German Cross in Gold and the „Dotted“ Story

Hi Guys,

A while ago I read an article about  German Crosses in Gold and their different makers. Interesting information about the Juncker, Godet, C.F. Zimmermann and so on.

German Cross in Gold Zimmermann light full view

Later that day I found a posting / a discussion in a Forum which German Cross in Gold is the best to collect or the best to put in your own collection.

Some collectors say that the rarest is the best German Cross in Gold to keep, other say that the condition is deciding for keeping or buying a cross.  Some refer to the story behind it (yes I know….never buy the story just the badge ;-)) but in this case the story behind it stands for the whole grouping or the estate.

I can remember a time where I bought a huge Uboat grouping form a family here in Germany. The Kriegsmarine Soldier was from 1939 until 1945 on Uboats as a mechanic and served the whole war on these steel tubes.

Zimmermann left /Juncker right – cased

Finally he was on a Monsun UBoat and went all the way to Japan. In 1945 he earned the German cross in Gold.

As the war ends he stayed in japan until 1947 and came back to Germany…..He went a long way on Uboats and as you all know, a lot of german Uboat men died during war time but he survived it. That’s the story behind my German Cross in Gold and I put the whole grouping in my collection. That Cross was made by Junker, it was cased and in good (but worn) condition

About two years later I put my hands on a German Cross in Gold made by Zimmermann (a light one) in the best condition I have ever seen. It came along with the case, also in very nice condition.

Zimmermann left /Juncker right – cased II

I went to the bank and opened my bank deposit, took my Juncker cross out and went home. I put the side by side and thought about them.

Should I keep the unworn minty Zimmermann or the worn Juncker……keep them both and sell some other stuff.…….

Finally I made my decision and I kept the Juncker. I had a name to it, I had a face to it and (yes I know….) I had the story to the cross.

Another thing which made my decision easy was the fact that you see ten Zimmermann a year and only one Juncker. So not always that hard to get a Zimmermann cross in a decent condition.

But let`s stay with the Zimmermann. As you all know there is the number “20” for the Zimmermann company on the needle (inside) of the cross. Easy to identify but there is a problem. Have you ever heard of the „dotted“ German Cross in Gold from Zimmermann?

It is not a secret but there might be somebody out there who didn`t know. So let bring some light in this dark area.

The “dotted” Zimmermann was a long time described and handled as a fake cross. It took a long time to proof that they are original „pre“ war time made.

But fact is, that you have three things to look for to identify these “dotted” crosses.

The first thing is the Number 20 ( Präsidialkanzleinumber “20”) on the inside of the crosses needle. If the 20 is in full shape and on a straight line, that is a normal Zimmermann. If the upper area of the number 2 is cut off and the whole number 20 is not in a horizontal line, you have the indication of a “dotted”. At least it looks like a false or incorrect marking.

The second thing is the number “1941” on the outer golden wreath. On a normal Zimmermann cross the number is on a normal metal underground. On a dotted German cross the date numerals are filled with little holes, which means that there are little dots inside the numbers.

Last thing is the production mistake on the 11 O´clock area of the wreath. The first „dotted“ which were examined didn`t have the „flaw“ but now some Crosses were found with the „Zimmermann Flaw“.  If you see that, the cross should be a good cross.

Mr. Dietrich März is on this subject and he searched for more evidence on the dotted mystery. I think if he finds out something new, we will know it soon.

 

Under the line it comes down to facts and evidence. If you have a normal Zimmermann or a „dotted“ one, don`t get nervous. Just read about the facts and keep the dotted in you collection.

Finally and as always, you have to know certain things in our hobby, so you don´t lose money or pay twice.

Best

Sascha

 

Combat Damaged Badges of World War II

Well Friends,

today I want to go back a little bit in time. I think it is about two years ago when a family contacted me and offered a little estate of a World War II soldier. Not a real big grouping with paperwork and pictures, just two badges and a story behind it. I told them to send me pictures and I will tell them how much I can pay.

A few days later the pictures of the badges came via Email on my computer. I opened them and saw that the badges were damaged. Ok, we see that more often as collectors that a catch is missing or the hinge is broken off. But in this case the damage severe, looked like bullets went straight trough the badges.

If you see that on the screen you come to a “full stop” and you start thinking about your hobby. A hobby where you collect badges from brave soldiers who fired their weapons to win the battle and…..to kill or to wound soldiers from the other side.

Some of you might know it that I am a soldier on active duty, so I think always different when it comes down to battle or war. In 25 years of service I went 5 times in war areas to do what I have to do. Mostly in special units with special orders….that way you see things you don’t want to see.

Anyway, that´s the job and I am still here.

Iron Cross 1st class battle damaged A

There must be a story behind that two badges, so I started digging for more information. I wrote an Email to the family and asked them about the fate of the soldier.

