Maker: “83” Willy Annetsberger in Munich
Description: The SS/SA Gorget is an extremely desirable piece of early Nazi regalia. It was introduced prior to the Reichsparteitag rallies of August 1929 and was worn by all standard bearers of the SA and SS, both those who carried the “Deutschland Erwache” standards and those who carried unit flags. It was worn with the brown shirt as well as with the four pocket uniform. The SS/SA gorget is a heart shaped plate, about 4-3/4” across and 5-1/4” high, made of nickel plated metal, with a separate “sun burst” plate and national eagle with mobile swastika emblem. Each upper corner features a gilt metal button. The front of this gorget plate retains nearly all of the original finish, with a few spots and scuff marks. The separate eagle emblem shows very little wear and nearly all of the original silver-colored finish is present. The rear of the SS/SA gorget features two metal hooks that were used to secure it to the uniform when worn. This one has an RZM stamp on the left prong, and the manufacturer code “83” on the middle prong, indicating manufacture by Willy Annetsberger in Munich. The style of the marking suggests this is probably an early example. The original black backing felt is complete and secure with only shrinkage around the left and right sides of the gorget. This gorget is complete with its original chain, made of closely formed wire links, nickel plated. Overall, an attractive example of regalia used by the standard bearers of the SA and SS, even in the time of the “Kampfzeit.”
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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