Original German WWII Commercial 98k Bayonet by ALCOSO with US Soldier Custom “Sweetheart” Plexiglass Grips and Scabbard - circa 1940-1943

Item Description

Original Items: One-Of-A-Kind. This is a lovely WWII German Commercial Bayonet that had its grips replaced with the “sweetheart” grips which consist of plexiglass grip scales and pictures of their sweetheart on each side. Most commonly encountered on sidearms, Servicemen began to salvage plexiglass from downed aircrafts to replace the grips for their Colt M1911 pistols as well as fighting knives. The transparent quality allowed them to personalize the grips by inserting a picture of a loved one or pin-up girl underneath the plexiglass. The trend became known as “sweetheart grips.”

In 1935 the German military 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.

However, there were also commercially made bayonets for the civilian market, and they were different in markings and appearance. This is one such example.

Model bayonet: Seitengewehr 84/98 III Commercial
Markings(bayonet): AWS "Scale" Logo and Alcoso / Solingen
Markings(scabbard): unmarked
Material: Blued steel
Grip material: Plexiglass

There was some variation among the "commercial" bayonets made, however this one matches the military pattern exactly, and is just missing the usual inspection markings, as well as a date and letter code. It has the correct crossguard and the correct pommel shape. The flash guard on the spine was removed by the soldier when the sweetheart grips were installed.

The trademark on the back of the blade is one of the trademarks that Alcoso used from 1940-1943. It depicts the scales with the firm's initials, AWS interspersed. Next to this is the firm's name in cursive script, Alcoso, and below the town of business, SOLINGEN, the legendary "City of Blades" in Western Germany.

According to J Anthony Carter's Work GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS, Alcoso is a trade name of Alexander Coppel & Co. KG, Stahlwarenfabrik, located in Solingen, the legendary German "City of Blades." The company 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 good, with a nice but spotty blued finish, and heavy wear to the grip. The blade is still the original factory "blunt" edge, as it was up to the owner to sharpen the blade. The scabbard is in fair shape, and is completely devoid of markings. The scabbard does not retain any of the original finish and there are a few hard bends in the body, though it does not restrict the bayonet from being sheathed.

A very interesting and hard to find commercial 98K bayonet from a maker with a somber back story.

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

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