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Michael Wipf





Joined: 23 Jan 2007

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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 2:35 pm    Post subject: Swiss Dagger         Reply with quote

Hello,

Is there anybody here that can tell me about this dagger?

Best ..

Mke


Last edited by Michael Wipf on Thu 25 Jan, 2007 10:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Michael Wipf





Joined: 23 Jan 2007

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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is a close up image of the hilt. This is a very high quality dagger.

Last edited by Michael Wipf on Thu 25 Jan, 2007 10:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Michael Wipf





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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 2:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have decided to remove the images from this thread...

Last edited by Michael Wipf on Thu 25 Jan, 2007 10:37 am; edited 2 times in total
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Michael Wipf





Joined: 23 Jan 2007

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Any information at all will be greatly appreciated. Or referals to reference materials pretaining to this and other daggers like this one...

Last edited by Michael Wipf on Thu 25 Jan, 2007 10:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Steven H




Location: Boston
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could you provide measurements on the dagger?

Thanks.

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's a holbein dagger or baselard which first became popular in the 15th century. As to the quality or authenticity of this piece I would not even venture a guess without it in hand. It certainly looks nice. Was there something specifically you wished to know?

Edited: Ahh I see that there is. Well I will look in my book of hallmarks tonight but honestly do not hold out a terrible amount of hope there. To be honest this mark looks more like a decorative rather then makers marke to me. The other thing to remember is that the holbein dagger (especially one in a plainer sheath like this) was a common soldiers weapon so the chance of it being made by a prestigious and thereby easily identifieable maker are rather small...

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Last edited by Russ Ellis on Tue 23 Jan, 2007 2:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Michael Wipf





Joined: 23 Jan 2007

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Last image of the cape fitting area. The panels in the scabbard are leather, Very old leather. The scabbard seems to be primarily wood with iron fittings.




.


Last edited by Michael Wipf on Thu 25 Jan, 2007 10:38 am; edited 2 times in total
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Michael Wipf





Joined: 23 Jan 2007

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys,

Russ,

Can you give me an idea as to it's general date of origin? Assuming it's authentic. 1700s?

The dagger is tight , no slop at all. It fits into the scabbard perfectly and only one way. It won't go in properly if you turn the blade 180 degrees. The grip is a hardwood of some sort and in excellent condition.


Last edited by Michael Wipf on Tue 23 Jan, 2007 6:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 6:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Wipf wrote:
Thanks guys,

Russ,

Can you give me an idea as it's general date of origin? Assuming it's authentic. 1700s?

The dagger is tight , no slop at all. It fits into the scabbard perfectly and only one way. It won't go in properly if you turn the blade 180 degrees. The grip is a hardwood of some sort and in excellent condition.


It looks like a really nice piece, I would be proud to own it authentic or not. Happy Everything I read suggests 15th and 16th centuries for these daggers soo 1400s or 1500s which is not narrowing it down for you a heck of a lot. Happy Let me dig out my reference material and I'll see if I can find something. As I recall there were small form changes to these over the years so it may be that we can narrow it down for you a bit more.

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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 7:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When I first saw your Holbein dagger, I immediately thought "Third Reich". Here is what Frederick Wilkinson has to say about the Nazi Holbeins of WWII (from Swords and Hilt Weapons, p.129-130):

"With the advent of the Nazis in 1933 it occured to the craftsmen of Solingen that if the Party could be persuaded that swords and daggers would enhance the status of its members, a whole new and very large market could be created....

First consideration was given to the SA or Brownshirts.... By 1930 the SA had more than 100,000 members, a sizeable market indeed. A member of the Solingen Trade School, a Professor Woenne, was commisioned to design a suitable dagger for them and came up with a weapon that was a simplified version of the 'Swiss' or 'Holbein' dagger popular in the sixteenth century. The blade of the proposed SA dagger was leaf-shaped and engraved with the motto 'Alles fur Deutschland'. The brown wooden hilt was rather like a capital I, swelling gracefully at the centre and decorated wit the Party symbol. It was to be worn in a plain brown painted metal sheath worn on a belt. Hitler approved the design and the first batch of SA daggers was ordered in february 1934.

Hitler the ordered that the SS should have a similar dagger, but with a black grip and sheath to match the feared black uniform.... The design of the SS daggers underwent minor changes and different grades evolved for officers and for presentation.

A dagger with a mixed combination of colours, a brown hilt and a black painted scabbard, was worn by members of the Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps (Party Motor Transport Corps). Another variant was worn by students of the National Political Education Institute.... Their dagger was like the SA dagger but had a plain wooden grip , a blade with a different motto, and a sheath similar to the standard bayonet scabbard."

Given the large numbers of daggers produced in Solingen in Nazi Germany, I would personally lean towards a 20th century date of manufacture rather than15th century or 16th century. (But I am hardly an expert on period Holbein daggers or Third Reich militaria, so who knows?)

Here is one example:


Try a Google image search for "Third Reich Dagger" or "Nazi Dagger" and one can see more examples.

Regards,
Jonathan
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 5:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
When I first saw your Holbein dagger, I immediately thought "Third Reich".

