The SS (Schutzstaffel – ‘Protection Squadron’) was originally formed in 1925, ostensibly to act as a small, loyal bodyguard unit to protect the Führer, Adolf Hitler. Under the direction of the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, the SS grew to be the most ruthless and feared organization of the 20th century. They were the vanguard of NSDAP and eventually controlled nearly every function of German life and much of Occupied Europe. The SS dagger was introduced in 1933. Early on, members of the SS were awarded their daggers during a ceremony at the Feldherrnhalle Memorial in Munich. The annual ritual, charged with mysticism and meant to evoke the traditions of medieval Teutonic knights, was held on 9 November, the date of the unsuccessful Munich Putsch of 1923. Both officers and enlisted men wore the identical dagger until 1936. After this time, only enlisted men wore the M1933 dagger.
The SS Dagger was equipped with nickel crossguards with an ebony wood grip. The black grip contained a National eagle with swastika insignia recessed in the center area and an SS sigrunne button inset at the top. The thick 100% original enameled scabbard has nickel mounts. The SS blade is a polished type containing the SS motto, Meine Ehre Heisst Treue (My Honor is Loyalty).
Early examples bore one of three district stampings on the lower reverse crossguard of I, II, or III. This example is marked for District III. Early examples were mostly hand-fit. Production of later examples was more standardized, using cheaper, nickel-plated fittings with black painted scabbard shells. They could be held with a standard belt hanger, or a much rarer vertical hanger. This example retains the original hanger which is clearly marked “RZM M5/71.”
This fine early example was produced by a very rare maker: Gottlieb Hammesfahr & Co. AG, Nirosta-Werk, Stahlwarenfabrik und Gesenkschmiederei (Stainless Steel Factory, Steel goods factory and drop forge), in the Foche area of Solingen. This is a known producer of SS daggers during the Pre-WWII period and during. The rear of the dagger is marked with their trademark logo:
(CROSS ON PYRAMID LOGO)
Founded in 1804 and registered with the Solingen chamber of commerce in 1875, this company is one of the largest and longest-established edged weapon producers in Solingen. While this company was known primarily as a drop forge, it also made knives and tools during the WWII period. They had several brand names, including PYRAMIDE, which had a logo of a Pyramid with a cross on it. The “oval” style trademark was specifically used on the blades of the earliest SS and SA daggers made during the Third Reich, per J. Anthony Carter’s work GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS.
The blade remains mostly bright and still retains almost all of the factory cross grain, though there are small age spots and traces of past oxidation. The blade also has some light runner marks, but still is one of the best we’ve seen. This blade still grades in very good condition. The SS motto, Meine Ehre heißt Treue (Loyalty is my Honor) is crisp with little wear. About 70% of the factory blackening is in the letter fonts in the backgrounds. The edge of the blade does not show any non factory sharpening, and is still in great condition, with no nicks or major dents. The blade shoulders perfectly meet the lower crossguard contour, and is solid in the grip.
The crossguards of this dagger and tang nut are in good condition throughout, and are of the earliest solid nickel silver construction. They have smooth surfaces, good crisp edges and precise accent grooves. They have an overall slightly greenish patina, typical of aged nickel, except where the scabbard throat protected, which is shiny. The upper guard is marked with a Roman numeral III, for the third SS district. There is no lifting of the finish, showing these are indeed solid nickel silver.
The ebony grip is a nice example showing in very good shape except for a few very minor hairline cracks near the cross guard and pommel, as well as some very minor age, use and storage dents. Early examples such as this were hand fit, which could result in cracking over time. The color is very good, and wood grain can be seen. The symbol button is positioned at about 7:00 o’clock, as it should be. The silvered SS symbol and double circles around them have a nice matching patina with the nickel still intact. There is no chipping in the enamel. The nickel grip eagle is the “high-necked” type with the beak pointing slightly up. It remains in crisp condition, showing little wear to the bird’s head, breast and wing feathering and to the talons, wreath or swastika.
The scabbard shell is a solid example being straight as an arrow with no detracting dents. The matching solid nickel silver scabbard mounts are in good condition. The lower ball has been indented slightly but fully intact.
This is an excellent opportunity to own a very strong condition 100% authentic and original early SS dagger by a very rare Solingen blade maker!