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Otto Skorzeny Grouping Sold At Auction

Article about: A wonderful, original grouping of Otto Skorzeny material was sold today at auction by Mohawk Arms. I first saw this grouping, which was sold by his daughter, in 1970 at a Ohio Valley Militar

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Otto Skorzeny Grouping Sold At Auction

    I've followed the thread on WA and here and am puzzled by the responses towards these items, both the positive and negative ones. Not one decent photo of any of the visor caps have been posted for instance so how any opinion from an impartial onlooker can be formed is beyond my understanding.
    A genuine item will speak for itself so why not post some decent shots and let it do so?
    I'd like nothing more than to see a visor claimed to be once owned by Skorzeny and feel comfortable myself that it looks to be genuine but until photos are forthcoming, it's only natural to be skepical. No offence to Bob, Greg or anyone else but I only trust one person's opinion and that's my own.


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  3. #22

    Default Re: Otto Skorzeny Grouping Sold At Auction

    Oh well, I'll join the fray. I have no say on the authenticity either way. I have been collecting for a few years and have a very long way to go in order to consider myself experienced enough to claim a set such as this as being good or bad. I would like to comment on the inter-site bickering however. I am a member of the WA site as well as here. It does seem to some extent more bantering occurs on the WA. There are great people there as well as here. Within every group of people there are some bad apples and it is unfair to be critical of the entire site thanks to a few retreads who ruin it for the good people. I really enjoy this site as well. So far everyone I have communicated with has been very generous and forthcoming with their knowledge. I hope this site really takes off and the bad apples will know to stay away. I don't know you Ade but you have a good thing going here. Many thanks.

  4. #23

    Default Re: Otto Skorzeny Grouping Sold At Auction

    Quote by BenVK View Post
    No offence to Bob, Greg or anyone else but I only trust one person's opinion and that's my own.
    Ben-
    No offense taken. Evidently, the original owner sold this collection to the Mohawk seller at some point. I never recall seeing the documents except for the Studentenbund letter. At some point, the original owner may have added other Skorzeny items to the grouping. Who knows? The caps as I recall were a size 63!
    The gray SS cap had been flattened out of shape. I do know in 1970, quality fake hats were still a thing of the future. What I find amazing is numerical data is being quoted like 80% of the hats with this mark are fake. Where is the back up for that statement? Taken at facevalue, that would still mean that 20% of the hats with the logo are genuine. I find this form of posturing to be "Voodoo Data."
    I know what I saw and studied nearly 40 years ago. I can only testify to my thoughts at the time and today. I have no oar in this boat so I really do not care.
    BOB

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

  5. #24

    Default Re: Otto Skorzeny Grouping Sold At Auction

    Gentlemen and gentlewomen can agree to disagree. For my money, if Bob Coleman says something is real, I shall snap to attention. In contrast, when some other figures elsewhere, who shall remain nameless here, make their airy assertions, I am prone either to yawn or to fall out of my chair in laughter.

    Ben VK is a gentleman and possessed of an analytic mind and a polite means of expression, which I esteem. We celebrate his presence with us and look forward to all he will teach us.

    The lousy atmosphere in most of these websites has driven away a lot of informed people and the chance to look at interesting, important material.

    Each of us has a choice in the manner we approach the debate and the material, as well as Bob observed, the way in which one treats knowledge and disagreement in a responsible way. Do contrast the websites of six or more years ago with today, and you will see the drop off of interesting, useful material and the rise of cliques and the once a quarter witch hunts and burnings of martyrs, whether it be about some silly badge, a black monkey jacket, or whatever. The regularity of the thing reminds me of a plague of locusts or the dog's bad breath.

    I know many advanced collectors who do not post on these sites, and we all lose in the process. You would be surprised to know who they are and chastened by the knowledge, of that I am sure. They are names known to you from the reference books and whose collections are the envy of the world.

    Bob Coleman has given far more to these sites than most others, and I pledge my allegiance to him.

    There is so much about this material that none of us knows or can ever know in several life times. There are huge questions, riddles, enigmas and whatnot that none of the self crowned heads can solve via their methods. As Bob says: Voodoo data.

    One can always be skeptical in a constructive way about the evidence of the past. Such is an appropriate posture. But what one sees elsewhere is not skepticism at all. It is something quite different, indeed, and it is pathetic.
    damit, basta.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Otto Skorzeny Grouping Sold At Auction

    Quote by Friedrich-Berthold View Post
    For my money, if Bob Coleman says something is real, I shall snap to attention.
    Absolutely, which is why not being able to see any decent photos is so frustrating in this case. A Skorzeny visor would be something rather special to see!

