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Nick

The Great RK debate ?

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I'm also sorry if I made the impression I'm answering in a frivolos matter, trying to "best you', 'score points' or somehow do your person any bad. I also did not try to correct you and I didn't mean the oaks or swords or such as the highest award. I meant the Grand Cross, which is higher than the Golden Oakleaves with Diamonds, but okay.

The Grand Cross was not really a valour award. It was for military leadership and the single awarding of the 1939 issue could be described as rather premature and certainly due to no small amount of pressure from the recipient. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 was Germany's highest award for valour. I tend to presume that students of the subject reading these threads will understand this without the writer having to qualify every statement with clauses and sub-clauses in order to avoid giving ammunition to people looking for the least pretext to question the validity of his statements.

Maybe my sentence was not constructed in a perfect sense, but I did not want to say that 935-4's are awarded. I thought the commata was enought to make the difference.
First you stated that they were not awarded or, to be more precise, that none are known to have been awarded. Then you stated that they were awarded. And now you state that you did not want to say that 935-4s were awarded.

Maybe it's just me...

I also did NOT ignore the beading flaws and I say it again: the pattern of the beading flaws between the A type and B type is DIFFERENT!!!

Yes, this much I understood. You stated that the frame dies remained the same and were repaired, giving rise to the A and B Type crosses. I showed you a cross, which you identified as a Type A with early flaws. However, the flaws do not seem to conform to your table of flaw types, occurring as they do on the outer beading of the horizontal arms.

I then showed you a picture of a 1939 cross described by Gordon as a wartime piece, which looks very like an early Type A cross without any flaws. You did not dispute this.

Are you with me so far?

In the case of the 1957 cross posted for comparison with the 1939 cross, you responded by saying that this was second type 1957 cross with a "dipped ring" frame. Yet it is quite clear to anyone who looks at these crosses that the frames were struck on the same dies.

According to your logic, this means that the 1939 cross must be a fake made after 1957. Yet its frame displays all the characteristics of the cross you identified as a Type A: click here to see it again.

I am looking at three crosses: one is a 1939 version with slight flaws, which you describe as a nice, wartime Type A. The other is a 1939 type described by GW as a wartime cross, without flaws and displaying the same frame characteristics: you made no comment about it. The third is a 1957 cross whose frame was clearly made on the same dies as the two 1939 crosses: you state that this is a second pattern 1957 "dipped ring" type, implying that the frame dies on which its frames were made postdate 1957.

I think there was a single set of frame dies during the war. You agree with this, having stated so yourself. I believe that they were damaged after the introduction of the 1957 pattern KCs and base that belief on the existence of unflawed 1957 KCs with frames clearly struck on the same dies as known, wartime examples. You believe that the dies were damaged during the war and repaired several times. I believe that the firm may have tried to repair the dies anytime between the appearance of the first cracks and the point at which they finally gave up and sold the dies.

If someone could show me a flawed KC by S&L with verifiable provenance - as opposed to cock and bull stories like the one which you included in your Rounder article, which the source later publicly admitted was a lie - I might feel happier about accepting that flawed S&L KCs could be genuine wartime pieces. All I seem to be getting is a literary three-card act, underscored by huffing and puffing tactics in response to quite simple questions.

Regarding the publishing of the article -even if you would, which you wouldn't - you are too late anyway. It has been published by the Militaria Magazine in Germany about a year ago (w/o editing but to good success) and just recently in the Military Advisor (also w/o editing). So far, nobody came forward with a contradiction or such. Quite the contrary. I'm getting lots of e-mails confriming the findings.
Unfortunately, a lot of unedited, unchecked material makes it into these magazines and into other militaria-related magazines as well. The French Militaria and British The Armourer are no exception. I could scan and post some of the howlers and horrors I have seen in all of these magazines. That said, there is much in the way of good content too.

I also thank you for your advise regarding possible subjects I should turn my attention to. I fear it's to late. The next work will be about the whole RK series including the Grand Cross and Star and it will not be a master piece of the english language, word for word crafted to sustain all attacks on semantics. But it will be equipped with nice pictures and explanations and it will be very valuable. And it will also include a very nice and comprehensible explanation of the A and B-type S&L.

