Product Description: This pair of SS General Overcoat Shoulder Boards is an extremely scarce and desirable set of insignia. This pattern of shoulder insignia was worn by members of the Waffen-SS with the rank of SS-Gruppenführer. This is an original, matching pair. The tops of these boards are made of intertwined gold and silver wire braid, which shows light wear, as well as age patina and toning. The length of these boards indicates they were intended for wear on an overcoat. Each board has a single diamond-shaped rank pip, each held in place with two original steel prongs. Underneath, each of these SS General Overcoat Shoulder Boards has an underlay of fine white wool badge cloth wrapped around an internal stiffener. The white wool shows some small moth nips and munches, with one board more affected by this than the other, but no major damage. The white wool tongues for affixing these slip-on style boards to an overcoat are intact. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a set of insignia intended for wear by a very high-ranking SS officer. The condition of this choice set rates as excellent.
Historical Description: The German military as well as civil, political and paramilitary organizations traditionally used shoulder straps and shoulder boards as uniform insignia, to denote the rank or function of the wearer. After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, there was a tremendous increase in the number of groups and organizations in Germany wearing officially sanctioned uniforms, and most of these organizations used shoulder straps and shoulder boards as a component of their regalia. The exact color of piping utilized, the material color, the type of braid or Tresse that was used, and the number or location of devices and pips present, allow shoulder boards to be tracked to the exact organization that issued them, and often yield even further detail such as the wearer’s rank and even his specific military unit. Normally worn in pairs, the boards were in some cases plain, and in other cases adorned with detailed embroidery or metal emblems. Some shoulder boards were made in the millions, others were specific to a single individual.
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