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Close Combat Clasp by Thomas M. Durante

Hi guys,
Hi Collector friends,

today I like to give you a first impression on a new book of my friend Tom Durante.

But let the Author find his own words to give you an inside view:

Thomas M. Durante:
I am happy to announce my new book on the Close Combat Clasp. This is the 2nd edition to the first printing more than 11 years ago. I have gotten a lot of requests over the years to do a 2nd printing and I took the opportunity to add in as many variants of the clasp I could put my hands on and am happy to say that this book will not disappoint!

It is a complete book on the Close Combat Clasp, including every individual clasp maker and all their variants. No unique die characteristic or reverse hardware setup change was too small; each has been categorized and examined in great detail along with an explanation of what sets that variant apart from other clasps.

I have also added several „Quick Reference Charts“ to all chapters for quick and easy identification of each maker and each clasp variant. This will be a big help in sorting out the many variations of AGMuK clasps, among others.

My first book was 309 pages, this 2nd edition is 464. It includes all the information from the first book, along with all the additional variants.

A large chapter on the Golden Presentation Close Combat Clasp is included, with several examples of each pattern being shown, along with their respective cases.

There are many nice groupings in the book, but also Award Documents have been broken out separately and given their own chapter which will make them easier to identify and search.

Cartons, packets and cellophane bags have also been shown in a separate chapter with all the variations found with each example, and what sets them apart from reproductions

And last but not least, a full chapter on all the most recent and dangerous fakes on the market. More than 11 years have passed since the first printing and unfortunately the fakes have gotten better and harder to detect so I feel a dedicated chapter on the best reproductions to date is an important aspect to any collector book.

Over 460 pages and 1,350 high quality, color images in 7″ x 9.5″ format.

The books are currently being printed and are scheduled to be done and shipped from the printer to me on January 18th.

Book price will be $159 + S&H. The first 100 will Limited Edition, serial numbered and signed by me, and I will offer those at $179 + S&H.

I am offering a 10% discount for any orders that come in before January 18th. And all contributors to the book will also get a 10% discount for their kind and generous assistance.

Please email me at if interested.

Thanks guys, I know you guys will be very happy with this book.

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Identification Book Cuff Titles. Volume 1: Kreta – Afrika – Kurland – Metz 1944

This book on the four cuff titles of the German Wehrmacht is a helpful hand for the collectors of battle badges and decorations to identify the desired piece as an original cuff title and finally to bring a nice addition to his own collection. In this work only the known cuff band types are presented, which have been classified on the original collector’s market as 100%. All pieces are shown in their details using large-format color photos. Some historical pictures of bearers and images of documents complete the representation.
Soft cover, DIN A4, 52 pages, 78 photos, german-english text

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Kassel Show Autumn 2018

Hello Collector friends,

after a busy weekend with the first auction of our new project „Auktionshaus Hanseart “and the whole week of the Kassel Show November 2018, it is time for me to bring my ship in calm waters.

But let’s start at the beginning. This year my schedule for the week 27th of November until 2nd of December was really packed. Not because of my hobby….more because of the political poker in Europe and the position of the armed forces. Anyway, somehow I managed it to get a few days of duty to attend the Kassel fair.

The whole Team around Dennis Suitner from Trave Militaria left on Tuesday morning for Kassel with all the stuff you need for a good Kassel Show (coffee and candy’s).

Trave Militaria Team

So they started to build up their sales corner at I-4 in the Hall number 1. Some dealers were already there and as usual there were some deals made and some nice groupings changed the owner.

They gave me a cell phone “Heads up” on Tuesday evening, so I knew what to expect on Wednesday morning.

It took me about a 5 hours’ drive to Kassel and I arrived at 11:00 o`clock on Wednesday at the parking lot.

Well, you can’t get inside without a dealer`s card, so Peggy came outside, brought me my card and I went inside.


On the way to our corner I met a few dealers and it was really great to see that so much people were happy to see me 😉 (or they were just afraid and tried to “smile” that away).

In our sales both I met Dennis (the Boss of Trave Militaria), Christian (first man for Medals and badges, Specialist for paperwork’s) Max (second man for Medals and badges, Specialist for Kriegsmarine Awards) and Peggy our sweetie who does the paperwork, tells us how to do things and takes care that we got enough calories to survive the day.



After checking all the stuff we have for sale I did some talking with the boys and shortly after a lot of customers attacked our tables.

In the afternoon a lot of collectors came to see me. I was so happy to meet some guys first time in person. You have to understand that, because of my old company emeredato, my work in different online forums and my blog, I have contact all over the world via email. But to meet somebody in Person is not an easy task because of the distance. A pleasure to meet Malcolm, Grzegorz and Jon first time and we had a really good talk about collecting medals.



On Wednesday were a lot of dealers and collectors in the area. Philippe de Bock (German Combat Awards) and Giel Van Wassenhove (Giels Militaria) stopped by for a chit chat, Christan von Eicke (Militaria Berlin) and Frank Scholz (Militaria Scholz) had some interesting new from the collector’s scene. Mr. Thomas Huss was also there and he had some nice Kriegsmarine awards on his table.

Mr. Helmut Weitze took some time and we talked about the German Navy (he is a former navy sailor) and we also talked about some development in the collector’s world. Collecting is always learning, so I changed some interesting facts about combat awards with Mr. Andreas Dorn from the Weitze Team.



It was about my time to sneak around the other dealer`s tables. Sadly I found a lot of high end fakes on different tables. I checked for Cholm Shields and Lorient Shields and what can I say….. 80% were fakes…..So I switched to cuff titles….at least 50 % were fakes. That was not good to see. But what scared me the most was another thing. I am not really in Uniforms, but a good friend of mine collects them for 25 years. He got only one good SS Tunic in all the years and only one Panzer Wrapper without any insignia….in 25 years running around fleamarkets, checking antic stores, advertising in the newspaper……And here on the fair I found 20 Panzer Wrappers and about 100 SS Tunics……no comment.