Regards,
Jonathan


That's not a bad thought and one of the reasons I was hesitant to commit to its authenticity. It would be trivial to change out the handle slabs on a WWII era piece, add the decorative (or whatever) mark on the blade and fabricate a new scabbard, and there are some similarities to the picture you posted in terms of the file work on the cross etc. However, not being an expert on Holbein daggers myself I can not say for sure that it is NOT a 15th century piece either... but you two have me really interested now and I know a guy that does know a lot about smaller blades... let me check with him...

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Michael Wipf





Joined: 23 Jan 2007

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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 8:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If have decided to remove the images..

Last edited by Michael Wipf on Thu 25 Jan, 2007 10:39 am; edited 2 times in total
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Michael Wipf





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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 8:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another image showing size difference. Under an eye loupe, the brown material in the Holbein scabbard center panels is clearly very old leather. Also these areas are non-magnetic..

Last edited by Michael Wipf on Thu 25 Jan, 2007 10:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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Michael Wipf





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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 8:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In this image, you can clearly see the difference in blade dimensions.. Interestingly this is a comparison between the very early Swiss Holbein dagger and a very late period Third Reich RZM (1944) marked , SA dagger made by E&F Horster.

Last edited by Michael Wipf on Thu 25 Jan, 2007 10:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 8:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting, the plot thickens... no comment back from the guy I know yet. How many variations are there of the German WWII era dagger?

Another thought, do you know that the scabbard is contemporary with the dagger? We know that swords might go through several scabbards during their working life. The scabbard shown does look old, and may well be, but it could be the 2nd or 3rd scabbard that has been made for this dagger.

No easy answers unfortunately. I'm hopeful that you are actually the proud owner of a 15th century piece. If I could ask where did you actually acquire it?

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Michael Wipf





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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 9:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are many variations of the Third Reich party form dagger.

SA, SS, NSKK, NPEA, each branch having Leader examples with chains, marine examples, ect. But all are almost exactly the same dimensions. The only differences are the grip insignia and colors. And blade mottos. Some Leader examples have damascus blades and leather covered scabbards.


Last edited by Michael Wipf on Thu 25 Jan, 2007 10:40 am; edited 2 times in total
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 10:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great comparison shots--thanks! Were you guaranteed that the dagger is 15th century? In Logan Thompson's Daggers and Bayonets he indicates that this form of dagger was in use as late as 1600. The accompanying photo in the book is of a 19th century copy. I suppose that is another possibility. (Although it would be more fun if it is an actual Renaissance dagger!)

Jonathan


Last edited by Jonathan Hopkins on Wed 24 Jan, 2007 1:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Michael Wipf





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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jonathan,

This dagger was represented as an original circa 1700s Swiss (Holbein) Hunting dagger.

On the front of the scabbard, about two thirds up, are two small oval openings for a small knife and fork, I was told. They are now gone to time. If this dagger were a copy, I would think the little utensils would still be in place. Who knows.

All I know is, whoever made this dagger really cared about what they were doing, and it wasn't recently..

Is it possible for you to post the image in the book? Thank you for the excellent link!

Thanks,

Mike
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Wipf wrote:
There are many variations of the Third Reich party form dagger.

SA, SS, NSKK, NPEA, each branch having Leader examples with chains, marine examples, ect. But all are almost exactly the same dimensions. The only differences are the grip insignia and colors. And blade mottos. Some Leader examples have damascus blades and leather covered scabbards.

I am sure there is no way to tell if the scabbard is original to the dagger. All you can do is compare the patina on the scabbard to the patina on the dagger fittings and how the dagger fits into the scabbard. In this case the patina matches (flows) exactly and the scabbard fit is excellent, both same length. But the dagger will only go into the scabbard one way. Meaning the scabbard was specifically made for the dagger. It looks like the dagger had a rust patina at one time and someone removed it with steel wool.

The dagger was purchased through an International auction house and came with a guarantee of authenticity. They stated that the Holbein dagger was purchased form a museum. I asked which one and they refused to tell me.

Wish I could get my hands on H.G. Wells' , "Time Machine" .. ;o)


Thanks for the info! Having purchased from a reputable auction house (which one?) is certainly a point in favor of authenticity at any rate, although auction houses (and museums for that matter) have been wrong before. It must be sort of frustrating that they would not tell you which musuem. Often with provenance the best thing is to track the item back to the source if possible, or date via particular construction characteristics if not. At any rate as noted earlier it certainly seems like a nice dagger and I've always liked that form.

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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Wipf wrote:
Hi Jonathan,

This dagger was represented as an original circa 1700s Swiss (Holbein) Hunting dagger.

On the front of the scabbard, about two thirds up, are two small oval openings for a small knife and fork, I was told. They are now gone to time. If this dagger were a copy, I would think the little utensils would still be in place. Who knows.

All I know is, whoever made this dagger really cared about what they were doing, and it wasn't recently..

Is it possible for you to post the image in the book? Thank you for the excellent link!

Thanks,

Mike


That sounds like a resonable date. I will post a photo later this evening.

Jonathan

Added: I guess I have the time now! Here is the section from Logan Thompson's book:



 Attachment: 50.71 KB
Holbein1.JPG
From "Daggers and Bayonets" by Logan Thompson
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