Jump to content
Gentleman's Military Interest Club
George Stimson

S&L RKs -- made in Britain

Recommended Posts

Guest Brian von Etzel

Fact is that S&L produced post-war swastika crosses which now can be identified with a relatively high level of certainty. It must be a B-Type, but it must not be with flaws! That is the tricky thing for beginners in this hobby. DN starts this post-war with the 935 and includes the 800-4 as pre-45.

Yes, and Gordon showed one, with a different core.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

George,

I'll try to answer your question as fully as I can. As I recall the occasion, the potential buyer hemmed and hawed because of the fissures in the "female" frame die and said he would get back to the vendor or, rather, the go-between who brought the dies to London. I saw the frame dies on the table of the restaurant but did not examine them myself. I glimpsed the dies for a KC core but not up close. So, I presume that the frame dies had not been the object of any repair work, hence Jeff Hurst's reticence.

PK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Dave Kane

Prosper, thankyou! That is the 'type' I described in another Forum. Brass, cheaply plated, non-magnetic, poorly finished, 'markings' and placement of them toward the edges. Super light too at about 25grms!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The above 1957 cross has slight flaws on the beading, indicating that the frame haves were struck after the dies had suffered damage that worsened over the years. Below is an early 1957 RK by S&L with no apparent evidence of any die flaws at all.

PK

Um, this is actually the same Cross as in the previous post Prosper, complete with die flaws. I am not disputing your point however, as I have had very early 57 RK with no die flaws. Problem is that date of assembly of the components doesn't necessarily equate with the date of their manufacture.

I seem to remember you posted this image of the very heavily flawed and obviously postwar piece some years back on another Forum and it didn't get the attention it deserved then. The argument hasn't really moved on much since then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Problem is that date of assembly of the components doesn't necessarily equate with the date of their manufacture.

Very true. So, really, if we're honest about it, there is actually no practical way of resolving this debate! LOL! However, sometimes we shouldn't let the practicalities get in the way of a good debate. Joking aside, I think it's pretty clear that some good-looking S&L KCs may not be of wartime manufacture but I don't think any of us can actually prove anything! I know I can't!

P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dies were in London early in the summer of 1981. I know because I saw them with my own eyes when they were offered to the late Jeff Craig alias Hurst. He hesitated because of the damage and the dies were reportedly sold to Adrian Forman. I cannot prove that Forman bought them and nor can I prove that he ever produced KCs using them but the question is academic as far as I am concerned because I view all 1939 pattern S&L KCs with die flaws as suspect, no matter how anyone tries to explain them.

PK

How sure are you that those were actually S&L dies? Was there are company mark on it or could you identify the beading?

Edited by Dietrich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Dave Kane

Gordon, with all due respect, considering the study you have provided to the community.....what criteria do you use to determine a war time (made) Cross as to that of post war assembled piece?

Do you consider the '935' Cross period...the unmarked and non-magnetic examples being sold for 50% of what would have been obtained just a handful of years ago, period ?

Hard questions sure but I and I suspect many others are curious.... tongue.gif

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very true. So, really, if we're honest about it, there is actually no practical way of resolving this debate!

I actually do not agree. There are ways at least to identify the early type and under the safe assumption of soem solid precendence I would buy a flawed A-Type any time without hesitation. And I would NOT buy a FLAWED B-Type.

But the S&L debate is more driven by other things then pure rational.

Dietrich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest hawkeye

I agree with Dietrich's statement. His article on the S&L RKs makes alot of sense and, like any good theory, is proven to be true when new crosses are evaluated. This piece of information, identificatoin of "A" and "B" type of S&L RKs has done a tremendous help in identifying period and post war crosses. It appears to be no longer an issue of shying away from flawed crosses. As above, the "A" type flawed crosses are probably perfectly okay, while the flawed "B" type crosses probably are not. Within the class of "B" crosses, a core varying from other S&Ls as well as non-standard materials, such as a neusilber frame or non-ferrous core, would lead one to conclude that a cross may have been produced after the war.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very true. So, really, if we're honest about it, there is actually no practical way of resolving this debate! LOL! However, sometimes we shouldn't let the practicalities get in the way of a good debate. Joking aside, I think it's pretty clear that some good-looking S&L KCs may not be of wartime manufacture but I don't think any of us can actually prove anything! I know I can't!