Finally I found nice badges from the Army and Navy, good and rare Luftwaffen badges in nice cases and some good Knights Crosses and German Crosses. Prices were high but almost everywhere was a chance to talk it down a little bit.

All the collectors who stopped by showed me their “prey” and some of them made a pretty good deal.

About 18:00 O´clock we headed to the Hotel for a nice dinner and later on some beer in the hotel bar.



Next morning, we were ready to take care of all the collectors who wanted the best medals and badges for the best prices. Again no much time for me to go around to see the other guys. But I got a few minutes and I met Andreas and Michael from Ratisbon and also the guys of Hermann Historica.

I checked the area of Mr. Carsten Baldes (Baldes Militaria) and found a lot of nice Luftwaffe Badges. Mr. Thies had his presentation corner with really nice WW1 and WW 2 items on display. I found myself more than once close to Helmut Weitze`s badges area to have a close look on ultra-rare badges, cuff titles and even Knight’s Cross Maps. Always good to see it live and that way you learn a little bit every day.



That day, collectors from all over the world stopped by and met me at our sales corner. From Italy, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Abu Dhabi, France, Austria, Denmark and so on. Short but good talks, kind words for my “blog work” and some guys brought nice stuff to look it over. Lot of guys from the MFF (special helmet collectors) and from other collecting areas.



My coffee break with Malcolm was very good, a collector with a passion…normally we need days to talk it all over but on the fair it’s not easy….but next time we meet at another place with more time 😉

Time flew by and later that day we headed back to our Hotel. Getting older you need more time to load your battery, so after some long drinks with Dennis, Christian, Max and Peggy I went to bed early.

For Friday we expected not so much collectors, but a big wave came towards us and we had a lot of work with buying and selling.



The Guys from the You Tube Channel “”, Alex and Ivan asked me if they can do an Interview with me. So they interviewed my about medals and badges and also some facts about the collector’s scene. I was a little bit nervous so if I said something wrong about the production time frame in which Otto Schickle produced medals and badges……forgive me that and let me live ;-). Maybe they changed it but if not……I let you know as soon as the interview is online.



Frankie, Gerd and Karl came to us with nice awards. Really funny with them and they wanted to hit the Hotel Bar with us that night. It was a sad thing for me that I had to go home that day. But that´s my job and if the navy calls, I got to go.

So I said goodbye to all the dealers and collector friends and drove home. Again 5 hours and Friday night around midnight I was home.



Bottom line: One of the best Kassel Fairs in years, good talks, good medals and badges, good information’s on the military scene and some good meetings with friends.


Hope to see you all in 2019







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New Project is ONLINE


Hello dear readers and collector friends,

this time it is nothing about research or new information about a badges or medals.

That post here today is only to show you, what we have done in the last month.

We took some money and rented a 300m2 big shop in the town Lübeck up in the norther part of Germany.

There we founded new auction house with a big hall for presence auctions. We hired some specialists for antiques and arts and put in our own knowledge for “high end” watches and expensive jewelry and also military items.

We started our new business on September 15, 2018 and now (after a lot of blood and sweat) we have our first auction going on.

Here you see pictures of some nice military Items we have in our first auction. All over we have about 500 items !!!!!

D-Day is the 24th of November 2018, but right know you can sneak in and check the highlights.

Here is the Link for the website:

And the special corner military:

I hope you like it and now you know why my “BLOG WORK” was not that good the last month.

If you have some questions about it, feel free to Email me or the website of HanseArt itself.

All the best






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Honor Roll Clasp of the Army and SS / Makers ?

Hi Gents,

winter time is coming and that is always the beginning of bringing your nose close to the books for research and reading interesting stuff about our hobby. I can tell you that the last three months were like a ride on I ship in stormy weather. Having a full time Job and besides starting a new business with my friend and partner Dennis is not so easy.

For those of you who are thinking about starting an Auction House with a real building where you can sit down and raise your hand to get something you are looking for, don’t do it……;-)

So much work and money to get it going…..incredible to tell you all the problems you can find on your way to the finish line. But if it works it will be somethings special.

From working on lights and electronics up to the right software for your frontend and backend is pure horror. Little things like getting somebody to work on you outside signs or get all the paperwork together in the local town hall making you crazy.

A really positive thing is that we found the best employee’s you can wish for. Finding people who love what they are doing is a pleasure to work with.

The workload and my duty time in the German Navy left not much time to study badges and write something about it on the BLOG.

About four weeks ago I wanted to do a special on the honor clasp of the army, but I did not find the time. Finally, I put the story of Feldwebels Theodor Kurpisz in the blog which was close to the topic honor roll clasps.

Enough wailing, let`s get it on.

I had the opportunity to look over the information what the WAF Member “Honor” brought together.

Honor Roll Clasp / Ehrenblattspange

I don’t want to steal it all, so I tried to get in touch with him. The idea was that he writes something about the Honor Roll Claps here on the blog. But no chance to get in contact with him. So all I put in here is 80% from HONOR, so all the credits to him and not to me. “Thanks buddy for the very good research on that topic”.

Also “Norm F” from Canada and “90th Light” from New Zealand did a good job putting even more information together. Also a big credit to them for the great work.

With that much of data and pictures I put it all together in a more “light” information blog on that topic. I don’t want to go THAT deep in it because my friend Brian Razkauskas works actually on a book about clasps.

So if you read this and you like what you see, do the next step and buy his book as soon as it is on the market. I will let you know asap.

