Product Description: This beautiful and scarce German Penal Administration Buckle likely dates from the early years of the Third Reich. It’s a substantial piece, made in the highest quality and typical of early production. This belt buckle is made of brass, which has been fire gilded. This extremely attractive original finish features burnished highlights that accent the design and give this a tremendous visual appeal. The design of this German Penal Administration buckle features a distinctive German national eagle clutching a sword and arrows, with a swastika emblazoned on its chest. The eagle is superimposed on a pebbled field, surrounded by a circular wreath of oak leaves. The condition of this buckle is incredible, rating near mint. Nearly all of the original fire gilt finish is still present on the front. The reverse of the buckle shows a few small spots of age patina. This German Penal Administration buckle is complete with both keepers. The prong side, which is permanently affixed to the buckle, has only very minor patination and extremely slight finish loss. The other keeper, which is a separate piece, shows some more advanced age fading to the original gold finish. The catch of this buckle bears what appears to be a partial manufacturer stamp, though it is illegible. These buckles are very scarcely encountered. This is a choice example.
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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