P

I agree. I have absolutely no reason to doubt your recollection re the selling of the S&L tooling. Its beyond doubt that fake S&L RK have been made some of which are better quality than others.

There is plenty of circumstantial evidence around S&L pieces but anyone wanting cast iron documented proof of anything is likely to have a long wait.

Until then people will just have to make their own minds up which of the various theories and opinions, some more credible than others, they are most comfortable with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How sure are you that those were actually S&L dies? Was there are company mark on it or could you identify the beading?

As I said, I did not closely examine them and would not have known one set of dies from another according to the identity of the firm that used them in any case as the 'science' back then of identifying the manufacturer of one cross as opposed to another really wasn't as precise as it is today. People didn't really take notice of such considerations; a KC was a KC...which is why it was easier for certain dealers to sell convincing fakes and repops to punters.

I knew they were Steinhauer & L?ck dies becaiuse the funny little man who had them in his bag said they Steinhauer & L?ck KC dies and because Jeff Hurst and I went to that Greek taverna in East London, to the north of Clerkenwell, near the Old Street roundabout, for the specific purpose of meeting this man who was brokering these dies. He had other dies too but that's irrelevant here.

I do however recall the cracks in the dies in positions corresponding to what I now know to be the beading at the 9-o-clock and 3-o-clock positions of the S&L KC arms.

I actually do not agree. There are ways at least to identify the early type and under the safe assumption of soem solid precendence I would buy a flawed A-Type any time without hesitation. And I would NOT buy a FLAWED B-Type.

But the S&L debate is more driven by other things then pure rational.

I disagree. My viewpoint that any 1939 pattern KC by Steinhauer & L?ck displaying die flaws to the beading on the horizontal arms is based on simple rationale: there are 1957 pattern S&L KCs without flaws and there are 1957 pattern S&L KCs with flaws, so it is rational to conclude that the dies were damaged after the commencement of production by Steinhauer & L?ck of 1957 pattern KCs.

Your A-Type and B-Type argument is a convincing one and might be true but you cannot prove it anymore than anyone can prove that a set of Godet EL or ELS was made in the 1940s or the 1960s. All this stuff one hears about "ways of identifying the wartime examples" and how the guardians of this information cannot divulge it because it would help fakers does not convince me because I know too much about the fakery and forgery industry.

It could well be the case that Steinhauer & L?ck had a stock of 800 silver frame stampings with flaws in storage since before the end of the war, which they used up to produce illegal Nazi pattern KCs from the late 1940s up until the point at which they exhausted this stock of frame stampings.

If that is the case, then that would make the frames wartime pieces and perhaps even the cores if one applies the same theory. But the resultant KC would still not be a genuine example of the award. It would be a postwar copy assembled by the makers from bits and pieces.

I regret to say that once it becomes apparent that a German or Austrian firm has been using original wartime tooling to produce Nazi pattern medals and badges "for collectors", then I tend to be wary of the medals and badges in question.

Of course, the differences between some firms' wartime and postwar products is quite obvious, as in the case of the Viennese firm Souval. But when dealing with firms like Godet and Steinhauer & L?ck and their output back in the 1950s and 1960s, when they still used the techniques and methods of the 1930s and 1940s - as well as the same artisans and personnel before they got too old - then there is a serious problem.

Eveb if you show me a perfect, unflawed 1939 pattern KC by Steinhauer & L?ck, all I can tell myself, I am afraid, is that it predates the point at which the frame dies became damaged in the late 1950s. I would need to see an example with, for instance, damage to the finish of the core that showed up in original wartime photographs of the recipient before I would be convinced that the cross was likely to be a wartime one. The same applies, by the way, to Klein & Quenzer KCs, as far as I am concerned.

Anyway, if we take the cross below, a handsome Steinhauer & L?ck KC whose current owner swears by the story that it came from the estate of a French veteran of the 2 DB who brought it home at the end of the war, one can see slight flaws on the beading, indicating that the frame halves of this cross were struck on the dies comparitively soon after the damage happened, before it worsened.