Ok, let`s start with some historical background on the honor roll clasp itself:

The „Ehrenblatt der deutschen Heeres“, (Honor Roll of the German Army) was established in July 1941. These lists were created as a record of honor to register the names and heroic actions of personnel who performed extraordinary service in combat. Although considered a great honor to be registered on these lists there was no insignia awarded to the personnel as a visible sign that they were listed on the honor roll. This was remedied by the army on January 30th, 1944 by creation of the „Ehrenblatt-Spange des Heeres“, (Honor Roll Clasp of the Army). The clasp was designed to recognize heroic acts by those who already held the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd classes, but for which the German Cross in Gold or the Knight’s Cross would not be suitable. The Honor Roll Clasps were worn mounted on an Iron Cross 2nd class ribbon and worn inserted through the second top front closure button hole of the field-blouse and service tunic. It is estimated that the army awarded just over 4,500 clasp in total before war end.

For me as a medal and badges collector it is always the goal to get one from the army, one from the Luftwaffe and one from the Kriegsmarine (by the way the Kriegsmarine has not an Ehrenblattspange, there it was the Ehrentafelspange).



But to be honest I did not buy one in the last five years for my collection. Always when somebody offered a nice one, I passed it and spent my small collector money for other awards.

But looking closely to the honor Roll claps of the Army, you can see some different ways they were manufactured. That is good to know if somebody offers a nice one to you but you have no idea that this is a real one made by a different maker and you pass on it.

Using HONOR´s Information and some other sources we have actually FOUR different Honor Roll claps of the Army /SS.

  1. Two-piece Construction, massive Swastika molded to the outer circular oak-leaf wreath. Pins are round wire and sharp at the end. Arms of the swastika are granulated /grainy. Maker is the company Otto Klein, Hanau.
  2. Two-piece Construction, massive Swastika molded to the outer circular oak-leaf wreath. Pins are round wire and sharp at the end. Arms of the swastika are NOT granulated /grainy. Maker unknown. Possible Juncker made clasp.
  3. Hand cut out, one-piece construction, hollow swastika in a hollow circular oak leaf wreath. Pins are flat wire short and sharp at the end. You see that swastika is cut out by hand! Possible Juncker made Clasp.
  4. Trimming Stamp one-piece construction, hollow swastika in a hollow circular oak leaf wreath. Pins are flat wire long and not sharp at the end. Possible Juncker made Clasp

We go through the different models so you can actually see the differences in shape and also production details.

Let`s start with the most common Honor Roll Clasp Army / SS – to short it only HRC.

The maker is the company Otto Klein from Hanau, Germany. Always a two-piece construction which comes in a black case with a white inlet. The cross is massive and moldered to the wreath. Surface of the cross front side is flat and not “grainy”.

Picture 1 Two Piece Construction Maker Klein


The second one also a two-piece construction. Massive cross in a hollow wreath, round wire prongs and you can see the “hand work” on the cross itself. The surface of the cross is “grainy”. As far as I can say that one was made by Juncker and it comes in a blue case with blue inlet.

Picture 2 Two Piece Construction Possible Juncker


The third one is hollow made one piece HRC with short flat wire prongs on the backside. That one is a hand cut piece because you see the way the trimming tool was used to cut out the cross itself. Also possible Juncker made and found in a blue case with blue inlet.

Picture 3 One Piece Hand Cut Possible Juncker


The last one is also a hollow made one piece HRC with flat wire long prongs on the backside. That one was made with a trimming stamp and there are no signs of hand work for the finish.

Also possible Juncker made and found in a blue case with blue inlet

Picture 4 Trimming Stamp Possible Juncker


Here you can see the difference between trimming stamp and hand cut HRC, Zoom in for Details !

Picture 5 Left – Trimming stamp , Right Hand – Cut


Finally, the backside picture to get an idea of short and long prongs.

Picture 6 Hand Cut Short Prongs, Trimming Stamp Long Prongs


I think that might be deep enough to get an idea of the different models. Anything else like details on cases, packages and paperwork you will find in Brian’s book.

If you like what your read, give me a like on Facebook

Take care




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Copyright 2018 : Alle Rechte bei dem Verfasser Sascha Ulderup
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 Einer von 200 Unteroffizieren des Heeres mit der Ehrenblattspange


Hallo Sammlerfreunde,

auf der Suche nach seltenen Orden und Ehrenzeichen sowie schönen Nachlässen die man mal vorstellen könnte bin ich auf den Nachlass eines Sammlerfreundes gestoßen.

Ehrenblattspange ganz

Es geht hier um die Ehrenblattspange des Heeres welche nicht so häufig verliehen worden ist wie man denkt. Natürlich gibt es die Auszeichnung für die Luftwaffe und auch für die Kriegsmarine….wobei bei der Kriegsmarine ist es nicht die Ehrenblattspange sondern die Ehrentafelspange.

Hier habe ich mal ein paar Daten zur Spange zusammengesucht:

Für außergewöhnliche Tapferkeitstaten bei Kampfhandlungen, die für die Auszeichnung mit dem Ritterkreuz oder dem Deutschen Kreuz in Gold nicht ausreichten, wurden seit 1941 Soldaten in das Ehrenblatt des Heeres aufgenommen und im Heeresbericht veröffentlicht. Die hohe Auszeichnung zwischen Eisernem Kreuz 1. Klasse und Deutschem Kreuz in Gold war aber nicht für jedermann sichtbar und war sehr unbefriedigend für die ausgezeichneten Soldaten. Im Jahr 1943 wurde die Stiftung einer sichtbaren Auszeichnung angeregt und Vorschläge gesammelt. Am 30. Januar 1944 wurde dann die Ehrenblattspange des Heeres durch Verordnung Hitlers gestiftet. Neben der Ehrenurkunde und der Nennung im Ehrenblatt wurde jetzt die Ehrenblattspange ausgehändigt, die auf dem Band des Eisernen Kreuzes 2. Klasse angebracht wurde und im 2. Knopfloch getragen. Auf Ordensspangen war das Anbringen untersagt. Die Soldaten die vorher in das Ehrenblatt aufgenommen wurden erhielten die Spange nachträglich. Eine postume Verleihung der Spange oder Aushändigung an Hinterbliebene war nicht gewollt, wurde aber vereinzelt durchgeführt. Die Verleihungszahl wird mit ca. 4550 angegeben. Bekannte Hersteller waren Otto Klein aus Hanau und Juncker aus Berlin.



