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Thread: Help needed in identifying an unusual German/Axis dagger

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    8

    Help needed in identifying an unusual German/Axis dagger

    Does anybody know to which country this dagger belongs (see attached pictures)? It's made by Alcoso in a typical German style and quality. So this is clearly not some sort of hand-made fantasy piece. Judging by the style of manufacture, I'd date it sometime between 1930-ties and 1940-ties. Since it was made by a German company I assume that it must have been a German dagger or from one of the axis countries. But it could also be from one of those "Latin American contracts", which German dagger makers were actively doing after WWII.

    This dagger has three distinct pieces of heraldry, which might help to identify its origin: the double-headed eagle, the winged female figure (Nike-?) and a crown. The eagle is the easiest one. The following countries have (or had) it on their coat of arms:

    Albania
    Armenia
    Austria (1934–1938)
    Austria-Hungary
    Byzantine Empire
    German Confederation
    Holy Roman Empire
    Kingdom of Mercia (527–918)
    Montenegro
    Kingdom of Mysore
    Russian Empire
    Russian Federation
    Seljuk Empire
    Serbia
    Serbian Empire
    Kingdom of Serbia
    Spanish Empire (during the Habsburg dynasty)
    Kingdom of Yugoslavia

    It also appears on other coats of arms and flags, including the flag of the Greek Orthodox Church, the arms and flag of the Hellenic Army General Staff and the Hellenic Army XVI Infantry Division, a number of cities in Germany, Netherlands and Serbia, the arms and flag of the city of Toledo, Spain, and the arms of the town of Velletri, Italy.

    However, given that the double-headed eagle does not have crowns, the time frame and some other factors the list becomes VERY narrow:

    Albania
    Austria (1934–1938)
    German Confederation (some sort of jubilee)
    Greece
    Montenegro
    Serbia/Yugoslavia
    Spain
    some city

    To me the eagle looks closest to the one of the German Confederation or the Reichsflotte of the mid-19th Century. As for the other two pieces of insignia (winged female figure and crown) - I have no idea. Does anybody know what they could mean in connection with the double-headed eagle? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  2. #2
    Hello K. Greg

    Kindly refer to the Johnson Reference Books in Militaria website, non-German Edged Weapons section, item # 27061. The dagger pictured is a Spanish Air Force Dagger, and is about identical to yours.

    You'll be quite happy about the purchase when you take a look at it.

    Good Luck,
    Ron Goos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    8
    Ron,

    Thank you very much for your reply. I am familiar with the book, but I believe the identification there is incorrect. You see, this dagger looks very much like Luftwaffe 2-nd model dagger, which was introduced in 1937. Hence, it's highly unlikely that this dagger could have been made before that year. In fact, Spanish civil war only ended in 1939. On the other hand, the "traditional" Spanish Air Force dagger was adopted in 1940. So, the only way this one could have been Spanish Air Force dagger is that it would have been made sometime between 1937 and 1940.

    But even if we assume that this is some sort of "prototype" dagger (big IF) for the Spanish Air Force from the 1937-40 period (i.e, Alcoso's contract bid), it still doesn't explain the crownless double-headed eagle on the top. I mean, there has been a double-headed eagle in Spanish history, but during Franko's reign the eagle was single-headed:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbols_of_Francoism

    Also note, that the style of the crown used during Franko's time (1939-1975) was different from the "royal" one used before 1931 and after 1977:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_heraldry
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_arms_of_Spain
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._arms_of_Spain

    In other words, the style of the crown on the cross-guard doesn't match the one from the period.

    And last but not least, if this were to be an Air Force dagger prototype, it should have had the Spanish Air Force insignia, which hasn't changed since 1913:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coats_o...h_Armed_Forces

    There is no winged figure in Spanish heraldry which represents the Air Force.

    That's why I do not think this is the Spanish Air Force dagger. I mean, it could be a 1939-40 rejected prototype. I just don't know how to put together the crownless double-headed eagle, the wrongfully styled crown and the winged figure.

  4. #4
    Hello again,

    Considering how messy things were in Spain during the Civil War, it's hard to imagine that niceties like dress daggers were much of a priority, especially considering that the Luftwaffe was pretty well the Spanish Air Force for most of the action. You have done great research and I hope that you find a satisfactory answer.

    It might be worth the time to drop a line to JRB & M (since he has one also), and trade info with respect to these daggers. They might identify the reference source that they used for this dagger which may or may not be of help to you.

    At any rate, it is an interesting piece and when Johnson puts a price of almost $5K on it, there must be some solid substantiation.

    Happy Hunting, and please let us all know what you discover.

    Ron Goos

  5. #5
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    Feb 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Goos View Post
    It might be worth the time to drop a line to JRB & M. They might identify the reference source that they used for this dagger which may or may not be of help to you.
    At any rate, it is an interesting piece and when Johnson puts a price of almost $5K on it, there must be some solid substantiation.
    I had a conversation about this piece with Mr. Johnson and, basically, he BELIEVES it to be Spanish. But he doesn't have any solid evidence to support that.

  6. #6
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    L'abbaye de Theleme
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    What is the design on the scabbard?
    La vida amable, el enemigo hombre fuerte, ordinario el peligro, natural la defensa, la Ciencia para conseguirla infalible, su estudio forçoso, y el exercicio necessario conviene al que huviere de ser Diestro, no ignore la teorica, para que en la practica, el cuerpo, el braço, y los instrumentos obren lo conveniente a su perfeccion. --Don Luis Pacheco de Narvaez.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javier Ramos View Post
    What is the design on the scabbard?
    It's typical Luftwaffe 2nd model, except for the gilt and Nike's image in the middle.

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