Now, I know this cross personally and it is a lovely object. I would love to be assured that it is a wartime cross. But those flaws raise doubts in my mind that your arguments, well-reasoned though they are, have not dispelled.

As things stand, one can put a 1957 pattern cross without flaws on the table beside this beautiful cross and the conclusion must be that the 1939 pattern cross postdates the 1957 pattern cross, unless we believe that both frames came from a stock that survived the turbulent years of the immediate postwar era safe and sound in the firm's stores.

In the case of silver frames, to relate back to Mr Bean's earlier point, I think it improbable that a German firm would have hung onto any precious or semi-precious metals in the immediate postwar years. If not confiscated by the occupying powers, the management of the firm would probably have sold the metal on the black market, especially in the days or weeks after the total devaluation of the mark in 1949 as part of the process of building the New Germany. Either that or an employee would have stolen it!

I have examined an unflawed 1957 pattern cross whose frames were not made of silver. Given the LDO's unequivocal order early in 1941 outlawing KCs made of anything but iron and silver, does this mean that S&L kept a stock of non-silver KC frames from 1939 and 1940 and trotted them out in 1957 to make these unflawed 1957 pattern crosses? How come they did not use them all up making 1939 pattern crosses between 1946 and 1957?

It's all a question of possibility versus probability, isn't it? In order to believe in flawed 1939 pattern KCs by S&L, we are being asked to believe in a series of relatively numerous improbables. So, Dietrich, how would you classify the cross posted below?

PK

Edited by PKeating

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prosper,

If you read my article you will see that there is a difference between the pre 45 flaw pattern and the post 57 flaw pattern. They are not the same and therefore cannot be treated the same. And this is not a theory it's a physical fact. However, the romantics in the collection community have sometimes a huge prpoblem with physics.

It has not set in that S&L had (at least) two dies (or one repaired die) and that the flaw patterns are not the same and other indicators are there also. Again, this is not theory, it's fact. Either two dies or one repaired die. This makes the whole flaw issue a mute point, at least for the A-Types.

The cross you show is an A-Type, the starting flaws of the A-Type are there, no dent row: it is clearly and w/o any doubt pre-45. It is not a question of possibility versus probability - it's a question of physics.

And thanks for the clarification regarding the S& dies.

Edited by Dietrich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Brian von Etzel

Prosper, very good and some real world knowledge about postwar Germany that most just do not get.

Dietrich, sorry but, your article although very convincing does not put a time line into place that a rational person can 'buy' with absolute certainty.

I see the differences in crosses as you do but I do not subscribe to what you consider a rational conclusion based on what you have shown which are the absolute differences in a cross.

You mix the absolutes with 'reasonable conclusions' and expect all to subscribe to the end result.

There are still more unknowns here and regarding the SL die flaws, I too have a problem with '39 flawed crosses.

I personally subscribe to the single die, cracked, repaired, and failed again. But unlike you, Dietrich, I'm putting absolute dates on this progression.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But unlike you, Dietrich, I'm putting absolute dates on this progression.

Brian,

I don't understand what you are saying? What are the absolute dates?

But again, for me and only for me the subject is clear and everybody else can take out of it what he wants. If you believe that flawed A-type crosses are post war, so be it.

This topic will be discussed again and again till it's so twisted that nobody treally knows anymore what's real and what's not. And that's fine, too.

Dietrich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

user posted image

So this is a "Type B fake"?

user posted image

And this is an original Type A?

If you read my article you will see that there is a difference between the pre 45 flaw pattern and the post 57 flaw pattern. They are not the same and therefore cannot be treated the same. And this is not a theory it's a physical fact. However, the romantics in the collection community have sometimes a huge prpoblem with physics.

There is indeed a difference between the flaw patterns on early and late flawed S&L KCs. As the cracks in the dies grew larger, their signature on the beading changed. Equally, that is not a theory, it's a physical fact, to borrow your words.

Now, maybe I am going blind but I really cannot see any flaws on the beading of what you describe as the Type B fake, reproduced above. I can quite clearly see flaws on what you describe as the Type A cross. You contend that this Type B cross is a postwar fake. What would you say to the suggestion that it could be a pre-March 1941 cross, made by Steinhauer & L?ck before the LDO outlawed the use of anything but iron and silver in KC manufacture?

