Original Named U.S. Marine Bring Back German WWI Souvenir Belt with Prussian Buckle & 39 Attached Items
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. American soldiers were known for their love of souvenirs in the Great War; So, a lot of material history of the war came across the Atlantic with returning soldiers. Among collectors of military memorabilia from World War One "HATE BELTS" are items of interest.
German soldiers' leather belts, and other belts from participating armies, that were festooned with buttons from soldiers uniforms are called Hate Belts / Souvenir Belts / Grave Digger Belts. These made for excellent collector's pieces.
"Hate Belt": the idea was that if a German soldier had killed or captured an Allied soldier, then he would have the button from the newly deceased or captured soldier attached to his belt as a kind of notch of conquest on his belt. This, no doubt, is the most intriguing explanation for those decorative belts.
"Souvenir Belt": this description is apt for many of the belts that are in circulation today. The souvenir belt would involve a German infantryman's belt being decorated with buttons and tabs from troops BOTH Allied and CENTRAL Powers and kept as a remembrance of The War.
"Grave Digger Belt" description is self explanatory, to a degree. Troops burying dead soldiers would sometimes remove buttons from those they buried as a remembrance. It is impossible to determine the origin of most belts, but some of these highly collectible belts provide some hints as to their origin. Nevertheless, these belts provide for excellent points of interest for collectors.
This wonderful example offered in very good condition features a GOTT MIT UNS (God [is] with us) Imperial German issue Prussian Brass Belt Buckle with an attached brass emblem, with its correct original leather belt. The buckle has seen use, with a dent on the "crown", but still has almost all of the detail. The belt is solid as well, though the finish is definitely cracked.
The back of the belt is named and dated to a U.S. Marine who was attached to the 2nd Division during WWI:
Pvt. Merle L Jones.
67 Co. - 5th Marines
May 21 - 1919.
This belt is really an excellent research opportunity for someone so motivated. We are unsure on a few of the letters in the name and Company, but everything else is clear.
The belt also features an impressive 39 attached items in total, most of which are Imperial German, and look to originate from various different states in the German Empire. There are also 4 metal German Cockades, 3 Prussian and also a German Tri-color Reichskockarde (Imperial cockade). There are several shoulder board rank "pips:, and the dates 1918 and 1919 in metal numbers, though the "9" from 1918 is missing. The items are attached by their own attachment studs, or held in place by wire.
It measures about 38 inches in overall length and is 1 3/4 inches wide. The belt still has an intact buckle tab, so the buckle can be moved if desired.
An extremely impressive item! Ready to research and display!
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