Original German WWII M33 Early SS Dagger with Vertical Leather Hanger - RZM 121/34 SS
Original Item: Only One Available: The SS (Schutzstaffel) 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 Nazismand 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 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.
The blade on this example is marked with RZM 121 / 34 SS, the contract information for the knife, along with the date of 1934. The Reichszeugmeisterei, or RZM, was was based at the Brown house in Munich and Nazi party headquarters in Berlin. The RZM ensured that the manufacturers of military items were consistent in design, quality of materials and other characteristics of the items. Additionally, the Schutzstaffel (SS) had their own particular standards, and issued RZM contracts separate from other NSDAP registries. This unfortunately means that a good number of these codes have never been deciphered, as no listing was able to be found. As such, makers such as 48, 120, 121, 188, 285 and many others are still unknown to this day.
The blade remains bright and still retains a good deal of the original factory polish cross grain, especially close to the cross guard. There are small age spots and traces of past oxidation, and the blade also has the usual runner marks. This blade still grades in very good condition. The SS motto, Meine Ehre heißt Treue is crisp but has some wear with about 30% of the factory blackening is in the letter fonts in the backgrounds. The edge of the blade does not show any sharpening after the original factory grind, and is still in excellent condition. 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. There are a few small dents and cuts, but otherwise they are close to new. The tang nut is solid nickel silver, and does not appear to have ever been removed.
The ebony grip is a nice example showing in great shape except for some denting and shallow scratches. Early examples such as this were hand fit, which could result in cracking over time, but this example has very little. The runes button is positioned at about 7:00 o'clock, and the enamel surfaces are nearly perfect. The silvered SS runes and double circles around them have a nice matching patina with the nickel still intact. 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 eagle has lifted a bit on one side due to wood shrinkage.
The scabbard shell is a solid example being straight as an arrow with a few small dents. The "anodizing" is mostly intact, with just a few spots of rust. The matching solid nickel silver scabbard mounts are in good condition. The lower fitting has some dents and the ball end has been crushed due to the weaker nickel alloy used in early models (later ones used steel).
The scabbard is held securely in the extremely rare leather vertical hanger, topped with a nickel hanger clip. The leather on the hanger itself is marked SS 48 / 34 RZM. The leather is in good condition, though it has dried over time, and the securing strap is partly torn and otherwise very somewhat delicate due to leather deterioration. The nickel clip itself is marked with a "barred A" followed by D.R.G.M. (Deutsches Reiches Gebrauchs Musterschutz) - meaning it is a protected patented design under the Reich Government. This design was registered to the owner of the "Barred A" trademark, F. W. Assmann & Söhne of Lüdenscheid, a large maker of belts, buttons, and other accoutrements.
An excellent chance to own a great condition early SS M33 Dagger with an extremely rare hanger.
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