I am not "attacking" you with semantics. I am simply asking simple questions to which you have yet to give me simple answers, in plain uncrafted English, without sarcasm and attitude. I am sorry if you take offence at my questions but when you put yourself up as an author of reference works on collectibles which change hands for high prices, you must expect to be challenged by your peers, especially with your track record to date. Yeah, yeah, I know: the "Rounder" thing is a "dead issue" for you but it does have some bearing on your credibility as an authority on the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939.

PK

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I have stated my position and do not feel that my concerns have been addressed by Dietrich. If others are satisfied with his reference articles, that is their business. I hope he is right about the flawed S&L KCs but I remain wary of them. Having just seen Dietrich's latest posts, I think we are going around in circles.

Good luck with the journalism, Dietrich.

PK

Edited by PKeating

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Prosper,

I too will not continue this debate. If you think that you have seriously and firmly disputed the findings in the article we should leave it like that. I know it is not so and I don't have the patience to go thru everything again. Just as a final note: there are NUMEROUS flawed A-Types with provenance - but not even one B-Type (935-4 included).

Thanks for wishing me luck for my jounalism! I might need it but I do not shy back in doing it. There will be valuable critique, there will be (hopefully only minor) mistakes, but there will be a lot of envy and bitter remarks filled with "I know it better". It happened to everybody so far (sometimes very, very unjustified and borderline ridiculous) and it will happen to me. All I can do is staying faithfull and honest!

But you know, here are two important points for me: I don't do it as a source of income and I don't have to do it. I like doing it. Everybody can do it, if he want's to. And if nobody buys the book (which will not happen) it is no skin of my back. I still like doing it. And it will help a lot of people and even advanced people 'in the know' might see some new things.

All the Best!

Dietrich

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Hello

I'm no expert on these RKs, but I have studied the RKs as shown in post #22 and in my opinion, based on what I can make out in the pictures having enhanced them, the frames are diiferent. From what I can see in the photos the frame on the 57 RK has no flaws to the beaded rim, whereas the 39 RK exhibits flaws on the 3'0'clock and 6'0'clock arms. Assuming that what I see is correct, this would suggest that the two are different. Of course if I am correct, it could be argued that the 57 RK was produced on the same dies but is of earlier production and the 39 was made after the 57 set as the dies began to wear. Equally it could be argued that they are from different dies and time periods. I don't know the answer to that. But I am fairly certain that there are some minor flaws on the 39RK and none on the 57.

Please see the attached enlargements of the 3'0'clock arms. The 57 is flawless whereas the 39 appears to have some small flaws evident on the beading.

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.

Edited by DavidM

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David,

the 57 cross shown in post 22 is the second 57 model from S&L - the one with the dipping ring or ring into the frame. One cannot really compare the two crosses because the die is clearly different.

The early 57's are made with the same die as the early post war models, such as the 935 (NOT 935-4). This can be clearly seen by looking at the dent row (lower ingoing 3 o'clock arm - a row of 11 little dents). All B-types have that row and this row can still be seen at the very, very late unmarked, unmagnetic heavily (beading) flawed crosses. But again, the beading flaw pattern of the B-Type crosses is different to the beading flaws of the A-Types (which are clearly pre-May 45). This can easily be verified by putting both pattern next to each other. If one pattern would evolve out of the other (later) one would have an amount of single flaws between the beading with one and more with the other (later one), since flaws do not disappear. Between the A-and B-Type, howeever, there are inclusive and exclusive flaw units which clearly indicates a different pattern.

If, and only if, one would believe that all flawed crosses are post war, one has to face several problems. Not only flat out dismissing crosses with provenance, but also the following:

- why are the 935's (NOT 935-4) unflawed but considered by nearly everybody 'post-war'?

- why do we have unmarked, unflawed, unmagnetic S&L which are considered post war?

We would also need to include certain models as pre-may 45 which are actually considered by some as postwar: the incuse 800, the 800-4.

