Condition: Near Mint
Product Description: This is a fantastic example of the belt buckle worn before and during WWII by members of the German Athletic Association, the “Turnerbund.” The front of this buckle bears the Turnerbund cross emblem. This emblem is made up of four “F”s, a reference to the Turnerbund motto “Frisch, Froh, Fromm und Frei” – Fresh, Happy, Pious and Free. This buckle shows some extremely minor age toning, but no actual wear, and remains in near mint condition. All of the original detail is present to the emblem and pebbling on the front of the buckle. The reverse of this Turnerbund buckle is smooth, with the stamped cross emblem visible in reverse. There is a soldered brass catch, and a plated prong bar for attaching the buckle to a belt; both are intact and functional, with no signs of repair. This piece is manufacturer marked “O. & C. ges. gesch.” indicating a trademarked design made by Overhoff. It would be tough to find a better example of a Turnerbund belt buckle.
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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