The frames share so many features that it is reasonable to say that they were struck on the same dies. So, the Type A above, with visible flaws, would postdate the Type B. musn't it? Or, at least, its frame halves must postdate its earlier unflawed or less flawed counterparts?

Of course, I haven't seen your article yet and I look forward to reading it. I would also like to see where the flaws occur on the Type B cross pictured above.

PK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sending me the article, Dietrich. It's a well-written, well laid-out piece and certainly merits consideration as a serious thesis. I will read and digest it but in the meantime, how sure are you that Steinhauer & L?ck had a large parts bin into which KC frame stampings were thrown, thus forming strata by which one could estimate the date of manufacture as if by taking a core sample from, for example, glacier ice? And wouldn't anything made of silver and found on government or commercial premises have been impounded by the British when they captured the town of Ludenscheid? Or perhaps stolen by soldiers? Or by Germans?

PK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prosper,

I haven't read the article in a while but I don't recall that I rely somehow on part bins or such. Also, of course I do not know what happened to any material at S&L after the war, stolen, taken by employees, put in the safe by the boss? Anything is possible. Still does not change the time line itself, only the position of this line in time.

I only wanted to show that there are two die types (one and the same repaired or two - doesn't matter).

And you will see that the 3 o'clock flaw pattern is not the same between A and B Type - but the imprtant thing are the dent row and the knee flaws.

Dietrich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah yes, excuse me, you don't in fact rely on the bin theory at all. My apologies. Quite the contrary in fact. You call is a far-fetched theory. I can see how you arrive at the conclusion that there were two different sets of frame die. It's a reasonable conclusion when one studies the various flaws. I am intrigued, though, by the fact that the dies appear to have been identical. When one studies various parts of the beading, particualarly in the corners, it can be seen that if one die is different from the other, then it's an identical twin, flaws aside.

Some pundits would attribute this to the existence of a 'mother die' from which the dies were made but no die-cutter I have ever asked was able to confirm such a method. So what we have is a die-cutter who was able to make, to all intents and purposes, identical copies of what one would call the Type A frame dies. Or perhaps he just made the top die. But he managed to reproduce various aspects of the beading to an astonishing degree of exactness.

How about the theory, proposed by some in the past, that the flaws sometimes differ slightly because of the way in which the top die might have been mounted on the press? The die would have been clamped in position, the clamp being secured by high tensile bolts bearing on the reverse of the clamp blocks. If the machinist tooling up the press tightened the bolts manually, without the aid of a torque wrench (and why should he use a torque wrench when the twist of a hand on an 8" wrench (spanner) can exert a ton or more of pressure?), the pressure bearing on the die would have affected the cracks.

Do you see what I mean? Let's say that you have a rectangular top die, fitted into the adjustable clamp system on the press, with four clamp blocks, each secured by two bolts for evenness of pressure. Then you also have a block behind the die, held by an adjustable pillar, which is screwed down to bring pressure to bear on the reverse of the die, thereby steadying and reinforcing it. All of these factors would cause the cracks in the die to open and close to varying degrees, depending on how much pressure were bearing on the die and whence the pressure was coming. Same die, same cracks, worsening over time but varying slightly with each production run because of (a) the pressure factors and (b) the enlargement of the cracks over time.

Of course, this still doesn't explain to me why there are 1957 pattern S&L KCs with unflawed frames. In the case of early S&L 1957 KCs with non-silver frames, I believe that the LDO insisted upon the surrender of all KCs and components not conforming to LDO regulations by the firms they licenced to produce the award when the retail sale of the KC was eventually forbidden. Firms might have retained some bits and pieces but would a firm like S&L have had enough of these illegal non-silver KC frames in stock twelve years after the war to produce a production run of unflawed 1957 pattern KCs? Regarding 800 silver S&L KCs with 1957 cores and unflawed frames, would S&L have been able to keep any precious or semi-precious metal in stock after the capitulation?

