Original German Early WWII SA Dagger by AESCULAP of Tuttlingen with 3 Piece Belt Hanger & Scabbard
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a great early pattern SA Dagger, made by the rare maker Aesculap-Werke AG of Tuttlingen, a company much more known for their surgical instruments than their blades. They only made these daggers for a short period of time, as the company was much more needed for its ability to make surgical instruments during the war, a business they continue to excel in. The dagger complete with an original later war scabbard, as well as a complete three piece leather belt hanger, which are quite rare to find. These have both the belt loop and a securing loop for the handle, which allows the dagger to hang vertically. We have only had a few of these previously.
The dagger has solid nickel silver fittings throughout, and is a really nice example. The cross guards and tang nut are in very good condition throughout with all fittings having a nice aged patina. The lower reverse guard is Gruppe/Gau marked Sw ,for Sudwest (South West) a district in far South West Germany, with the principal city being Stuttgart. This feature was only seen on daggers produced 1935 and prior.
The grip is a fine product having a nice chocolate brown color, with a medium center ridge construction. There is only light wear and pressure denting, except for a crack running through the round SA Symbol near the pommel. It fits the crossguards nicely, with no wobble we can feel. The symbol button is nicely set, and still has about 50% of the enamel intact, with some areas chipped out down to the base metal. The grip eagle is a fine example being the style with beak that points straight. Most of the details are still there to the eagle to include the beak, breast feathering, wing feathering, talons, wreath and mobile swas. There is a bit of wear, showing that is the correct solid nickel silver for an early pattern eagle.
The blade of this example is in great condition, with the factory final grind cross grain retained on almost all of the blade! This texture is iconic, and is the definitive identifying characteristic for a real WWII German Blade. We do not see any evidence of post factory sharpening, though it definitely has been cleaned and possibly lightly buffed, which has made the grain a bit faint. There are also a few nicks on the edge of the blade. The acid-etched Alles für Deutschland (Everything for Germany) SA motto is crisp, though cleaning has removed a lot of the factory darkening.
The rear of the blade bears the deeply etched trademark logo of Aesculap-Werke AG of Tuttlingen in Württemberg, a company that still exists today as a major maker of surgical instruments. Their logo is the well-known "S-form" serpent coiled around a ball-headed staff, the "Rod of Aesculapius", the Greek God of medicine, under a crown. This trademark is on the back of the blade, surrounded by:
+ (Rod of Aesculapius) +
Per J. Anthony Carter's book GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS,this firm was originally founded by Gottfried Jetter in 1867, and in 1887 he partnered with the Scheerer brothers to form Jetter & Scheerer. By 1895, they recognized the limitations of a family business, and formally incorporated. They built a new factory and registered the trademark Aesculap. The company used this particular "round" trademark on very early SA and NSKK daggers, which they made only made a small number of. They were a known maker of early Ernst Röhm signed daggers, however this example shows no evidence of ever having the signature.
The scabbard on this example has been replaced with a mid-late war pattern example, probably when the original was lost or damaged. The steel shell is straight throughout and still has a lot of the original paint present, though it is definitely worn and checked from use and age. There is some paint chipping, with the scabbard body now oxidized where the paint is missing. The scabbard shell is fitted with fine nickel-plated steel mounts, which show only minor oxidation and wear. They nicely match the crossguards and are complete with all four dome head screws.
The attached three piece belt hanger is in good condition, though the leather is somewhat shrunken and worn. There is also some cracking of the brown finish, though overall the leather is still supple, with no major tears, and overall in solid condition. The plated steel spring clip is (RZM) marked M5/71 over olc in a diamond, for Overhoff & Cie. of Lüdenscheid, who produced numerous clothing accessories.
A great early war SA dagger by a very rare and desirable maker, complete with a rare 3 piece belt hanger and scabbard. Ready to display!
Blade Length: 8 3/4"
Overall length: 13 3/4”
Scabbard Length: 10”
History of the SA-
The SA or Brown Shirts, were a private political formation which Adolf AH and the NSDAP used to maintain order at organized Party meetings and demonstrations. The group was formed in 1921, and grew to a huge force of nearly 3,000,000 men by the later 1930's. To instill esprit de corps, as well as create employment for the Blade City of Solingen, it was decided each SA man would carry a dagger with his Brown Shirt uniform. Huge quantities needed to be produced to accommodate the demand. The dagger initially was produced of hand-fitted nickel mounts with attractive finished wood grip and brown anodized (a bluing process) finished scabbard.
The blade was etched with the SA motto, Alles für Deutschland. Examples produced prior to 1935 were stamped with the German sector of the SA group on reverse lower crossguard. Later examples underwent standardization through the RZM ministry. These pieces were produced of cheaper plated zinc-base fittings and scabbards were simply painted brown.
Prior to his "unmasking" as a traitor, Ernst Röhm was the leader of the SA. In 1934, he distributed approximately 100,000 SA daggers with his personal inscription on the reverse blade. These daggers were to honor individuals who had served with the SA prior to December, 1931. Other than the inscription, these pieces were identical to the standard M1933 SA dagger. After the Röhm purge, the inscription was ordered to be removed. Many examples were returned to the factory for grinding. Others were simply ground in the field by whatever means were available. Examples will occasionally be encountered with remnants of the original inscription remaining on the blade, but mostly none will remain. Some blades exist with an intact inscription, reflecting only the removal of the Röhm signature. Very very rarely is an example seen with a full, untouched inscription, as the holder would have surely risked a charge of treason.
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