Product Description: This is a great representative example of the very desirable SS Marksman Sharpshooter Sleeve Diamond. These SS marksmanship sleeve diamonds were introduced in 1937 to recognize skilled riflemen, and are difficult to find today. This one is the Sharpshooter award, which was the second-highest grade in the marksmanship diamond series. It is in excellent condition, showing only extremely minor wear and aging, with no mothing or other damage. The design of this diamond features a “target” of four concentric circles, surmounting half of a wreath of oak leaves, hand embroidered in aluminum wire bullion. This bullion is nearly perfect, with only slight wear, and is tight and perfect as one would typically expect to see on an original piece. The diamond is made of typical SS black wool. The original RZM paper tag on the reverse is still mostly intact. The tag features the RZM logo, the stamped numeric code of the manufacturer, and an “F” tax code. This SS Marksman Sharpshooter Sleeve Diamond measures approximately 3 inches tall by 2 inches wide. None of the SS marksmanship diamonds are common; these higher level diamonds were made in very small numbers and are very scarce.
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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