Original German WWII Early Model 1933 SS Dagger by Richard Abr. Herder of Solingen
Original Item: Only One Available: 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 Nazism 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. On early examples the scabbard shell surface was factory blackened using a metal bluing process. The scabbard had nickel mounts. The SS blade was 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. 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 fine early example was produced by a well-known maker: Richard Abraham Herder, located in Solingen. This is a known producer of SS daggers during the Pre-WWII period and after. The rear of the dagger is marked with their oval trademark logo:
RICH. ABR. HERDER
The Herder name is well known in Solingen, and this branch originally registered in 1884 as a steelware maker. As time went on they specialized in Drop Forging, and supplied blade blanks to Erfurt Arsenal and other companies. During the Third Reich period, they continued to make their own edged weapons, as well as supply blades to smaller makers. The "oval" style trademark was specifically used on the blades of early SS and SA daggers made during the Third Reich, per J. Anthony Carter's work GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS.
The blade remains partly bright, with some areas of oxidation and scuffing. It still retains a lot of the factory cross grain, but it definitely has been cleaned and polished in areas. There is also the usual finish degradation from runner marks, as shown. 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 50% 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 major nicks or 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, but do show wear and some areas of damage and wear. The upper guard is marked with a Roman numeral I, for the third SS district. There is no lifting of the finish, even around damaged areas, showing these are indeed solid nickel silver.
The ebony grip is a nice example showing in good shape, though there are some areas which were cracked/chipped and later repaired. We do not know if this was done at arsenal, but it is most likely post war. The treatment to stain the wood black unfortunately over time makes the wood very brittle, so cracks and chunks missing is common. The runes button is positioned at about 7:00 o'clock, as it should be. The silvered SS runes and double circles around them have a nice matching patina with the nickel still intact, with a little verdigris. There is however some 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 a few small dents. It was originally anodized black steel, but that was at some point long ago painted over with black enamel, which is now chipped away in areas, showing the remains of the original anodized finish. The matching solid nickel silver scabbard mounts are in good condition. The lower ball has been crushed in and is split, due to the weaker nickel alloy used in early models (later ones used steel).
An excellent chance to own a very good condition early SS dagger by a very rare Solingen blade maker!
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