Hohl geprägtes, durchbrochenes Abzeichen aus vergoldetem Tombak. Auf der Rückseite 4 angelötete Splinte.


Der Rand wird aus einem dichtem Eichenlaubkranz gebildet. Dieser ist unten mit einer großen polierten Schleife gebunden. Links und rechts von der Schleife die Enden des Bandes mit 2 Spitzen.

Ehrenblattspange Rückseite

Im eingeschlossenen Feld angelötet das gerade stehende Hakenkreuz mit vertieften Zierlinien am Rand.


Hohl geprägt. Das Hakenkreuz massiv. Angelötet 4 runde vergoldete Splinte.

Fertigungen mit flachen Splinten sind auch bekannt.

Hier muss ich nochmal kurz auf die Bremse treten. Bei meinen Nachforschungen zu dem Thema bin ich über interessante Informationen zu den verschiedenen Varianten der Ehrenblattspange, den unterschiedlichen Fertigungsweisen und auch Etuis gestolpert.  Das ist doch mehr als ich dachte und deswegen werde ich das Thema nochmal gesondert behandeln. Ich würde mich freuen, wenn der eine oder andere Leser mir Bilder seiner Spange und des Etuis zur Verfügung stellen würde……..




Aber zurück zum Nachlass des Feldwebels Theodor Kurpisz vom Füsilier-Regiment 22.

Theodor Kurpisz wurde am 17.10.191(3) in Linen/Ruhr geboren. Vermutlich dann in Hamburg aufgewachsen, denn ein Zeitungsartikel einer Zeitung aus dem Hamburger Kreis 8 vom Dezember 1944 erwähnt, dass seine Angehörigen in Hamburg-Harburg wohnhaft sind.

1. Infanterie Sturmabzeichen silber

Kurpisz nimmt als Infanterist (10./I.R. 22) im Rahmen der 1. Infanterie-Division am Ostfeldzug teil und wird am 1.9.1941 als Gefreiter mit dem Infanterie-Sturmabzeichen in silber ausgezeichnet. Der abgeänderte Vordruck wurde von seinem damaligen Regimentskommandeur, Oberst Franz Scheidis unterschrieben. Scheidis erhielt für seine Erfolge bei den Kämpfen bei Leningrad und Wolchow am 31.12.1941 das 43. Eichenlaub, nachdem er bereits 1940 das Ritterkreuz erhalten hatte.

Nahezu zeitgleich erfolgte die Verleihung des EK 2. Die Urkunde wurde von Generalleutnant Philipp Kleffel, Divisionskommandeur der 1. ID unterzeichnet, der a, 17.02.1942 das Ritterkreuz bekam.

2. Eisernes Kreuz 2 Klasse

In den kommenden 7 Monate wurde Kurpisz vom Gefreiten zum Unteroffizier befördert und am 15. April 1942 mit dem EK 1 ausgezeichnet. Unterschrieben hat diese Urkunde Generalleutnant Werner Hühner, Divisionskommandeur der 61. ID. Warum dies so ist, kann ich nicht sagen.

3. Eisernes Kreuz 1 Klasse

Am 12.10.1944 schlug dann die Stunde von Uffz. Kurpisz. Bei Jusefoff konnte er mit nur wenigen Männern nach Ausfall des Zugführers eine kritische Situation u.a. im Nahkampf meistern, wurde dafür im Ehrenblatt des Deutschen Heeres genannt und erhielt die Ehrenblattspange.

Die Urkunde trägt die Faksimilunterschrift von A.H., dazu das Ehrenblatt vom 27.11.1944 mit dem Namen von Kurpisz. In dem bereits oben erwähnten Zeitungsartikel wird die Tat von Kurpisz, die zur Verleihung der Ehrenblattspange führte, ausführlich beschrieben.

4. Urkunde Ehrenblattspange

Wahrscheinlich erfolgte darauf die Beförderung zum Feldwebel, denn bei der Verleihung der Nakkampfspange in Bronze am 23.11.1944 ist Kurpiz bereits Feldwebel. Die Urkunde wurde von Oberst Karl Trautmann, dem Regimentskommandeur des Füsilier-Regiments 22 (Umbenennung von Infanterie-Regiment zum Füsilier-Regiment erfolgte am 12.11.1942) unterschrieben. Trautmann erhielt am 17.3.1945 das Ritterkreuz und fiel einen Monat später.

9. Nahkampfspange Bronze

Diese Gruppe des tapferen Feldwebels ist umso interessanter da wir wir ja mittlerweile wissen, ein niedriger Dienstgard wesentlich mehr zu leisten hatte um in den Genuß eines solchen Auszeichnung zu kommen.


Polen: September 1939 bis Mai 1940

Frankreich: Mai 1940 bis Juni 1941

Ostfront, Nordabschnitt: Juni 1941 bis Oktober 1943

Ostfront, Südabschnitt: Oktober 1943 bis April 1944

Ostfront, Zentralabschnitt: Mai bis August 1944

Ostpreußen: August 1944 bis Mai 1945

8. Zeitungsausschnitt 19.12.1944


Um die Einsatzgebiet zu beleuchten hier die Geschichte der 1. Infanterie Division und Einsatzschwerpunkte.

