Product Description: This Tombak RZM 52 SS Skull is a very nice and rare early piece of SS insignia. It’s a choice and very desirable piece, that was intended for wear on SS headgear. This is the second pattern of SS cap skull. It is made of a stamped brass alloy (Tombak). The obverse retains very nice silver electroplating, with some wear that exposes the muted gold color of the base metal in some areas. The remaining silvering has a nice, even tone. The light wear to the obverse has left a few scattered small marks here and there. The reverse of this Tombak RZM 52 SS Skull never had any silver finish. It’s nicely marked, with the round “RZM” logo of the Reichszeugmeisterei as well as the maker code “52” indicating manufacture by the prestigious firm of Deschler in Munich. Both of the original, thin flat wire prongs are intact. These are soldered directly to the back of the skull, with no repairs. Some minor bends to the prongs suggest this is a piece that was worn on a hat. These skulls are extremely sought-after and have become very hard to find. This one 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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