It is however remarkable that all those models have the dent row and NONE of the pre-May 45 with or without flaws have that dent row. All pre-45 S&L are either marked 800 or micro 800. All have the 9-12 o'clock beading flaw. ALL of them, no exceptionFlawed or unflawed. All B-Types, including the ones Prosper might rightfully call as "British made" have the dent row - none has the 9-12 o'clock knee flaw.

I cannot believe this is strictly coincidence. Not when having looked at a lot of A and B-Types. And every single cross confirmed that. Every cross!

I know it's complicated but I can't help it. There are a ton of S&L models on the market and most of them are post war! here I agree 100% with Prosper! And caution is absolutely necessary!

Dietrich

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I know it's complicated but I can't help it. There are a ton of S&L models on the market and most of them are post war! here I agree 100% with Prosper! And caution is absolutely necessary!

Hallelujah! That is, essentially, the point. The fact that we disagree about the timeline is really a side issue. If you say that you have examined many S&L crosses in the course of your research, I am sure you have. But we agree that the majority of 1939 pattern S&L KCs in circulation are postwar. That is progress.

PK

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David,

the 57 cross shown in post 22 is the second 57 model from S&L - the one with the dipping ring or ring into the frame. One cannot really compare the two crosses because the die is clearly different.

Dietrich

For the record, no, the Cross in question was NOT a second 57 model. I had several 57s at the time both early/late cores and early/late frames. The quality difference is marked between the two frame types in terms of the crispness of the striking and also the thickness of the cross section of the eye, the degree of burnishing etc etc. This one did not match any other second 57 model frame. To me having the advantage of examining the actual piece in hand as opposed to low res images, it was an early frame where the lower edge of the eye had not been removed by burnishing.

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QED. Thank you, Gordon, for your timely intervention. I remain puzzled as to why the 1957 cross in question was mis-identified with such conviction as a second pattern "dipped ring" type when it is so obviously not. It reminds me of a painful discussion on the other website about Army Para Badges, when someone posted an original side-by-side with a fake and insisted that they were exactly the same, even though this was clearly not the case. I suppose some people only see what they want or need to see.

post-281-1167494267.jpg

Anyway, it is quite apparent to anyone with half-functional eyes that this is a good example of an unflawed 1957 Steinhauer & L?ck KC whose frame was clearly struck on the S&L frame dies...before they developed cracks that led to the beading flaws. The only conclusion, surely, to be drawn from this is that the cracks in the frame dies developed sometime after the introduction of the 1957 pattern KC and that all S&L KCs with those flaws running along the outer frame beading postdate 1957.

I re-read Dietrich Maerz's article after he suggested that I hadn't read it at all and while it is well laid-out and appears convincing, I still see no hard proof backing up the timeline aspect of his arguments. The article, and his later posts on the subject, tell me that:

Early "Type A" crosses had no flaws and are definitely wartime.

Later "Type A" crosses had developing flaws and are definitely wartime.

Steinhauer & L?ck effected repairs to their KC frame dies, altering the nature of the flaws.

"Type B" crosses are likely to be of postwar manufacture.

Hmmmm. OK, but this fails to explain the existence both of unflawed, mint 935-4 crosses, which are now generally viewed as suspect, and unflawed 1957 pattern crosses with frames struck on the same dies as crosses accepted as being wartime pieces.

In conclusion, therefore, unflawed S&L crosses obviously predate the point after 1957 at which the frame dies developed cracks while flawed crosses postdate that point. S&L may or may not have effected repairs to the frame dies but if they did, it was far more likely to have been during the period when they were generating income from the illicit manufacture and sale of 1939 pattern crosses for the militaria market. Why, during the war, would a firm like S&L bother trying to repair frame dies that were so damaged as to produce unsightly strikings? They would simply have tasked one of their in-house diecutters with making a new set of dies, especially as it concerned Germany highest award for military valour, and they would naturally have been keen to avoid trouble with the LDO so as to retain their prestigious licence to produce the award.