LC Black Battle Damaged A

All they knew was that he served in the Germany army on the eastern Front, was heavily wounded but survived the war.

 

We all know where a wounded badge and an Iron cross 1st class is placed on the uniform, with the damage on that badges I would say that these were bullets of a machine gun. However he survived this wounds is not comprehensibly. Maybe he had a book in his breast pocket or his ID Tag somewhere in between. Or he was in a special move or jumped when he was hit…….

 

Here you see another strong hit, this time  on a Knights Cross

Orig Knight Cross Battle Damaged

About three weeks ago a Kriegsmarine grouping was offered with a dog tag of the soldier who got a lung shot through his Erkennungsmarke / ID Tag. In the email the seller wrote that the brave navy soldiers survived that too. Sadly I didn´t get the tag and the paperwork to study the story.

By scanning the net and also the Wehrmacht Award Forum I found some more battle damaged badges and what happened on the battlefield.

Some damages are made by bullets and some made by splinters. Also these little bastards can do a lot of damage. Back in 1999 I was on a busting course with some german navy seals. Just a basic course for blowing up everything we found. After a week of training we had to blow up a part of an old American tank. For cover we had to climb in a troop carrier about 500 meters away from the explosive area. Sitting in the tank and waiting for the bang, you think for yourself: I am 500 meters away, good spot….. no danger. But after we pulled the trigger a lot of metal splinters flew around like hell and also hit our cover tank with such a high energy…..deadly velocity.

So it dosen`t mater if it is a bullet or an explosive splinter, always enough to hit you hard and wound or kill you.

Soldbuch + ID Tag Battle Damaged

Some time ago there was a Soldbuch and an ID Tag on display in the WAF where a bullet or a splinter went straight through the book and some tiny metal things hit the ID Tag. Here you see some pictures of it.

 

 

Another interesting part is, why the soldiers kept their damage badges? Nice souvenirs from the war or maybe to tell their family “how close it was”?

On day I saw a TV report about army medics in Bagdad during the Iraq war. All wounded soldiers who came in that hospital with several injuries told the doctors :”Whatever you take out of my body, put it in a plastic pot and let me take it home!”

Knights Cross Hans Klärmann, Hauptmann A

The next badge we have here is a Knights Cross L/12 from the WAF User ErikN. The soldier, Hauptmann Hans Klärmann, was killed in action by wearing that cross………. He was awarded the Knights Cross as a Hauptmann and Führer II./PzGrenRgt 361 on 19.09.1942 and died on the Eastern Front / Poland on 06.09.1944.  Whatever went trough his Body had so much energy to damage his cross on the backside.

 

 

If this would not be an serious subject we handle here, the next badge would be considered a funny thing.

Wounded Badge in Black Battle Damaged 1

As you all know you get the wounded badge after you were hit by a bullet or by a splinter.  Here we have a soldier who was really “in the middle” and got another hit from whatever crossed his path. We will never know the story but that looks like a real big shrapnel which went through the edge of that badge.(Pictures came from WAF user Urza 1)

 

I can remember when I was hit by a “thing” after an explosion some time ago some where in the world. I had a protective vest on and a Kevlar helmet, I was kneeling down for cover. I was not in the direct line with the point where the explosion was, but somehow something went up in the air and came down balistic, hit me in the chest and pushes me back on my butt. For me as 190 cm tall and 108 Kg heavy guy you need some energy to push me somewhere……..

German Cross in Gold melted in Fire

The last badge I want to show you has really no story behind it. The German Cross in Gold (134) is melted from extreme heat. So maybe a battlefield pick up or it was in a house which burned down. Another collector told me that he had a similar German Cross which came out of a destroyed german tank in normandy…..We will never know it for sure.

 

Finally we have to look twice on badges and documents from the war, always behind all the heroism and bravery we have the other side of injury, pain and death. I won`t forget that and hopefully that blog entry let you think about it.

If you combat damaged badges in you collection feel free to send me pictures and stories for Part II of that subject.

You can always find all pictures here:

Best

Sascha

Kassel Show Autumn 2017

Hello Collector Friends,

After a week on the Kassel Military Show autumn (name in German is `Waffenbörse Kassel / WBK`) I have a lot to tell you. For those guys who missed it: You really missed something!

For those guys who have been there: Yeah….you were at the right time at the right place. Mr. Wolf Rüdiger Krey from the Company Expo Management Kiel who manages the whole Kassel Show gave me some numbers about Dealers and Visitors, so you get an idea how big it was.

About 282 Dealers on the show and 18245 Visitors !!

