Product Description: This Stahlhelm Imperial Gorget is a rare piece. The front is super detailed, with a high relief Imperial type crowned eagle perched atop a wreath that surrounds the iconic steel helmet emblem of the Stahlhelm veterans organization. The wreathed helmet is flanked on both sides by flags. The obverse of this hard to find pattern has a nice silver finish, with some flaking, mostly near the edges. The upper part of this gorget has for integral eyelets, that retain the original chain that allowed this to be worn around the neck of a Stahlhelm standard bearer. The chain is a simple type, with wire links. The even, old patina on the chain is a perfect match with the gorget. The reverse of this Stahlhelm Imperial Gorget is flat. It retains nearly all of the original silvering, with some areas where it looks like labels were affixed long ago. Two of the original three original brass nuts and threaded posts used to assemble the gorget are still intact. This is a really interesting variant of the Stahlhelm gorget, one of several that are known. The condition is excellent.
Historical Description: 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 paramilitary 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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