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#89511 03/31/2008 04:37 PM
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Hi Everyone,

I figured it was a good time to discuss the Air Force dirk so I will kick it off.

Here are several pics of the Air Force dirks in my collection. One is marker marked Eickhorn and it has an etched blade. The other dirk in not maker marked and it has a plain blade. Based on the variations I have observed or owned, I speculate there are possibly 3 or 4 manufactures and/or parts suppliers for these dirks. I have seen Eickhorn, Horster and Holler as German manufactures. Pieces made by these firms always seem to have an etched blade. I believe the non etched blade versions were possibly produced in both Germany and Bulgaria. There appears to be more variations in these pieces than other Bulgarian daggers. I will post more comparison pics and share my thoughts about these variations as the discussion moves along.


Gary

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Garry ,
Thank you that you start discussion of one of most rare beautiful Bulgarian daggers.
Congratulations for you amazing collection of Bulgarian Air force daggers.
As far as I know there are three kinds of daggers two made in Germany and one was made late war in Bulgaria the daggers was aluminium moulding - aluminium was collected from take down Bulgarian planes.
Engrave blades daggers are officers ,plane blades air noncommissioned officers

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On the blade is engrave the monogram of king Boris III

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pc 2

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Markers mark

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Pesho,

Beautiful looking daggers! I especially like that set of early hangers that you have. Here's another set of hangers that I once owned.

I have heard about the aluminum version but have never seen one. It must be a very rare piece being it was produced late war.

I have also heard there are reproductions of these daggers but I have never been able to substantiate it. Do you have any information or pictures of reproduction pieces that you can share with us?

Gary

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Hi Gary,
Beautiful daggers!Congratulations.
I haven t aluminum dagger. Before 3-4 years, I had possibility to buy an aluminum dagger, but I decided that the dagger looks ugly / compares with other daggers really looks ugly.
Now I regret for this, but is too late.
Except for the engraved blade all other parts are well made and very close to the originals.
Now on Ebay you can find one example Item num
ber: 280211421801
I cant tell that is this dagger is fake or not but I ll mention some details for which you should pay attention .
1.- the quality you can compare with your daggers and I do hope that you will see the difference.
2.- My grips are made from some plastic material I think yours too.
3.- The seller maintains that the dagger belongs to officer capitan Metodi Alexandrov than the blade should be engrave.
4.-There is a differences between the crossguards of officers and non commissioned officers daggers:
The figure on the center of the propeller is symbol of the airplane motor .
Early officer dirk has silver figure, late silver plated figure.
Non officer dagger has bronze figure only.

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Pesho, thank you for the information. For clarification, are you stating that an NCO dirk can not have a silver propeller and that this feature was only used on the officers model? The reason that I ask is: if someone was reproducing NCO dirks, why would they go through and add a detail (silver propeller) that would be incorrect for that model. It would seem to me that they could leave this detail off and make a more realistic (and cheaper) reproduction if that was their intent.

Persho, regarding ebay item # 280211421801. I have looked at that piece on several occasions and I dont know what to make of it. The fact that it does not have glass eyes is of great concern to me. Ive seen them with the eyes missing but never like as shown on this piece. Also the plain blade on this piece is substantially different than other plain blades found on Air Force dirks. This blade has sharply ground ridge lines as compared to the more rounded ones that I seen. However, I can see grind lines on that blade so who knows what has happened to it. Also, as you stated, I would think that it would have an etched blade unless that was an option. Please take a look at ebay auction # 220218214025 as a comparison and give us your opinion on that one.

There seems to be many differences in details with these dirks and it is very difficult to determine what might be an acceptable variation. As an example, lets look at scabbard details. One version, which I suspect was an early model, has a leather covered scabbard. What I believe is a later version, has a type of material covering that is unknown to me. However, you can clearly see the weave in the material so its not leather. The 3rd version is the shiny black painted scabbard found ( to the best of my knowledge) only on the officers dirk but maybe not. Another point worth mentioning are the differences in the end of the scabbard fitting. Some examples show a ball (sometimes silver) that is a separate piece being held by the eagles claw. Others examples appear as though this detail is a fixed part of the casting. Maybe it was an option or a particular manufactures trait. Who can say for sure? Your thought please.

Gary

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Here is the aluminum model.

After I repaint this it should look beautiful

Jim

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Note the blade on this is the standard double fullered blade. Like the best AF daggers

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The grip has good detail also. Note the eyes. They look better in person.

Also, I assume the hanger rings are replacements.

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Here is my presentation dagger. Untouched. This is the way it came from the factory. No touching up the gold nor paint, Gary. Big Grin

Jim

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A second shot. I will need more photos of this plus my home grown model (NCO's) that also has the etched blade.