Die 1. Infanterie-Division (1. ID) wurde am 1. Oktober 1934 unter dem Decknamen Artillerieführer I in Königsberg/Ostpreußen aufgestellt. Sie trug diese Bezeichnung bis zum 15. Oktober 1935. Die Infanterie-Regimenter bildeten sich aus dem 1. (Preußischen) Infanterie-Regiment der 1. Division der Reichswehr. Die 1. ID wurde im August 1939 als Teil der 1. Aufstellungswelle mobilisiert.

Am Anfang des Russlandfeldzuges war die 1. ID der Heeresgruppe Nord unterstellt und kämpfte bis August 1941 bei Staraja Russa, an der Ischora bei Leningrad und der Bunkerlinie von Ropscha. Im Winter 1943/44 wurde sie zur Heeresgruppe Süd in der Ukraine abgegeben, wo sie in der Gegend um Winniza eingesetzt wurde. Als Teil der 1. Panzerarmee geriet sie hier in den Kessel von Kamenez-Podolski, wobei sie schwere Verluste erlitt. Nach einer Auffrischung kam sie ab Sommer 1944 bei der 3. Panzerarmee an der Nahtstelle der Heeresgruppen Mitte und Nord zum Einsatz.

Nachdem die Division Mitte Oktober 1944 nördlich Schirwindt über die Grenze auf Schloßberg zurückgedrängt worden war, verteidigte sie dort bis Mitte Januar 1945. Nach schweren Verlusten bei der anschließenden Verteidigung von Königsberg, der Samland-Halbinsel und Fischhausen-Pillau, wurden die Überlebenden der Division im Mai 1945 von Hela nach Dänemark evakuiert. Bei Kriegsende gerieten sie in Schleswig-Holstein in britische Kriegsgefangenschaft.

Soweit erstmal, die Varianten der Ehrentafelspange stelle ich nochmal gesondert vor.




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Schickle Knight`s Cross and some questions

Hi Gents, the days passing by and a lot of things happen in the world of collecting. Surfing through the different areas of WAF, GCA  and MFF I found very interesting items. Some are so interesting that I asked the collectors if I can use the material for the BLOG…..Sometimes I get an answer and sometimes not.

Well that’s the way it is. Interesting thing for me as, somebody who is actually not that deep in the field of Knight`s Crosses involved, are the pictures the user Ludwig posted on WAF showing his outstanding Otto Schickle Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross in a really rare LDO case. I asked him to bring it on “” and he gave me a thumbs up.

Schickle in LDO Case by Ludwig Typ 1 no marker

Looking at this nice set you will see that there is no marker on the cross but you have the LDO sign on the case. Ludwig made clear that an LDO cased has to have a marked Knight`s Cross inside to follow the regulations. Whatever brought the set together is a secret of the veteran who had this cross during the time of the war.

Schickle in LDO Case by Ludwig 4

While researching a little bit I found the interesting story that Otto Schickle from Pforzheim in Germany has indeed manufactured Knight`s Crosses but only a short time from May 1940 until July 1941. The first 5 month they produced without L/15 marker, after that they put the marker on the loop. Something happened but nobody knows what it was, but Schickle lost his rights to produce Knight`s Crosses anymore. So that way there are only few Knight`s Crosses made by Schickle on the market.

After more and more hours on that topic I learned that there are two different Schickle Knight`s Crosses around the collector`s world.

Let´s call them Type 1 and Type 2 for better understanding.

First we have to get into the history of the Knight`s Cross before we get into details of Schickle Crosses….

Schickle Type 1 A.jpg


On March 10th, 1813, Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm III established the Iron Cross as a temporary gallantry award for bestowal during times of war. Originally the Iron Cross was introduced in three grades with a Grand Cross intended for award to Senior Commanders for successfully leading troops in combat and the First and Second classes for award to all ranks for bravery or merit in action. The Iron Cross were reinstituted by King Wilhelm I on July 19TH 1870 for award during the Franco-Prussian War and again on August 5th, 1914, by King Wilhelm II for award during WWI. On September 1st, 1939 Hitler once more reinstituted the Iron Cross series of awards in the First, Second and Grand Cross Classes and established the new Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Hitler reserved the right to personally authorize bestowal of the Knight’s Cross and all ranks were eligible for the award. Originally the criteria for bestowal of the Knight’s Cross was outstanding personal bravery or decisive leadership in combat but this was later expanded to include personnel who had continually demonstrated exceptional acts of courage or an extremely high success rate on the battlefield.

Schickle Cross with maker L 15 Ludwig Collection

The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross was the most coveted award of the Third Reich period and those presented with it were elevated to the status of a national hero. In total it is estimated that roughly 7,360 Knight’s Crosses were awarded during WWII, a relatively small number when one considers the amount of troops fielded and the magnitude of the war. Due to the prestige of the award personnel who could afford it would opt to buy a jeweler’s copy for everyday wear with the actual award being put away for safe keeping. Of Note: The LDO, “Leistungsgemeinschaft der Deutschen Ordenshersteller”, (Administration of German Medal Manufacturers), began regulating the manufacture of German awards in March 1941 as a quality control agent for awards that were intended for retail sale and manufacturers were to use an assigned LDO, „L“, code on their products destined for retail sales. Awards that were to be bestowed by the government were also issued an official numerical government contract code known as a, “Lieferantnummer”, (Contractors Number), that was issued by the “Präsidialkanzlei des Führers”, (Presidential Council of the Führers), for formally approved manufacturers. The manufacturing firms that were licensed by both the “Präsidialkanzlei des Führers” and the LDO and would have used the same dies to stamp both the official issue and retail sales types of awards making them virtually indistinguishable from one another except for the markings. Regulations of November 1st, 1941 prohibited further manufacturing of the Knight’s Cross for retail sale. Of Note: On June 3rd 1940 a higher echelon of the Knight’s Cross was established with the introduction of the Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves and on July 15th 1941 an additional two higher grades of the Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves were introduced with the establishment of the Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves and Swords and the Knight’s Cross with Oak-Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Finally, on December 29th, 1944 Hitler established the final grade of the Knight’s Cross with the Golden Oak-Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Also of Note: The Grand Cross of the Knight’s Cross was only awarded once to Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring and the Knight’s Cross with Golden Oak-Leaves, Swords and Diamonds was also only awarded once to Oberstleutnant Hans-Ulrich Rudel.