Mese Kassel all in 2017

For me a really good event where I met old friends and found new friends. But let’s start at the beginning. This year was my first year on the other side of the table! That means, I was there with the team of Trave Militaria and responsible for buying and selling military, public relations, networking, meetings, English speaking customers, building new connections and finally present the company in all areas. That’s the way you get in the fair hall early during that time where all dealers unpack their stuff and design their sales booth. We arrived on Wednesday at 11.00 O´clock and started unloading our transport car. It took us about two hours until our sales “corner” was build up the way we liked it. During that time you saw dealers with “dealer cards” around their neck and collectors with “dealer cards” around their neck!!!! Almost everyone was hunting for nice badges or high end estates for good prices. So that way some things were sold on Wednesday before the fair even started (start for all others is Thursday).

I had not that much time to go around and look for good stuff and old friends, but most people knew where I was and stopped by for a little military chat and we had interesting conversations.

Later that day I met Mr. Christian von Eicke from the company Militaria-Berlin and Mr. Frank Scholz from Militaria-Scholz. Sadly they had no sales booth on that fair but enough time for an exchange of the latest news, information about the hottest badges and best deals of the day. Really good guys and they know “who is who in the Zoo!”

Finally I met old collector comrades like Thomas K., Gerd S., Marco S., Frank H. face to face which was almost time. Sure we write via Email more than once, but that way on the show in Kassel is much better.

Also I met some guys from around Europe and Russia….First time eye to eye after we made good deals the last years. There where Hubert from Poland, Ivan from Russia and Stefano from Italy. Felt good to finally shake hands, always a good fundament for further business. After a long day we hit the Hotel Bar for a few Beer as a little reward.

On Thursday I went over the fair to see some of the German Dealers and Owners of some Auction Houses. I talked to them about the development in the collector area and why the prices went up (or down).

Auktionshaus Andreas Thies Area

I met Mr. Andreas Thies for the company Auktionshaus Andreas Thies EK, who had a really nice sales booth build up with high class medals and badges and also a Generals tunic on display. Mr. Thies is a real old school gentleman who knows the game and it was a short but very interesting conversation.

 

Hermann Historica Area

Later on I went to Hermann Historica and met Mr. Sascha Zimmerman. Very friendly person who is also responsible for customers who sell and buy high class military objects from all over the world. Nice talking there and a professional for sure in his field. Here I found also high end weapons and military of different decades from all over the world.

That was enough for the first day when the fair was open for anybody. Lot of collectors in the hall, but also some pick pockets who stole about 50 wallets and two money boxes from dealers. That’s really bad and I hope the loss was not that high for the people who lost their wallet.

On Friday there were less people there and I had the chance to walk around again and see what the other dealers do. I talk to Andy, a military dealer from Austrian and his friend Mel who was from Belgium.

Running around I saw good things and bad things on the tables. Some estates extremely overpriced and also repaired or damaged badges in bad condition. I found copies which were offered as originals and really bad reproductions. Fantasy items and reenactor stuff……Lots of guns and rifles from all epochs and ammunition…so much you can start world war III.

Carsten Baldes Sales booth

Later on I went to see Mr. Carsten Baldes from Militaria Archiv Carsten Baldes e.K. With the principle less is more he had not so much but very nice badges and medals on Display. He told me that most of his new Military Items are sold fast and that way there is not so much left for a big sales booth in Kassel.  All medals and badges as always with a good sense of price finding. A real polite and pleasant dealer with a good reputation. Always a good place to buy from and to talk to.

 

Ratisbon Area

An hour later I stopped at the booth from Ratisbon to take a picture and check the “hardware”. Nice stuff which are in the online auctions and only for Kassel on display. They were really busy with customers and I decided to try it again later. Finally I had some things for the next ratisbon auction and then I had the opportunity to talk to Andreas and Michael. Nice guys, very friendly and they offered good conditions for the military items I brought. So looks to me like a professional Team with a good reputation and an inherent part of our military collector’s world.

Helmut Weitze 100 about a third of the whole sales area

We had our sales area from Trave-Militaria close to the company of Helmut Weitze, and I had the chance to talk to most of his employees who worked in special fields of Mr. Weitzes Company. I think I met Mr. Weitze about three times and we had good talks about military items and also about my active navy time and Mr. Weitzes navy time on destroyer’s years ago. Real hanseatic salesman and gentleman with a professional team and the biggest sales area in the fair hall of Kassel.

 

Well, know you want to know what I bought in Kassel…….not that much. Only an infantry assault badge, cut out, hollow in good condition and for my cuff title collection a Panzer Afrikakorps cuff title which is always hard to get.

Under the stroke we had 4 hard days of work, but when you love what you do it is not work….it is fun. After the fair hall closes on 18:00 we went to our Hotel close by and relaxed by good dinner and some long drinks….not too much long drinks because the next day is also a long day. And again collectors will need some advice and maybe a good hint not to buy this or better buy that.

Part of the Trave Militaria Team: left to right: Myself, Peggy, Dennis, Jonas, Christian

Thanks to Mr. Dennis Suitner as the Head from Trave Military for such a good time in Kassel and hopefully we will meet you all there in 2018.

 

Good hunting!

Best

Sascha