Product Description: This 1941 dated Fireman’s Buckle from the North German city of Hamburg is a great example of a scarce buckle type. It is made of stamped steel, as was common for wartime buckles. It still retains nearly all of the original silver wash. The front of the buckle depicts the Hamburg coat of arms on a pebbled roundel. Slight wear to the surface has exposed the steel at the high points, and the bare metal has taken on a deep age patina, giving this buckle a great look. The reverse of the buckle still has great, bright finish, and is not maker marked, which is normal for these. The catch for the hook on the belt is spot welded in place. The roller bar and prongs assembly for affixing this to a belt is complete and functional, and retains the original brown leather tab, which is still held in place with the original stitching. The tab shows some wear and age, with typical darkening. It is stamped with the date 1941, and the illegible name of a maker in Lüdenscheid. This style of Fireman’s Buckle was likely worn with the dress uniform. This one is in excellent condition.
Historical Description: The belt buckle was an important part of the regalia worn by all uniformed military, civil, political, and paramilitary organizations during the Third Reich. The belt (“Koppel”) was part of the uniform and would always be worn while on duty. The belt buckle (“Koppelschloss”) was generally specific to each organization, with many organizations having separate belt buckles for officers and for enlisted personnel, sometimes with different colors and finishes to further denote specific purposes. The buckles were adorned with various mottos and designs specific to the organizations for which they were intended. Many designs used the German national eagle emblem, in a variety of forms. Belt buckles were worn with uniforms ranging from finely tailored officer parade uniforms, to the issue uniforms of enlisted soldiers in combat. Generally speaking, most German belt buckles of the Third Reich were made with two prongs on the reverse, to allow the buckle to be worn and adjusted on a belt. The buckle had a catch that would mate with a hook on the belt, when worn. The earliest Third Reich buckles were often made of brass, or nickel silver. Later, aluminum became very common, and was used on private purchase as well as enlisted buckles of the German military, with or without a painted or plated finish. After WWII began, most enlisted military buckles were steel. Nazi belt buckles were popular souvenirs for Allied troops who served in Europe. Some types were made by the millions and remain quite common today. Others were made in limited numbers and are very rare.
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