examples have yet been shown of similar quality, I am among those who is reluctant to believe the reference in those documents is to solid silver, and, instead, I am more inclined to believe they are describing silver-finished pieces, which are known to be original and found in relative abundance. [I welcome F-B’s interpretation here]

    Issue 2 is a bit more tricky. The notion that some SS men would wish to have “special” insignia of better quality/materials privately produced for their personal use is reasonable. Certainly, Sepp Dietrich is known to have had special sleeve eagles and cuff titles privately made of non-regulation gold billion. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to speculate that some, perhaps many, high-ranking SS officers (or lower-ranking prima donnas) might have had solid silver cap insignia locally produced. While doing so would be technically illegal, if done on a very small scale, such a practice would likely be overlooked, particularly if it were being done for more senior (powerful/influential) SS leaders [what jeweler would refuse a request from an SS general, citing concerns about violating RZM restrictions, and what bureaucrat would try to have someone punished for accommodating such a request?].

    However, the problem here is establishing authenticity. Any locally-produced piece would almost certainly have been cast in a mold made from an original piece of standard insignia. That process would be the exact method used by a faker today or any time since the end of the war. In fact, Jim Toncar has described how this was being done as far back as the early 1960’s, when standard SS insignia were still quite inexpensive, but when “elite” pieces, such as those belonging to high-ranking officers and known TR personalities, were starting to command fairly high prices for their day. We also know that there was a thriving trade in war souvenirs by Germans selling/trading “Nazi” items to occupation forces as souvenirs, which started soon after the war ended. Once the remaining stocks of completed caps (and daggers and medals and...) were depleted, “Frankenstein” items put together from mismatched leftover parts and newly fabricated pieces were made. Some original manufacturers actually started producing items again using their original equipment not long after the war to satisfy the demand for souvenirs. Considering the insignia of the SS was of higher demand even then, due to its sinister image, it is not unreasonable to assume that an enterprising local jeweler/manufacturer would have cast some silver insignia then to complete caps or sell/barter by themselves to eager GI’s.

    So, the challenge becomes one of establishing provenance. Even a cap which has been in known hands since the 60’s could have been “enhanced” with bogus silver insignia before it was acquired. Hence, a 100%, iron-clad chain of custody tracing a piece of silver insignia back to its wartime ownership would be required by rightfully-skeptical collectors today before they would be willing to completely accept it as genuine. Any lingering doubt would prevent most from risking their money on it. As we have seen well-known fakes coming out of veterans’ estates or even being sold by vets themselves, there may be no way to establish wartime provenance to everyone’s satisfaction any longer. Perhaps there is hope that Dave Delich’s cap is the rare exception.

  6. #15

    Default Re: Did they make SS skulls from Silver?

    I own myself a RZM 52 skull in Neusilber. These Pic's make's the skull like very rough but it isn't It's a very nice skull. Those digital pic's aren't very reliable.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #16

    Default Re: Did they make SS skulls from Silver?

    One of the caps that I referred to in my post was personally purchased from a veteran. The cap was an oddity as it was a private purchase Pekuro other ranks cap. The tops was of officer grade doeskin wool. It had a velvet band. silver officer form chin cord buttons with a leather chin cord and a soft leather visor. I understand tht some of the younger collectors at times want to doubt anything that goes against their established concepts of how things should be. However, that can not trump having been present at the time the hobby was in it's infancy and fakes were few an poor in quality. I have also heard the rumor of 800 silver cap insignia being made in the 1960's. Being a very active collector at the time, I never heard of or saw such items being marketed.
    BOB

    LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.

  8. #17

    Default Re: Did they make SS skulls from Silver?

    Quote by BOB COLEMAN View Post
    I have also heard the rumor of 800 silver cap insignia being made in the 1960's. Being a very active collector at the time, I never heard of or saw such items being marketed.
    I would hardly call it a "rumor." Jim Toncar is no novice in this field and he seemed to be quite certain when he wrote this to you:

    "Bob Coleman; They where faking these silver fittings in the early 1960's I know for a fact two New York dealers ( send me a PM and I will give you there names ) that made batches of these 800 fine fittings. Just for your personal knowledge some of the best copies of SS hats where made from exsisting parts right after the war for GI's, that is why on some headgear they look right and yet certain parts cannot be explained . The explanation of why the RZM markings should not be there in this post is so logical that I do not see how anyone could find fault with it . I too saw hats in the early 1960's with these fittings " I definitely do not think they where real " but then I did....
    jim toncar"

  9. #18

    Default Re: Did they make SS skulls from Silver?

    Bwanek1,
    "there are period RZM documents/publications, such as price lists, which refer to “silver” SS cap insignia. However, most believe that this reference is to real silver plating on insignia"

    The badges are referred to, in the publications I have seen, as 'echt' silver, i.e. pure or genuine, I cannot see how this refers to plating. The price difference, 3 times the price of identical neusilber insignia, would also lead one to believe this refers to more than plating. However, interestingly I have only encountered the mention of the National emblem as being in silver, never the totenkopf badge.
    d'alquen

  10. #19

    Default Re: Did they make SS skulls from Silver?

    Quote by d'alquen View Post
    Bwanek1,
    "there are period RZM documents/publications, such as price lists, which refer to “silver” SS cap insignia. However, most believe that this reference is to real silver plating on insignia"

    The badges are referred to, in the publications I have seen, as 'echt' silver, i.e. pure or genuine, I cannot see how this refers to plating. The price difference, 3 times the price of identical neusilber insignia, would also lead one to believe this refers to more than plating.
    d'alquen
    Echt translates as "real" or, as you stated, "genuine," but I do not believe it means "pure."

    "Three times the price" may or may not be significant, depending upon the amount. $3000 vs. $1000 is significant. $3 vs. $1 is not. If we were talking about a modern item and someone said, "it costs two bucks more, because the plating is real silver," I wouldn't think twice about the relative percentage change in price.

  11. #20

    Default Re: Did they make SS skulls from Silver?

    "but I do not believe it means "pure.""

    I apologise, I bow to your superior German knowledge, my dictionary must be wrong.

    rein; echt; schier; bar {adj}: pure

    d'alquen

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