I cannot prove this. Dietrich may be right. I don't happen to think he is right but I am not out to change anyone's mind. I am merely putting an alternative opinion in front of people. Dietrich's findings have been published on the internet and in print media and will, I gather, soon find theiy way into a book. However, I do not think that he has addressed the question of the existence of unflawed 1957 KCs by S&L. His response, when I pressed him here, that this 1957 cross was a "dipped ring" second type cross is not really a satisfactory one; he failed to answer my question, which sought an explanation for the existence of such crosses long after the dies were supposedly damaged, according to his school of thought. Instead, he kept repeating that the cross was a second pattern "dipped ring" type, when it is so obviously not.

PK

Edited by PKeating

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without going through all the arguments here......

Is it not POSSIBLE (leave probability out) that old Willi Schmidt at S+L spent many an hour between 1939-1980 making KC frames.

Demand from Soldiers, then GIs, then Vets.. alwaysa deman... always a few boxes in the S+l storeroom...

Frames Willi made in 1944 were maybe only used in 1958, after the firm had made a few thousand postwar copies with postwar made rims....

A lot of the theories on the cracked rim base themselves on the warehouse "First in first out" system.... what if for whatever reason the "First in, Last out" thing happened.... KC rims are not tomatoes in a supermarket where stock rotation is important....

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Chris,

I agree with you completely. There was no "use-by" date associated with such metal components and it is perfectly possible that frame components stamped during wartime might have survived to be used in postwar products. I am sure that S&L went in for a lot of postwar assembly of wartime struck components as well as out and out post-war striking.

The inescapable flip side of that particular theory however (and all we have are theories, no established facts - which we will probably never know) is that if unflawed wartime struck frames were used in postwar 1957 pieces, then they may well also have been used in postwar assembled 1939 patterns with swastika, so the unflawed aspect could no longer give total assurance that a Steinhauer RK was original pre-May 1945.

I also find the debate over S&L markings rather interesting. Many of the markings found on S&L pieces have been considered dubious (incuse 800, 800 4 etc) with the argument that there was no reason for S&L to use such a wide range of marks. Given that during wartime S&L was one of the Reich's biggest producers of military decorations, and that after the war they predominantly only served the smaller collector market (as far as wartime decoratuions are concerned), why would they need to use such a wide range of stamps on postwar pieces, if these stamps were not already in existence ? Are we really expected to believe that they ordered up a new range of stamps just to be used on postwar strikings ?

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I take your points but surely the occupation forces confiscated every gram of precious and semi-precious material they could find during the early stages of the occupation? They would have all over medal-making firms, jewellers and other such firms like a rash! In the end, though, our opinions are really hypotheses. One thing remains crystal clear: when you buy an unflawed or slightly flawed 1939 pattern KC by S&L, you really don't know what you are buying unless it is one of the few crosses with rockhard provenance. That is the effect fakers and forgers have on things. They destroy confidence. That is why money forgers used to suffer capital punishment...

PK

Edited by PKeating

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The inescapable flip side of that particular theory however (and all we have are theories, no established facts - which we will probably never know) is that if unflawed wartime struck frames were used in postwar 1957 pieces, then they may well also have been used in postwar assembled 1939 patterns with swastika, so the unflawed aspect could no longer give total assurance that a Steinhauer RK was original pre-May 1945.

There's the rub.

I also find the debate over S&L markings rather interesting. Many of the markings found on S&L pieces have been considered dubious (incuse 800, 800 4 etc) with the argument that there was no reason for S&L to use such a wide range of marks. Given that during wartime S&L was one of the Reich's biggest producers of military decorations, and that after the war they predominantly only served the smaller collector market (as far as wartime decoratuions are concerned), why would they need to use such a wide range of stamps on postwar pieces, if these stamps were not already in existence ? Are we really expected to believe that they ordered up a new range of stamps just to be used on postwar strikings ?

I don't think there is much of a debate, as such. Just a blizzard of misinformation...

