Bavarian Fire Defense Buckle

Condition: Excellent

Maker: Overhoff


Product Description: This Bavarian Fire Defense Buckle is an excellent condition example of a rarely encountered belt buckle. It’s a very high quality piece, made of brass with a dark bronze finish that is reminiscent of that used on bronze combat badges. Much of the original factory lacquering is still present over the bronze finish. The front of this Bavarian Fire Defense buckle features the state crest of Bayern (Bavaria), superimposed on a pebbled field, and surrounded by a circular wreath of laurel leaves. The buckle retains full original detail and does not appear to have ever been actually worn. The reverse of this buckle shows some age, with some spots of patination and finish loss giving it a mottled appearance. This Bavarian Fire Defense buckle is maker marked O. & C., indicating manufacture by the firm of Overhoff & Cie. in Ludenscheid, and is also marked “ges. gesch.” indicating a legally protected design. This buckle is complete with both of the original keepers, both of which are intact and functional, with a gold finish that shows some typical age fading and patina. This one-look original buckle is a scarce and desirable piece of Feuerwehr regalia.


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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