Product Description: This SS Visor Cap Skull is a nice example of this iconic and extremely desirable SS emblem. This one was made by the firm of F. W. Assmann in Lüdenscheid, and is the type known to collectors as variant 4b. It is made of zinc that originally had a silvered finish. Most of the finish has evaporated with time, and this skull has mostly reverted to the gray color of the base metal as is commonly seen with these zinc pieces. Traces of silvering remain evident. The front of this skull shows minimal wear, and all of the original detail is intact, with some tiny spots of oxidation along the bottom edge. The reverse of this SS Visor Cap Skull has an old patina, and is marked “Ges. Gesch.” indicating a legally protected design. The two prongs for affixing this to a cap are made of round brass wire. They appear to be the original prongs, but both have been repaired, as evidenced by newer solder affixing them to the skull. This Totenkopf is a nice representative example, that remains in excellent condition.
Historical Description: The SS was founded as a paramilitary branch of the Nazi Party in 1925. Beginning in 1927, the SS began to wear a German national eagle and swastika emblem on their headgear. The SS were the first to adopt this practice, but the SA and other Nazi organizations soon began to use the same pinned-on metal cap eagle, which became known as a “political” type cap eagle as it was different from those used by the various military branches. Beneath this eagle, instead of a wreathed national colors cockade, the early SS wore a jawless skull emblem, sometimes called a “Danziger” skull, which was based on a traditional “Totenkopf” death’s-head emblem that had been used in the Prussian military since the time of Frederick the Great. This jawless skull is referred to by collectors as the first pattern SS skull. On October 6, 1934, the SS introduced a new pattern of cap skull that was unlike the traditional design that had previously been adopted. This second pattern SS skull was used until the end of WWII and is the iconic Totenkopf widely associated with the SS today. It was initially worn in conjunction with the political style cap eagle, but in February 1936 the SS introduced a new type of cap eagle to differentiate from other political organizations. This eagle had longer wings than the early political type, and was the pattern worn by the SS together with the second pattern Totenkopf, until 1945. Early SS cap insignia was made from a variety of materials including aluminum, which was left bare, and Tombak, a brass alloy, which was treated with a silver finish. Some examples were made of a composite material called CupAl, which is made by coating aluminum with copper sheet using a special mechanical process. Later, during the later years of WWII, SS cap insignia was generally made of zinc that was treated with a silver wash. As with all SS regalia, SS cap insignia is very collectible today.
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