Jim

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Jim, that is a beautiful looking officer's dirk and hangers! Congratulations on such a nice find. I've attached a quick pic of my officer's dirk. Other than a few chips in the scabbard paint, it's in near mint and untouched condition. I consider it to be one of the best looking daggers in my collection.

That aluminum example is so unique and I actually like the way it looks. It does bring up a few questions. Who would have been issued these pieces if an officer's dirk was suppose to have an etch blade and silver propeller which is unlike the NCO version? Would it have been ok for both an officer and NCO to carry an aluminum version? If so, does that mean the variations we see in these dirks is partially due to personal taste, budget, year of manufacture, etc.? Maybe someone out their has some information that will help answer these questions.

Gary

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Hi Jim,
Congratulation for your amazing collection of Bulgarian air force daggers.

Cary,
The officers dirk has silver propeller only and some thing more - you can see from the photo there is other different officers dagger has 8 cylinders and NCO 7 only.
Book text early officer, model should has the following particularity:
Eyes are made by ruby, the hilt is gold plated , silver figure on the propeller ,engrave blade, scabbard covered by leather and a ball made of kind of porcelain held by the eagles claw.
Late officers model has :
Glass eyes, bronze hilt , silver plated figure on the propeller , plane blade, painted scabbard and a bronze ball held by the eagles claw.
As I told you before except for the engraved blade all other parts are well made and very close to the originals.
Regarding item 220218214025 I cant say much without better and close up pictures but when I see officer daggers with plane blade this is red flag.

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Gary, that is a beautiful dagger. I was only "busting your balls", something us Americans do with people we like.

On the aluminum model. It is much smaller than the others. I will take a photo comparing so you can see.

As to the appearance, It was originally painted. There were still traces of royal blue paint near the propellor. So, you can paint this as an officers, or as an NCO. Although I am not sure I buy off on the spit of Solingen officers and home created as NCO's. More than likely the Eickhorns were awarded and the others for wear.

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Pesho, great information! Thanks for sharing it.

Jim, I new you were having fun and that's how I took it. I always say that "When collecting ceases to be fun, I'm going to cease doing it". Smile

Jim, I didn't realize that the aluminum version is smaller than the standard dirk. I also wonder why your dagger appears to have been painted blue at some point in time. It's all very fascinating.

Gary

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I took out two of the Air Force, and the aluminum is the same size as the others. Sorry about that, the mind plays tricks when you are my age.

As to the paint, the royal (dark) blue is around the rotor engine. The grip still has traces of black paint.

Jim

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Jim, now that I think about it, it makes sense that the dagger would be the same size. I just wonder why blue was chosen for around the engine. Why not use a brass color for an NCO or maybe silver for an officer?

Gary

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Hi! Yesterday I win the bid for this dagger, made of aluminium and with evident signs of painting (polychromie?) on it. I have read this splendid thread about this dagger model and noticed that the aluminium variety is very unusual. The seller said the dagger has no blade, anyway a good addition to my little collection, I guess. Please can you give me an opinion on it? at the moment only has these 2 photos, when it arrives I take better ones. Thanks in advance.

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Hi! Finaly the dagger arrived and I'm completely amazed; it's a single piece casted aluminium dagger! it has a horrible paint on it, I don't think the paint is original, seems more like a repaint. The piece looks well-aged under the paint, his length is 12 Inches , I put some more photos, please help me with opinions...I don't think it's a fake (no case to be done in such way) but don't have heard of this kind of 'dagger' before, if I can call it this way...maybe a present piece? Thanks in advance.

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sorry

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I believe this to be very real and very unusual. I would guess this was a final itereation of the dagger where it was cast and painted to reduce costs.

Just a guess, but if this was a reproduction, we would see more of them.

In my opinion.

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Hi Jim! Thanks for the comment, do you think the paint can be original? I post another picture to show better the condition of the paint. I also have doubts about if his length is the same of the 'regular' daggers, I don't have other to compare and didn't found this data on the web. regards.

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12" is the full length.
I have no doubt the paint on yours is original. Your dagger is the best argument I have seen to restore a dagger. For all we know the old paint is actually damaging the dagger.

But, it is for your own personal taste.

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As a rule I prefer not to touch/clean my daggers but if you think that will be dangerous for the piece to be in such condition, I will take restoration to consider. Anyway I have some doubts about how restoring it: which kind of painting are the adecuate? is better to take off the orignal paint? how to do that? On the other hand, the fact that the length is the correct one makes me think about being a period piece as you said, a late and unusual one, as the only reference I know is a Bulgarian book that I don't have, I'm curious to know more about it but don't know where to look. Best regards.

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Jim, What are the prices of those daggers. Also how does it differ from the NCO ones?

Also - was it produced with other MMarks than Eichorn? It is Puma in this NCO example. What do you make of it?

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