Back to Otto Schickle from Pforzheim and what he manufactured that days. As a member of LDO (you have seen that above) his company got the LDO Number 15. So if you see something with L/15 it is made by Schickle and normally the value is higher than other badges without marker on the backside. But there are also Schickle made medals and badges out there without L/15 marker……

Let us jump in on the different types of Knight`s Crosses from Schickle and what the collector`s scene says about it.

I have to make clear that I put only opinions in this Schickle report without stepping on one side. Mostly information`s are from experts which are known as experts on the subject. You might know the name Daniel Grünbaum who is an expert on Otto Schickle badges and also very deep in Knight`s Crosses pre 1945 and post 1945. There are a lot of good information from him we have to think about or put a second thought on it….but finally you have to make up your mind for your final opinion. Also I learned a lot from Mr. Dietrich Maerz who wrote books about that topic which are one of the best on the market.

OK let`s put some facts together and see where the road will lead us to.

All the Schickle Crosses have the same loop on the Top of the frame, some with the marker L/15 and some without L/15. At the collectors market we have seen fake crosses with the marker L/15 on the loop or for example a Juncker Knights Cross with an L/15 marker on it to pimp it……well that did not work. So there might be somebody out there with the right stamping tool L/15 but with not enough knowledge to put that marker on the right cross. So that’s an easy one to spot.

Schickle Cross with maker L 15 Ludwig Collection II
Fake marker


Also all the Schickle crosses have a die struck mistake in the frame which can be found on every cross which is offered. In the 9 – 12 area of the front frame there you can find it.


Fail in Frame Typ 1

Now we move to type one and type two.

Look at the pictures from Ludwig`s grouping and on the very clear embossed numbers on the front and the back.  Also on that Cross you can see the angle of the number 3 upper part in 1939 which “hits the head of the 9” if you draw a line in that direction. Better explained with the following picture here.

hitting the 9







Bottom Line for a type 1 Schickle Knight`s cross:

Right size and shape of the loop

Die flaw in the frame 9-12 o`clock area

Clear embossed numbers front and back

Number 3 hits the number 9 (line check)


Let`s look at the Type 2 cross.

Here we see almost the same indications like on type 2. You have the same loop on the top of the frame. You have the die flaw on the 9-12 O´clock area on the front frame.

not hitting the 9 Typ 2

Now let`s check the numbers, not the same clear embossed numbers like type 1…….and if you do the line test from the number 3 to the number 9……it is a different angle.


That tells me as a none KC experts that we have two different cores in the same frames!

Looking back to the short amount of time Schickle produced their Knight Crosses. Why did they change the design of the core but not the frame? Even if the frame had a “problem” ….

If you look closely on the type 2 core you can see a similarity to the post war crosses made by Steinhauer und Lück. How can that be?

Postwar KC with core Schickle Typ 2

Thoughts (and only thoughts) bringing me to some “Maybe” points.

Maybe it is the truth that Schickle stopped producing type 1 Knight`s Crosses someday and started to produce type 2 until they have to stop it by “whatever” reason.

Maybe Schickle stopped the production of Knight´s Crosses 1941 and after the war all the “unused” frames were sold to anybody who put in a post war core and sold them after May 1945 to the veterans who lost their Crosses during the war.

Maybe Schickle sold their overproduced Schickle frames in 1941 to somebody who made actually Knight`s Crosses during World War 2. So type 2 is a Schickle Knights Cross but not produced by Schickle.

Maybe Schickle`s die tool for manufacturing the cores were getting bad and the numbers weren`t that clear anymore. So there is a possibility that they produced 500 cores with bad number design and put them aside for later. Somebody found them after the war together with other parts from different company’s and started building another version of Schickle crosses.



But the manufacturer list for Knights Crosses is short. There we have only these companies:

C.E.Juncker, Berlin
Steinhauer & Lück, Lüdenscheid,
Otto Schickle, Pforzheim,
C.F.Zimmermann, Pforzheim,
Gebrüder Godet, Berlin,
Klein & Quenzer, Idar-Oberstein,
Unbekannter Hersteller der frühen Form „Dreiviertel-Öse-Ritterkreuz“ (evtl. Deumer, Lüdenscheid)

As far as Daniel Grünbaum refers is Steinhauer und Lück the only company where you can find nearly identical cores in post war Crosses like type 2 Schickle cores……that’s also a fact to think about.

Theres  also a possibility that Sedlatzek, Schiffer or Souval bought all the rest of different manufacturers and started producing after May 1945.


A lot of questions and maybe a good start for more research on the topic.


I wonder about the price of Schickle Typ 1 Knight`s Crosses.  The price for a Schickle Cross is far higher than for other crosses. I can remember that a Schickle Type 1 was sold shortly for 10.500,-  Euro without any case, only the cross with ribbon. On the collector’s guild you will find a type 1 for 13925,- US Dollar and on Christian von Eickes Web shop a cross was sold for nearly 13.455,- Euro. Well that’s  a lot of money…….

Schickle Cross to identfy in wear (sadly cant remeber who posted it on WAF)


Hope some of the KC Collectors out there will come up with more information on the different types so we can clear out some “maybe`s”.

If you have any other facts and thoughts please let me know and I will be happy to put them down in this report.

