Original German WWII Model 1933 SS Dagger by Gottlieb Hammesfahr & Co. - RZM M.7/67 1940
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 Germany 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 originally 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 nice mid-war production dagger remains bright, and is quite attractive. It has the original factory cross grain retained quite well on both sides of the blade. The rear is marked with the RZM and SS contract information:
M.7 / 67
This marking indicates the dagger was made by RZM Dagger contractor "67" in 1940, which records show is a very rare maker: Gottlieb Hammesfahr & Co. AG, Nirosta-Werk, Stahlwarenfabrik und Gesenkschmiederei (Stainless Steel Factory, Steel goods factory and drop forge), in the Foche area of Solingen. This is a known producer of SS daggers during the Pre-WWII period and after.
Founded in 1804 and registered with the Solingen chamber of commerce in 1875, this company is one of the largest and longest-established edged weapon producers in Solingen. While this company was known primarily as a drop forge, it also made knives and tools during the WWII period, per J. Anthony Carter's work GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS.
The blade has very little staining or wear of any kind. It has not been sharpened like some were by USGI's, and still has the original edge. We would consider this blade to be very good to excellent condition. The etched SS motto, Meine Ehre heißt Treue (My honor is loyalty) is crisp with about 50% of the factory blackening is in the black letter fonts in the backgrounds. 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 mid war plated construction, probably with a zinc alloy base metal. The plating has been mostly worn off of the blade side guard, while the pommel guard still has most of the original plating, with areas of the base metal showing due to oxidation and flaking. The pommel nut is also zinc, and is missing some plating as well. As these are mid-war, there is no district numeral stamped into the cross guard.
The ebony grip is a very nice example, with only a bit of chipping and small cracks, with visible grain. The black dyeing process for the grips unfortunately causes the wood to become brittle, so damage is common. The runes button is positioned well and the enamel surfaces are intact. The silvered SS runes and double circles around them have a nice matching patina with the nickel still intact. The aluminum grip eagle is the "high-necked" type with the beak pointing slightly up. It remains in good condition, showing little wear to the bird's head, breast and wing feathering and to the talons. The wreath and swastika do show wear
The scabbard shell is a solid example, being straight, with very little damage of any kind. It is the correct black enamel paint finish, with the expected crazing an checking from age. There are some areas where it is missing, showing the steel base metal, some of which is oxidized. The matching nickel plated steel scabbard mounts are in very nice condition. The lower ball is only slightly dented, typical of the stronger steel alloy. All four dome head screws are intact,and present. There is definitely wear to the plating on the fittings, but nothing out of the ordinary.
This is an excellent chance to own a nice condition SS dagger from the mid-war period, made by a rare maker!
The RZM, Reichzeugmeisterei, (National Equipment Quartermaster), was officially founded in June 1934 in Munich by the NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, (National Socialist German Worker's Party), as a Reich Hauptamt, (State Central Office), and was based on the earlier SA Quartermaster's Department. The registry was was based at the Brown house in Munich and Nazi party headquarters in Berlin.
The functions of the RZM were not only to procure and distribute items to Party formations, but also to approve chosen designs and to act as a quality control supervisor to ensure items manufactured for the Party met required specification and were standardized. Starting in late 1934 items manufactured for the SS came under the quality control of the RZM and as a result were to be marked with the RZM/SS approval/acceptance mark. The M7 in the code stands for daggers, with Gottlieb Hammesfahr & Co. AG being contractor number 67.
Shortly after this, the SS started using a separate listing of contractors, and in 1943 the Waffen-SS assumed full control over their uniform item production and no longer fell under the authority of the RZM.
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