Description: The Imperial Stahlhelm Gorget was part of a WWI veteran’s organization formed in 1918. It was open to men who had fought in the front lines in 1914-1918. Eventually, millions of men were part of the Stahlhelm. It was a paramilitary organization whose members wore military uniforms; it was eventually absorbed into the SA after the Nazis came to power. Stahlhelm standard bearers wore a gorget as part of their uniform. The Imperial Stahlhelm Gorget was cast rather than stamped, and was the heaviest of all the gorgets manufactured between the end of WWI and 1935. It features a WWI pattern steel helmet, of the type introduced in 1916, surrounded by a wreath, and surmounted by an Imperial eagle. Furled Imperial flags are shown on either side of the wreath. The imperial Stahlhelm gorget has a matte aluminum finish, which on this example is nearly completely retained and shows only very minor wear and age. There is no backing cloth, which is correct for this rare gorget type. The original chain is still present, with no issues. This imperial Stahlhelm gorget is an excellent example that would be very hard to upgrade. A rare survivor that is close to 100 years old.
Historical Background: Gorgets were originally part of a knight’s armor during medieval times. Long after suits of armor were abandoned, the gorget continued to be used in many European armies as a form of military insignia. In the Imperial German Army until 1914, gorgets were worn as a special mark of distinction by certain elite units. Following WWI, German paramilitary and police organizations used gorgets for standard bearers, as insignia, and to denote personnel assigned special tasks. Following the Nazi rise to power, there was a vast increase in the number of uniformed organizations, and a variety of new gorgets were instituted for use by these civil, political and paramiliary organizations, as well as by the military. Standard bearers of most organizations, who were entrusted with carrying flags at rallies and in parades, wore gorgets. Other gorgets indicated assignment to guard or security forces. The military police personnel of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS had their own gorgets as a part of their uniforms, and were nicknamed “chained dogs” by the troops due to the chain used to suspend the gorget around the wearer’s neck. Because gorgets were never general issue to all personnel of any organization or military branch, they were manufactured in limited numbers, and are generally scarce to encounter today,
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