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Black Afrika Cuff Title


Hi Gents, the days passing by and a lot of things happened in the world of collecting. Surfing trough the different areas of WAF, GCA and MFF I found very interesting items. Some are so interesting, that I asked the collectors if I can use the material for the BLOG…..Sometimes I get an answer and sometimes not. As you might know I am a little bit into cuff titles. On the MFF submerged a picture with a soldier wearing a special version of the Afrika cuff title on his sleeve. That one was the missing link….. I have that Afrika cuff title version in one of my books (and in my collection). Till that day there was no picture of that special cuff title on a uniform available and so nobody was sure if it was for tank crews or not. I asked the owner of the picture, Max Miller, if I can use it in my blog and he gave me a thumbs up!!

But let`s step back to the standard Afrika version first:

The cuff title Afrika was awarded by the Wehrmacht in World War II. It was founded by Adolf Hitler on January 15th, 1943. The cuff title Afrika should not be confused with the sleeve stripe „Afrika Korps“, which was awarded as a sign to all members of the German Afrika Korps.

Afrika Cuff Title Collection Author

Creation date Army: January 15th, 1943

Creation date Navy: December 29th, 1942

Creation date Air Force: Jan. 28th, 1943

The cuff title Africa was awarded approximately 30,000 times. The awarding authority began from the battalion commander and the next higher ranking officer.

Afrika Cuff Title Standard Version Collection Author Backside

Closing date for the ceremony was  October 31st, 1944.

3.1 Background


In February 1941, the German Afrika Korps (DAK) was formed in Libya within  the “Operation Sunflower”. The DAK was created to stabilize the recent African campaign of the Italian troops and support them against the British army. From 1941, to October 1942, the DAK got hold of large parts of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. After that the DAK was stopped and driven back to El Alamein. In January 1943, the DAK had to clear Libya under the pressure from the Allies.The last German units in Africa capitulated May 13th, 1943.

Afrika Cuff Title Standard Version on Tank Tunic Collection Dirk Schneider


Basically the cuff title Africa could awarded to members of the armed forces, after the ceremony provisions of January 15th,  1943.  Soldiers who served  directly in the air, on land or at sea in Africa. Even members of the “Heeresgefolges” or in the immediate order of the army employed persons, also non-Wehrmacht soldiers who report to the Air Force or were active in their immediate contract, could be awarded.




– Duty for six months on African soil

– Wounded in this operation

– Illness  which led to the loss of full or conditional ability to serve in the tropicsice.


The same rules are applied in the Navy as in the army. For the crews of ships:

At least six months of operations at sea from bases in Africa.

Air force

For the Air Force were the same rules as in the Navy applied.

1st change of the provisions ceremony (Army on May 20th, 1943/ Air Force  on  July 1st, 1943). Members of the Army Group Africa, who took part in the final battle on African soil, on May 6th, 1943 honorably, the cuff title Afrika could be awarded after four months of service in Africa.


2nd change of the award provisions (December 14th, 1943)

The cuff title Afrika could now be awarded regardless of the operating time, provided that the soldier himself earned a bravery award during the fighting in Africa such as the Iron Cross, German Cross in Gold, mention in the Honor Roll,…

The cuff title (approximately 450 mm by 36 mm) was made of camel hair fabric. The lettering Afrika was mounted in white rayon embroidery centered. It has been enclosed on the top and bottom of the sleeve a strip of white is also about 3 mm wide strand. The cuff title Afrika was worn on the left forearm above the cuff.

Here it comes !

Afrika Black Cuff Title on Luftwaffen Tunic Collection Max Miller

Finally we have the proff with the help of Max Miller that the black Afrika cuff title was a version used by the Luftwaffe and not by tank crews. An we have also proof that is a time period cuff title. Against the regulations but anyway used by some soldiers of the Luftwaffe.

Afrika Cuff Title Black Version Collection Author


Black Afrika Cuff Title Collection Author Close Up

Sometimes it takes a little bit time but if you stay on it, some mysterys will be solved

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The Mystery of CUPAL Badges

Hello Collector friends, it took me some time but after 3 weeks of holydays it is not easy to get into the old rhythm again. I spent some time out of Germany, went to the WACKEN Heavy Metal Festival and took some days off to work on our new project.

Another new project you ask…….yes ! I am not getting tired to move on and try things out.

The big plan is to build a new auction house here in Germany. Yes, to build one where you actually go inside, raise your number card and place your bid.…. Not only an online platform but there will be the internet option also.

Together with my friend Dennis who runs the company Trave Militaria, we searched for a nice location in the historical part of Lübeck in norther Germany.  Finally, he found a TOP place and asked me to be a part of it ….. and I jumped in as a partner.

The size is huge, about 300 square meters for all the nice stuff we will put in the auctions and a big room with enough space for about 100 visitors. If everything works out, we will open up about September 15th, 2018 and our first auction will be November 10th, 2018.

If you like to get more information you can go on the Facebook link and follow the buildup of our new project, there.

Auktionshaus HanseArt

The main website is still under construction but will be online soon. We don`t do only military, also antiques, paintings, watches and jewelry…..something for everybody.

I will keep you up with more information about it in the next weeks.

But back to the Blog and here something about badges.

This week I found an interesting Badge on the MFF, which is not very common and rare to find.

It is a Minesweeper Badge made by FLL (Friedrich Linden Lüdenscheid) and the material is CUPAL. It belongs to Dave Grohen`s collection and he was so kind to provide me with pictures, size and measurements. It is 54 mm in height, and 44 mm wide. The weight is 14 Gramm (so a lighweight). A tombak minesweeper can have about 24 Gramm……

Minesweeper Cupal Dave`s Collection (1)


For some of you Cupal is nothing new, but there are collectors out there who are not that familiar with the material. We go into that later.

First of all, something about the badge itself.

