Original Extremely Rare German Pre-WWII SS Death’s Head Marked 98k Bayonet by Alexander Coppel with Scabbard

Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind. Bayonets such as this fine example are the RAREST OF THE RARE. This is an early Pre-WWII issue k98K bayonet, which is marked with the SS Totenkopf (Death's Head) on the cross guard. These were specially ordered in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer-SS (National Leader SS) from 1929 onwards. The bayonets were ordered direct from the manufacturers, and were received without Waffenamt proofs or serial numbers.

This bayonet originates from a large number of K98k bayonets purchased from Omnipol in Prague by Fire Power International Ltd, British Company run by IMA Company Director Christian Cranmer. The first shipment received in 1973 was of 5,000 bayonets, for which FPI paid $1.00 each at the time. Of the 44,000 bayonets received over two years until 1975, F.P.I received ;in total only two of these "Death's Head" marked bayonets. This example was made by Alexander Coppel, while the other was by WKC.

In 1935 the German military had introduced the K98k bolt action rifle or Karabiner 98 Kurz, as a replacement for the older GEW98 or Gewehr 98. A new, shorter bayonet was designed to go along with the shortened rifle. The K98 bayonet was officially named Seitengewehr 84/98 III or SG 84/98 III. The bayonet was designed as a close combat sidearm that could be placed on the tip of a K98.

The total length of the K98 bayonet was 15.2 inches, far shorter than the 20 inch long GEW98 bayonet. The blade was also straighter in shape and the hand guard was omitted. The K98 bayonet was carried in a leather frog, or Seitengewehrtragetasche, on the left side on the equipment belt in combination with the shovel and its carrier. The maker marks on k98 bayonets where stamped onto the top of the blade. On the reverse the batch number and suffix were stamped.

Model bayonet: Seitengewehr 84/98 III

Markings(bayonet): ACS "Scale" Logo

Markings(scabbard): unmarked

Material: Blued steel

Grip material: Wood

The trademark on the ricasso depicts the trademark Alexander Coppel "Scales" logo with the initials ACS interspersed. According to J Anthony Carter's Work GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS, this trademark was used specifically during the very early NSDAP period, and is also seen on very early Luftwaffe and Army officer daggers.

Alexander Coppel & Co. KG, Stahlwarenfabrik, located in Solingen, the legendary German "City of Blades", was a major manufacturer of edged weapons and tools from the end of the 19th century up until the WWII period. Unfortunately, as NSDAP-control increased, brothers Carl Gustav and Dr. Alexander Coppel, the Jewish owners of the firm, were forced out. In 1936 the firm had been "Aryanized", and started using the name ALCOSO to hide the Jewish family name. By the end of 1936 the brothers were ejected from their Solingen offices, and by 1940 the brand trademark initials ACS were changed to AWS to reflect the change in ownership and name: Alexander Coppel Solingen to Alcoso-Werk Solingen. Carl Gustav Coppel committed suicide in Solingen in 1941, and Dr. Alexander Coppel was arrested in 1942 and sent to Theresienstadt Prison camp, where he died August 5th 1942. The factory itself was destroyed by Allied bombers in November 1944.

Condition is very good, with a very nice blued finish, and light wear to the grip. The blade is still the original factory "blunt" edge, as it was up to the owner to sharpen the blade. There is some runner wear on the blade, but it is otherwise in excellent condition. The hilt does have finish loss and light wear to the grips. The scabbard is also in very good condition, and is completely devoid of markings.

An extremely rare bayonet, one of only two that we have ever seen, made by a maker with a very somber back story. It is such a sad irony that a bayonet produced by Alexander Coppel was ordered directly by the one group most directly responsible for the deaths of the owners.

Blade Length: 10"
Blade Style: Single Edge w/ Fuller
Overall length: 15 1/4“
Crossguard: 1 1/2”
Scabbard Length: 10 1/2"

The Allgemeine-SS, (General-SS), was originally formed in May 1923 as the Stosstrupp Adolf AH, (Shock Troops Adolf AH), and was redesignated Schutzstaffel, (Protection Squad), in April 1925 with the official acceptance of the name verified on the second anniversary of the failed Munich "Beer-Hall" Putsch on November 9TH 1925. On January 6TH 1929 Heinrich Himmler was appointed as Reichsführer-SS, (National Leader {of the} SS), and on July 20TH 1934 shortly after the, June 30TH 1934, purge of the SA, Sturm Abteilung, (Storm Troopers) on the "Night of the Long Knives", the SS was rewarded by AH by being granted the status of an independent organization under direct control of the NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, (National Socialist German Worker’s Party). The SS developed the distinctive SS style cap skull and cross bones on October 6TH 1934 and introduced the SS pattern national cap eagle in February 1936. After their introductions the skull and eagle were to be worn on all forms of SS headgear. In 1944 the SS developed a single piece of cap insignia which incorporated both the skull and eagle on a one piece trapezoid base for wear on the M43 field cap. Originally these trapezoidal pieces of insignia were produced in a machine woven version until a final, embroidered version was introduced in late 1944. The first versions of the trapezoidal cap insignia featured dual rows of teeth in the skull while later versions only had a single row of teeth. Panzer personnel’s cap trapezoids were produced with a black base to match the color of the cap it was to be worn on.

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