Product Description: This is a gorgeous example of the SS Fencing Sleeve Diamond. The German designation for this insignia, “SS Ärmelabzeichen für Fechtverein Mitglieder,” translates to SS Arm Badge for Fencing Club Members. This impressive piece measures approximately 3 inches tall by 1-3/4 inches wide, and features the iconic runic emblem of the SS machine embroidered in light gray thread on a black wool base. The reverse shows construction that is identical to a late war Dachau type collar tab, with white stitching securing the fabric to a tan buckram stiffener. This SS Fencing sleeve diamond is unissued, and has never been sewn on a uniform. It has no mothing or other damage, and remains in near mint condition. Fencing was a popular sport in the Third Reich. This is a textbook example of this desirable piece of insignia.
Historical Description: The uniforms worn by the various SS branches before and during WWII used a variety of insignia to indicate rank, unit assignment, and role, including collar tabs and shoulder boards, cuff titles, and sleeve diamonds. The sleeve diamonds were initially authorized in October 1935. Each had a distinctive letter, symbol or emblem, with its own unique meaning. SS sleeve diamonds were used to indicate which SS organization the wearer was assigned to, specific roles of SS personnel, special achievements such as proficiency in sports or marksmanship, or to recognize former service in other Nazi Party organizations. Some diamonds were specific to certain SS branches, such as the Allgemeine-SS, Waffen-SS, or the SS-Totenkopfverbände. Other sleeve diamonds could be worn by a member of any SS branch. The materials and construction of original sleeve diamonds varied. Some were either hand-embroidered or machine-embroidered on black wool, while others were “Bevo” machine woven on a rayon base. Generally, silver-gray thread embroidery was used for enlisted ranks and NCOs, while officers wore hand embroidered wire bullion. Diamonds could be edged with silver-colored twisted wire cord for officers, or black and silver twisted cord for NCOs. Originals existed with paper or cloth RZM tags on the reverse, or were unlabeled. In total, there were dozens of different types and variations of these made between 1935-45. Some were produced in limited numbers, and others are more commonly encountered today, but all are desirable and collectible pieces of SS regalia.
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