The Minesweeper’s war badge was instituted on August 31st, 1940 by the Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine und Großadmiral, (Commander in Chief of the Navy and Grand Admiral), Erich Raeder for award to personnel serving on minesweepers, sub-chasers, and

Minesweeper Cupal Dave`s Collection (2)

escort vessels who met the prescribed requirements. The main prerequisite for bestowal of the award was participation in three operational sorties. Because the Kriegsmarine had so much little ships until the end of the war used for different duty`s there are a lot of minesweeper badges out there. Mostly zinc versions, some nice tombak badges and also woven examples. I heard about aluminum pieces but never saw one.

There is a saying that “minesweepers personal is close to the almighty god” and “where we have been the fleet will sail to”.  However, I can remember my eight years in the 5th Minesweeping Squadron of the German Navy as a very interesting time.

Minesweeper Cupal Dave`s Collection (3)

I learned that big ships like Cruisers or Destroyers won`t go anywhere if there is a mine warning. They call the little sweepers “to clear the road” before they move on.  Only after a “green light” from the sweepers and the data for a mine free channel, they move on……


This Cupal FLL Minesweeper was shown on the MFF by Dave who had it in his collection for some time. While researching on the topic I used the Book from Sascha Weber and Gerhard R. Skora about Kriegsmarine badges” Die Kriegsabzeichen der Kriegsmarine”. And like I wrote that in the blog postings before, that is THE Book you have to have if you collect serious in the field of Kriegsmarine awards. You must understand, I collect for 25 years now and still use the book to proof this or that or just to compare stuff. So from this place a thumbs up to Sascha and Gerhard for this great Book.


Her we have some more information on the cupal material.

Cupal was invented as a cost saving material in the 1920’s. Either a single or double layer of copper was added to aluminum alloy base and initially saw use in such things as water pipes. It was a cost saving feature at the time- it provided for better corrosion resistance and was easier to work with when welding pieces together.

Example PKA Juncker cupal by Philippe de Bock (2)

The generic term for such a material is „Bimetal“ and these are used to combine the properties of the two components to achieve desired results. Most often the application for this is electrical as in a „Bimetallic strip“ used in heat sensitive switches or cut outs because the two metals have differing rates of expansion under heat and this causes the strip to bend thus either making or breaking a contact. Such a composition of copper and aluminum is used in washers on electrical terminals to prevent galvanic reactions between dissimilar metals under current.

Example PKA Juncker cupal by Philippe de Bock (1)

Cupal was used in badge production for mostly economic reasons (Germany had problems sourcing copper which was needed for applications more crucial to the war effort) but it did have some practical manufacturing benefits as well. Although they changed to simple zinc soon enough.

We often see cupal used on insignia for the same reason as well as the fact that it allowed for easier plating.
It continued to be used post war and it’s still being used today.

It’s a thick, like 2mm aluminum plate with a very thin, like 0,2mm copper plate pressed onto it. They are not welded or stuck together but pressed so hard that they are practically „welded“ together.

I got also two picture from Philippe de Bock out of his German Combat Awards Forum to show here the different layers of material on a badge.


Final you have to understand that the collectors market is sometimes a mystery. There are days were badges go for incredible amounts over the table and sometimes they are like glue and won`t go anyway.

But a lot of collectors look for cupal pieces and if a badge pop`s up it will be a fight to get it. So look always close what you get and never ever sell something you don`t know……

Thanks for reading, please help the blog to get more readers and more writers……Let the other collectors know what you can find here.

Take care




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Fake Bag`s in the Collectors World Part I

Hi Gents,

First of all I have to excuse myself for taking so much time to write the next post. With my transfer to a new field of work in the German Navy, time is rare and the workload is heavy. I can`t tell you what I really do but so much to say. I work with and for the “Wolfpacks”…..

As a Medal and badges collector my focus is not really on cases and bags. If the medals come with it I leave them together, if the badges are cased, the will stay together. But I normally don’t hunt for a special case or a missing bag to get it complete…….well not quite right, I need a case for my second knight’s cross but that’s another story….;-)

Fake Show A

Funny thing is that you can buy a lot of lonely cases and bags on dealer’s websites or on EBay.

Why on dealer’s websites you ask, that is easy to explain. If you sell a high end badge in a high end and maybe rare case, you will get it sold quick for good money. But if the badge is not that nice or maybe made from zinc, it will get harder to sell it. So the trick is to separate them and sell the badge without the case or the case without the badge. Sometimes you get more money out of it, sometimes not. But collectors always need everything and the will buy it 😉

2 out of 3 Fake A

Let`s look on EBay, most of the cases and the bags are without swastikas and as you know, on EBay there is no chance to sell something with that “bad” sign on it. Collectors like me who are older remember the USA EBay time….the good old time……there you got it all on EBay USA. Uniforms, Badges, Daggers…….until EBay USA stopped it.

Anyway, EBay is also the best way to get a fake case or a fake bag for your collection. You have to be sure that the offered piece is from that time. Otherwise you burn your money.

Uboot Bag Copy L/12 A

From time to time bags pop up from a “hoard found”. They slept well protected in an old basement of a former medals sales store and now they flood the market. Never buy the story, trust your instinct or follow the experts on WAF, GCA or MFF.

Ground Assault Badge Copy A

So what did I do, I checked the areas of different platforms and pulled out the bad ones to show you what is really nothing for your collection.


I hope that the expert collectors who follow my blog will correct me if I am wrong (yes that could happen). If you have also fake bags in your database, feel free to send pictures to and I will put them on display here.

UBoot Bag Copy A
Wounded Badge Silver Copy A
PAB Silver Copy A
LDO Bag Copy A

Here you have them all together with frontview and backside view

Thanks for reading, please help the blog to get more readers and more writers……Let the other collectors know what you can find here.

Take care




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