PK

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Hmmmm. OK, but this fails to explain the existence both of unflawed, mint 935-4 crosses, which are now generally viewed as suspect, and unflawed 1957 pattern crosses with frames struck on the same dies as crosses accepted as being wartime pieces.

Prosper,

the repaired die which I call the B-Type, has no beading flaws but the dent row and the knee flaw in the 6-9 o'clock area. I think that the reason for repair was to get rid of the big beading flaws. This happened, but other flaws were introduced, mainly the dent row.

The models of the B-Type, which are the 935-4, 935 (magnetic and unmagnetic), incuse 800, 800, 800-4 and the very late (and again beading flawed ) unmagnetic ones and the first 57's ALL have the dent row and the 6-9 o'clock beading flaw BUT not the 9-12 o'clock knee flaw of the A-Type

I personally think that it is no coincidence that all those models have common features (which, by the way can also be found on the 57 models!). I would be very ard pressed to believe that all those frames have been stamepd before 45 and not assembled later.

However, going with that theory for a moment, what could be a possible explanation?

However, I do not think that he has addressed the question of the existence of unflawed 1957 KCs by S&L.

The 57 pattern is the B-Type and shows all the features of the B-Type. The frame is comparable to the 935-4 and the others just with a less pronounced dent row as everybody can see for himself.

Gordon,

I know that what I think is a theory and yes, we might never know. A theory is formulated and then tested against physical findings. So far, nothing has contradicted the theory - which is not to say it might never happen. Also, the theory cannot determine the point in time when a frame was struck and also not the assembly date. It can only show the differences and the time of appearance. IF the 57 unflawed frame was struck before the flawed crosses of the A-type (which I consider war time and I think you, too) why does it not have the same minute flaws and the dent row? For me it's just not conceivable.

What do you think are acceptable war time crosses? Do you consider the 935-4, 935, 800, 800 incuse, 800-4 (all of them no beading flaws) as wartime? If only flawed crosses are suspect, all those models are good?

Dietrich

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"The models of the B-Type, which are the 935-4, 935 (magnetic and unmagnetic), incuse 800, 800, 800-4 and the very late (and again beading flawed ) unmagnetic ones and the first 57's ALL have the dent row and the 6-9 o'clock beading flaw BUT not the 9-12 o'clock knee flaw of the A-Type"

Dietrich, I suppose this is a valid also for one unmarked, unmagnetic, dent row, void of kneeflaw at 9-12 o'clock, but without beading flaws? Where in the timeline does this fit, these crosses are usually refered to as "heavily flawed"?

I would like to thank all participants in this thread for their efforts in making this an interesting topic.

KR

Peter

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Dietrich, I suppose this is a valid also for one unmarked, unmagnetic, dent row, void of kneeflaw at 9-12 o'clock, but without beading flaws? Where in the timeline does this fit, these crosses are usually refered to as "heavily flawed"?

Yes, Peter, it is. I have such an example in the article and that one was the key in clearly finding out that the beading flaws of the A-Type and the B-Type (late) are not of the same pattern. This must be a very late one and might very well be "Made in England" from the die where Prosper witnessed the sale.

Dietrich

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Just to clarify, this is the dent row I'm talking about> Why do all the above menioned models have this row? This is from a 935-4

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This is the comparison between the flaw patterns of the 3o'clock arm. Not the same. Flaws to not come and go.

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Dietrich, thanks for trying to sort this out. I think we have to be very careful and use the correct term, when describing a specific detail i.e. beading flaw or dent row.

"Yes, Peter, it is. I have such an example in the article and that one was the key in clearly finding out that the beading flaws of the A-Type and the B-Type (late) are not of the same pattern. This must be a very late one and might very well be "Made in England" from the die where Prosper witnessed the sale"

My question was in regards of the "un-flawed" (beading) B-type, how can a cross without beading flaws be compared to a flawed ditto, in order to establish differences in the flaws?

KR

Peter

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My question was in regards of the "un-flawed" (beading) B-type, how can a cross without beading flaws be compared to a flawed ditto, in order to establish differences in the flaws?

KR

Peter

Peter, I'm sorry, I don't understand your question.

Dietrich

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