  7. #26

    Default Re: Otto Skorzeny Grouping Sold At Auction

    Quote by BenVK View Post
    Absolutely, which is why not being able to see any decent photos is so frustrating in this case. A Skorzeny visor would be something rather special to see!
    The fact is Ray Zyla is a gentleman of the old school such as myself. He goes back farther then me in the hobby and conducts his auction in basically the same manner he did 35 years ago. A time when it was far easier to spot the fakes and seperate the good from the bad. Unfortunately, unless the new owner comes forward, it is unlikely that any detailed shots of the caps will be forthcoming.
    As has been suggested by others on different venues, the lack of detailed pictures is on purpose. I will take the liberty to speak for Ray and say balderdash. In fact, even the leading auction houses in Europe usually furnish only a frontal shot of a cap and the insignia.
    This place Ade has created gives all of sound mind the opportunity to discuss an item with common courtesy and curiosity. We do not start from the position of "it's a fake and the seller is a scoundral" position that has doomed so many Forums. We do not quote anonymous sources who "know the truth." We deal with facts and at times, sound assumptions, which are discussed without egotistical malice. I guess there is nothing more for me to write on this subject except three cheers to all who have handled their thoughts and positions with much distinction.
    BOB

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

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Otto Skorzeny Grouping Sold At Auction

    I find this all extremely interesting.
    There seems to be quite a distinctive divide between collectors that have been in the game for 30 years or more and the relatively new ones with 10 years or less experience. The older generation have experience of dealing with nearly all the movers and shakers in the hobby at one time or another and quite naturally base a lot of assessments on whether they know the seller to be trustworthy or not. In the days before the internet, I'm certain that the benefit of meeting sellers face to face at gun shows and the like and actually handling the items was a huge advantage. Times have changed a lot however, most deals these days are done over the internet without ever meeting the seller or touching the goods. Personally, I prefer it that way, even given the greater risk. I've been ridiculed more than once by older collectors in person when I've politely refused to not buy a repro cap that they've insisted is real. Maybe that's the problem. An "old school" dealer in London that is actually a lovely guy and a good friend of mine is knowledgeable in a lot of areas but knows jack shit about caps although I'd never tell him that. I enjoy his company and when he recites lyrically about the latest SS visor that he's acquired which is actually a pretty obvious fake, I just smile and nod my head. The point I'm trying to make is that older doesn't necessarily mean wiser but us younger guys (for the most part) are still respectful but where do you draw the line and say no, actually you're mistaken about that? Also, to the younger guys, hearing that some guy is "old school" doesn't really mean anything to us because of the reasons I've outlined above but also because we've been brought up in a society that can't be trusted. Not our governments, media, banks, utility or transport company's, broadband providers, police, landlords, estate agents, garage mechanics etc etc the list goes on and on, they all lie on a daily basis. I'm afraid that's the truth of it so it's no wonder in my opinion that the new breed is more cynical, bullish and less ready to accept anything from anyone on pure faith.
    Having said that, even in this day and age, young guys like myself can still appreciate that the fact that we are just apprentices in this hobby and our duty is to pass on the knowledge of the likes of you Bob and especially you Freidrich to the next generation. I know it sounds soppy but this is the one of the main reasons I'm here. That and making a bit of money to eventually buy a house of my own!

  9. #28

    Default Re: Otto Skorzeny Grouping Sold At Auction

    Ben-
    I think your words are very true. When I started collecting in 1956 thru when I changed collecting fields in 1974, the following are what we collectors dealt with:
    1. An unending plethera of original material directly from vets.

    2. Reproductions that were very easy to detect.

    3. Lack of competition from other collectors except those who were
    local.
    Since the late 70's, we have experienced the following:
    1. Serious attempt to create new items that can be mistaken as period.

    2. A rise in collector interest, raising prices, which made #1 now profitable.

    3. The fall of Communist Eastern Europe providing not only a new supply
    of genuine material but also a source to craftsmen who could be
    employed at the fraction of Western craftsmen to make better fakes.

    4. The rise of the Internet which created an explosion in collecting
    interest.

    5. Reproduction of practically anything manufactured during the 3rd
    Reich era. My friend Bob Hritz used to say, "When man gets to the
    dark side of the moon, he will find a black wound badge and a US 5th
    Army patch." Today, black wound badges are reproduced.

