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Gentlemen,

during my holidays in Cannes at the Cote dAzur I was able to obtain an original dagger in the city of Nice, France.

This dagger is a perfect example to explain, what collectors should look for, imho.
First of all there is the most important thing which cant be reproduced, true age and patina. Please notice that a certain amount of the original fire-gild has been rubbed off over the fittings and the scabbard.
On the reverse between the two hanging rings the entire fire gild has been gone because this is the place where the dagger rubbed against the uniform trouser when the dagger was carried.
Scabbard shows some dents, sometimes caused by car doors.

Blade is still in nice condition, one of the points a collector should always appreciate the blade is the most important thing when we are looking on an edged weapon. Untouched tip, the blade etching still crisp and sharp with the original background frosting. Touching the etching with your fingernails will get you a feeling how sharp and accurate those etchings should be.
Maker mark dates this dagger to a period from around 1935 to 1941, this is not a replacement pommel, so this dagger was made between 1938 and 1941, personally my guess would be just before the war broke out.

The pommel is typical for Eickhorn, the eagle a little bit bigger and taller, the swastika lies deep inside the leaves.

Looking at the scabbard one can easily spot the oak leaves with those uneven edges, one of the signs so typically for Eickhorn.

The silver bullion Portepe shows true wear and patina, its on this dagger since WW2. One cant replace it w/o leaving any traces. The strap follows so nicely the shape of the Celluloid over wood grip, thats what we want.

Screws are untouched having the correct dome shape for Eickhorn, both points are important to us.

Grip is Celluloid over a wooden core, exactly what we would expect.

Former wearer was Heinrich Hubert Frster, he was born August 9, 1898 and entered the Imperial Navy in 1916. He survived the Great War as an officer and served in the Weimar Navy until 1925. Re-activated when the Second World War broke out, he became commander of the Kriegsmarine harbour in Nice, at the Cote dAzur in France in August 1943. He left the base when Allied troops landed in the South, escaping to the North, leaving some parts of his uniform and the dagger in the house of the French family. He survived the war and died in 1953.
Further researches are on the way.

The dagger was published in a German collectors reference put together by Ralf Siegert, together with the summer tunic of Korvettenkapitn Frster.

I would be happy if the fellow members here would add some points and all comments are appreciated.

Thanks for looking.
Regards;

Flyingdutchman











Last edited by Flyingdutchman; 01/16/2017 02:38 PM.
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Very informative, great pictures and a super provenance for this perfect example of the Eickhorn craft.

Thank you for posting this.

John


Always looking for Eickhorns and etched bayonets.
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Well put together and informative post. Beautiful dagger here with a very nice patina. Really special having the background on the German officer and even where it was captured, you just don't hear those details every day! Congrats! Kevin.


It's ALL in the DETAILS!!.......
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Flyingdutchman, thank you for your informative and valuable contribution and for showing such a historical piece.
The only concern or serious doubt I have is using the term "fire gilt" in this connection. In the early days, when all collectors spoke about gilding and fire gilding I had the suspect that these terms would not be right and did some investigations and experiments which led to the (for me) fact, that the finish is far away from gilding or fire gilt. During my decades of collecting I have seen only one (or perhaps a second one) edged weapon, produced during the IIIR which did have a true fire gild finish. All other legions did have not.
I know that fire gilding has been an option in the IIIR edged weapons catalogs but (supposedly due to the price) it was (nearly!) never done.
Because there are crooks around searching forums for such informations for doing better and better fakes I have not and will not reveal what is the true finish of most IIIR navy daggers (also the one shown here) and navy sabers(!). But each serious collector is invited to do a serious research and experiments for himself to find out.
BTW, when you see eg. an imperial dagger with TRUE fire gilding you will see the difference which is as big as the way from earth to sun. Even compared to an unissued IIIR navy, which I do posess.
Just my personal observations and opinion.
Regards.


wotan, gd.c-b#105

"Never look for sqare eggs" as a late owner of an original FHH-dagger used to say.
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Dear Wotan,

good point!

Yes, there were many various techniques for the - let's say - coloring process.

This is, or better was, just a gold wash: http://www.germanautoandaerocorps.com/navydaggers/html/1901-dagger.html

I had always a rule: If it is thick, it needs heat - so it is fire gilding.

Here we have two minty daggers, they have a somewhat thiner gold plating:



Would love to hear your insights. Thank you.

Best;
Flyingdutchman

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You are quite right Wotan. We collectors tend to use term "fire gilding" rather loosely. The process of using a mercury and gold amalgam paste, applying it to the dagger surfaces and then heating it to vaporize the mercury leaving the saturated frosted gold finish was largely phased out for standard production weapons after 1918. By the end of the 19th century, neurological damage from mercury vapor inhalation was well documented and laws were passed to protect workers. Recall "mad as a hatter" came from the neurotoxic effects caused by mercury poisoning. Mercury was used in the treatment of furs in the felting process for hats. Fire gilding is a time consuming and labor intensive process. Processes such as electroplating lend themselves better to mass production techniques and are safer. I have had one TR navy dagger that had a true fire gilded finish. It was a 1938 pattern by Eickhorn. It was clearly a different finish than the ones we almost always observe. It had a soft matte finish gold with polished highlights in the pommel, cross guard and scabbard bands. It did not have that shiny finish we see on a typical mint dagger. It felt luxurious.

Last edited by stratocaster3; 01/17/2017 03:52 AM.

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Very nice daggger, Hermann! Amazing portepee.
Best,
Oleg.


Greater love has no one than this: to lay down his life for his friends.

John, 15:13

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Originally Posted By: Flyingdutchman
Dear Wotan,

good point!

Yes, there were many various techniques for the - let's say - coloring process.

This is, or better was, just a gold wash: http://www.germanautoandaerocorps.com/navydaggers/html/1901-dagger.html

I had always a rule: If it is thick, it needs heat - so it is fire gilding.

Here we have two minty daggers, they have a somewhat thiner gold plating:



Would love to hear your insights. Thank you.

Best;
Flyingdutchman


@ Flyingduchman and stratocaster 3, first let me thank you that you do see my objection not as criticism (which it is not) but as a contribution for livid discussion (which has been my intention).
Due to my experience and experiments (which partially have been destructive so I do not recomend them) it is not the "thickness" of the finish which prooves fire gilding or not.
Fire gildig has a very distinct appearance (as stratocaster 3 has stated already), a soft matte finish only slightly differing to what we call "frosted", it is brighter (not shiny - I hope you can understand what I want to express) than the common finishes. And it is very(!) durable.
Due to what I can see in the pic I personally can not imagine that one of the two daggers shown by Flyingdutchman has fire gilding. What I can see in the pic especially the plain middle fields of the scabbards do show the typical shining ("common") finish stratocaster has spoken about.
Regards,


wotan, gd.c-b#105

"Never look for sqare eggs" as a late owner of an original FHH-dagger used to say.

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