Furthermore, if we accept that there were two sets of frames dies, one a perfect copy of the other, right down to its tendency to crack, then this begs the question as to why a firm that clearly produced KCs with flaws on the beading, which made it past LDO inspectors, bothered to go to the trouble of making a second set of dies when the PKF and the LDO were accepting the crosses made on the flawed dies.

PK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about the theory, proposed by some in the past, that the flaws sometimes differ slightly because of the way in which the top die might have been mounted on the press? The die would have been clamped in position, the clamp being secured by high tensile bolts bearing on the reverse of the clamp blocks. If the machinist tooling up the press tightened the bolts manually, without the aid of a torque wrench (and why should he use a torque wrench when the twist of a hand on an 8" wrench (spanner) can exert a ton or more of pressure?), the pressure bearing on the die would have affected the cracks.

Do you see what I mean? Let's say that you have a rectangular top die, fitted into the adjustable clamp system on the press, with four clamp blocks, each secured by two bolts for evenness of pressure. Then you also have a block behind the die, held by an adjustable pillar, which is screwed down to bring pressure to bear on the reverse of the die, thereby steadying and reinforcing it. All of these factors would cause the cracks in the die to open and close to varying degrees, depending on how much pressure were bearing on the die and whence the pressure was coming. Same die, same cracks, worsening over time but varying slightly with each production run because of (a) the pressure factors and (b) the enlargement of the cracks over time.

PK

Sounds like a perfectly reasonable and logical suggestion.

Just a couple of points of info though. On the banning of the retail sale of RK, the only published announcements I have seen refer to the surrender of RK intended for sale to the Ordenskanzlei, no mention of surrendering unused components. Of course if it was a firm, like Schickle, who only made them for the retail market and had no contract to supply them officially, any unassembled components wouldn't have been of much use thereafter.

Regarding the use of "incorrect" materials, the only published pronouncements I have seen relate to the use of materials other than iron in the core, this being frowned upon for the reason that it could no longer of course be considered an "iron" cross if there was no iron in it. Never seen any warning re the use of neusilber or other materials rather than real silver on the frame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not own an RK of any type, and so I "have no horse in this race."

I was wondering, though, whether anyone had ever gone directly to S&L to see if they could shed any light on their wartime production methods or figures? It also seems conceivable, though just barely, that someone who was working at S&L in 1945 might still be alive somewhere.

Is there any possibility of going directly to the source on these questions of production methods and production techniques? In other words, to find out if there were indeed "parts bins" for components of RK's used as part of the production method.

Or is the entire subject verboten, particularly in light of the wandering dies?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prosper, Grodon,

I have some problems with the 'different' mounting' theory. For sure there might be differences each time you set up the dies for production, clearly. But the flaw pattern between the A and B Type is to different between each other BUT also too congruent inside each type to really believe in taht. If one looks at the pattern of lets say the A-Type and at a particulat flaw it's always the same shape. The same applies for the B-Type and the pattern is not the same between the two, i.e. it's exclusive.

Furthermore, the different settings would also need to produce the dent row (something people really do not pay the necessary attention to) and the 6-9 o'clock knee flaw and making the 9-12 o'clock disappear. I just can't believe that.

Maybe it is one die that was repaired, not two identical dies. I think the important thing here is to realize that there are (at least) two die stages: A and B. (new or repaired, doesn't matter). The first B-Type is the 935-4.

And Prosper, yes, there are unflawed 57's and they are of the B-Type: They have the dent row and they have the 6-9 o'clock knee flaw. If one does not subscribe to the 'perfect duplication including flaws', it's a clear indication that the flawed B-Types are made after 57!

So far my therory fits the time line. The task really is to find out which model was the last pre-45 B-Type: 800-4, incuse 800, 935 ??? I honestly do not know. Maybe the future brings more light to this.

Dietrich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill,

the problem with S&L nowadays is for sure a political one. Nobody will say anything about the Nazi-past. So you can scrap that. They are supplying the current Bundesverdienstkreuz and they will not even answer a phone call.

To find a survivor might be possible.

I know of the publisher of the german "Militari" magazine who talked years ago with the VP of S&L that the post war swastika production is true. Gordon knows that too. So the question really is not whether they did it, they absolutely did. The question is: which types did they do! Would there still be somebody knowing this and would there be records?

Dietrich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×