    Thus it is a different world. The older collector for self protection needs to learn from the study of the serious new collector. This would included both learning and debating when experience tells them a theory is in error. In return, the newer collector needs also to learn from the fossil generation as our experience goes back to a lot of early vet buys and a time of little believable reproduction. These were the days when vets brought back their items and had not polluted their caches with fakes from a gun show or flea market. I certainly listen as my rentry in to the hobby was very expensive as I was introduced to the high end fakes. Today, healthy skepticism is a necessity. Bad information must be challenged or eventually, all that is real becomes suspect and the fakes become genuine.
    Lord, this went on a lot longer than I intended. I hope this has not bored our esteemed membership.
    BOB

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

  10. #29

    Default Re: Otto Skorzeny Grouping Sold At Auction

    Quote by BenVK View Post
    I find this all extremely interesting.
    There seems to be quite a distinctive divide between collectors that have been in the game for 30 years or more and the relatively new ones with 10 years or less experience. The older generation have experience of dealing with nearly all the movers and shakers in the hobby at one time or another and quite naturally base a lot of assessments on whether they know the seller to be trustworthy or not. In the days before the internet, I'm certain that the benefit of meeting sellers face to face at gun shows and the like and actually handling the items was a huge advantage. Times have changed a lot however, most deals these days are done over the internet without ever meeting the seller or touching the goods. Personally, I prefer it that way, even given the greater risk. I've been ridiculed more than once by older collectors in person when I've politely refused to not buy a repro cap that they've insisted is real. Maybe that's the problem. An "old school" dealer in London that is actually a lovely guy and a good friend of mine is knowledgeable in a lot of areas but knows jack shit about caps although I'd never tell him that. I enjoy his company and when he recites lyrically about the latest SS visor that he's acquired which is actually a pretty obvious fake, I just smile and nod my head. The point I'm trying to make is that older doesn't necessarily mean wiser but us younger guys (for the most part) are still respectful but where do you draw the line and say no, actually you're mistaken about that? Also, to the younger guys, hearing that some guy is "old school" doesn't really mean anything to us because of the reasons I've outlined above but also because we've been brought up in a society that can't be trusted. Not our governments, media, banks, utility or transport company's, broadband providers, police, landlords, estate agents, garage mechanics etc etc the list goes on and on, they all lie on a daily basis. I'm afraid that's the truth of it so it's no wonder in my opinion that the new breed is more cynical, bullish and less ready to accept anything from anyone on pure faith.
    Having said that, even in this day and age, young guys like myself can still appreciate that the fact that we are just apprentices in this hobby and our duty is to pass on the knowledge of the likes of you Bob and especially you Freidrich to the next generation. I know it sounds soppy but this is the one of the main reasons I'm here. That and making a bit of money to eventually buy a house of my own!

    All I can say is: DITTO!

  11. #30

    Default Re: Otto Skorzeny Grouping Sold At Auction

    Thanks to Bob Coleman for his excellent comments. If Mr. Ben VK thinks I know something worthy of handing down to someone else, then I would make this point: if you endeavor to know something of the origins, character and fate of these old pieces of head wear, then the objects themselves cannot tell you the secrets you seek beyond the most superficial level. If you, indeed, you seek to know all that these sources can indicate to you about the circumstances and conditions under which they were created and used, then you have to range far beyond the thing itself to a less tangible and visible world, the evidence of which is much more difficult to discern, even with the magic internet.

    That is, you must endeavor to know Germany in the first part of the 20th century as best you can where the evidence of same has become more and more diffuse and abstract than it was, say, for me when I first set foot there forty years ago. You must know about society, politics and culture and what existed in the hearts and minds of the people of this era; you must go there and see these places for yourself; you must do all within your limited power in the year 2008 to understand the mind, body and above all mentality of people who are very remote from us, because with so few exceptions they are all dead. I recall them in the 1960s and 1970s, more or less, at the end of middle age, still full of vim and vigor. I can even smell what it was like, especially since I have since spent a lot of time in central Europe which was a time warp of what much of life was like in Germany before 1945 in some ways. I spend a great deal of time in these places, mind you, without living there full time, and I am always struck by how close it all was in my early life time and how remote it is today.---especially in today's Germany, to say nothing of Michigan or Singapore or where ever collectors seek the truth via the internet.

    If you restrain yourself to the thing, itself, without reference to the world that made it, you won't know very much at all. Further, until you embrace how little you can ever know at all, you will intoxicate yourself with a false sense of certainty and para knowledge, which I find especially absurd on these other websites. Just this past couple of days I have been in a fruitful and interesting correspondence about some regalia with a world renowned dealer and a world renowned collector, where we have encountered riddles in enigmas that only show to us all how little we know about certain things. Surprises are everywhere, which is the delight of an engagement with the past and its remnants.

    Happy collecting.
    damit, basta.

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