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Everything posted by PKeating

  1. The Police Nationale came out of their HQ on the Île de la Cité in Paris and stations across the capital at the last minute and engaged the Germans. To be fair, many police and gendarmes did their best not to collaborate and even to help the Resistance, as well as Jews and other hunted people, but the organisations remain forever tarred with the «collabo» brush. General de Gaulle didn't make too much of an issue of it as he was keen to promote national unity after the Liberation. Mind you, there was, effectively, a civil war from 1944 to 1947, with old partisan groups fighting one another and old scores being settled. Until de Gaulle clamped down on it. This is why so many very bad people ended up as respectable members of the postwar establishment, including Papon and Mitterand.
  2. And to round it off, courtesy of Google Maps, a current view of the same place today. Apart from the 1960s Stalinist monstrosity on the right, which is part of the town hall, the street hasn't changed much. The pharmacy is still a pharmacy. I went there and the same family still own it. The grandson's eyes were out on stalks as he looked at the photos. So I shall make him some good copies to hang in the shop.
  3. A detail from another of the photos. The older man with the cigarette in his mouth, holding a stick grenade, is wearing the same brassard as the one from the Monnier group. Note the pharmacy in the background with the illuminated green (they were always green) cross outside. This is on the corner of the rue des Batignolles and the rue Mariotte, just by the town hall, where the pavement widens to form a little place in front of the town hall, out of shot to the left in the photo.
  4. Young René Monnier is the lad in the pale shirt standing beside the turret of the tank, with his hand on the shoulder of the old chap holding the stick grenade. Sadly, his armband can't be seen but in another of the photos, two types of FFI brassard are visible, one of which is clearly the same type as the one pictured above, as issued to Monnier, who worked for the Mairie. Look at this photo. Look at what some of them wearing on their feet, at the worn-out, shabby clothing, at the faces marked by stress, tiredness and hunger. These are photos taken during the Uprising, not several days later when people made an effort for the camera. Most of the weapons are French, except for the stick grenades and, interestingly, the Thompson, complete with US Army-issue magazine pouch, proof that the inner city Paris Resistance got some of the weapons from airdrops in the countryside outside the city.
  5. Thanks, lads. The Battle of Paris or l'Insurrection, as some veterans call it, is a surprisingly little-known subject. A lot of people think it was little more than a few lately-come opportunists lobbing Molotov cocktails at German trucks speeding out of the city but it was a lot more violent than that. The problem, perhaps, is that many of the partisan units in the suburbs were Communist FTP rather than Gaullist FFI, although the Gaullists liked to give the impression that everyone was happily united under the FFI banner. The Battle of St-Denis, for instance, left the centre of the suburb looking like Stalingrad or Grozny, German tanks and self-propelled guns having gone down streets pumping HE rounds into the buildings one after the other as the FTP fighters moved from house to house. There was quite severe fighting, but with firearms rather than artillery, around the Batignolles and Clichy districts because they were on main routes towards the roads to the north and the east, along which German units were retreating. René Monnier, who was born in 1925, was a teenaged bill poster working for the Mairie du IXe. The photos were actually taken outside the Marie du XVIIe (17th District) , which adjoins the 9th District so, given that two types of FFI brassard are visible, it seems that Monnier's unit came north from their HQ in the town hall of the 9th District in the rue Drouot, a mile or so to the south-east, to join in the harassment of Germans trying to escape towards the Portes de Clignancourt and La Chapelle, towards St-Ouen and St-Denis, where the FTP were waiting. His family also gave me a German bilingual notice he had saved for posterity, glued to some plywood. It seems stable enough so I might just glaze it. My wife has of course forbidden me to hang it up, even in my study. It is quite a grim reminder of the moment when all pretence at the Paris-Berlin Alliance went out the window. Monnier became involved with the Resistance in 1942 as a messenger. He certainly took part in the fighting around the Place de Chichy and the rue des Batignolles in August 1944. He was then, like other FFI men who had seen action and were of military age, taken into Leclerc's 2nd Armoured Division, serving with the 32nd Artillery Regiment until the end of the war, when he was demobbed. Towards the end of his life, he lived near us, on the Avenue de la République, having worked as a plumber. I happened to be in a little coin and medal shop, now closed, when one of the grandchildren came in, seeking to sell some of the stuff. Just luck, really.
  6. I showed a few of these items before, some years ago, but I was contacted a couple of times since then by the grandson who gave me some additional pieces, including the photographs taken outside and around the town hall of the 9th District of paris during the actual Battle of Paris in August 1944 and, more recently, his grandfather's Resistance Medal, a set of Paris FFI veteran badges by Arthus Bertrand and a 32nd Artillery Regiment in its paper packet by Drago, who also made the extremely rare FFI Paris Battalion badge in the top righthand of the display. Close-ups of the photos show the grandfather standing on the tank and that several of the partisans are wearing this armband, stamped "Milices Patriotiques FFI" and authorised by the stamp of the Mairie du IXe Arrondissement Paris.
  7. So glad you managed to persuade her to let you look after the stuff. Things have a nasty habit of disappearing from retirement homes. Often nicked by ill-paid staff. I recently exposed a case where over £1 million of classic motorcycles were taken from an old chap's house after he died in a hospice but before his funeral and, of course, well before any attempt at inventory for probate. Anyone with an elderly relative in a home should have their valuable possessions inventoried by a notary or the family solicitor, in the presence of the home management, just so that there is a record of them. It happens in hospitals. After my mother died of dehydration in a British hospital following a ruptured ulcer - they "made her comfortable" because they thought she was eighty instead of sixty, after three days on the floor of her home, and let her die - we couldn't find any of her rings or the gold pendant she always wore. Stolen off her body. And as for lending anything to museums: don't! It'll be stolen by staff or sold off out the back door before you can say Jack Robinson.
  8. I would say that anyone bidding on this item would be aware of its Shoah associations. Regarding the Gypsy children, let's take a look at the chronology. Nazi racial dogma initially contended that Gypsies were Aryan. However, the decision was made on 30.1.1940 to transfer Germany's Gypsies to Poland. It is true that German death squads were already murdering Gypsies there. However, these were ad hoc actions predating the concept and instigation of the Final Solution and the imposition of Germanic order upon the killing process. Himmler's office did not order the incarceration of Gypsies in concentration camps until 16.12.1942. Prior to this, Himmler promoted the sterilisation rather than the killing of Gypsies. As for this relic, it is hard to see how a US Army doctor "working inside the camp system after the war" could have obtained it were it from a camp where mass-killings involving Zyklon-B took place. Even Buchenwald was under Soviet and then East German control. Unless Gottlieb was referring to a Soviet doctor... Business must be bad to be scraping the bottom of the barrel like this. Really creepy... But maybe we should try to tell the buyer that this can was probably not involved in the last, agonising moments of women and small children. Then he can get a refund for his fake Precious from Gollum. PK
  9. Very nice. The frame is clearly struck on the same dies as Schickle's wartime crosses. However, it is interesting that the core is the same as the one encountered in early 1957 Ritterkreuze by Steinhauer & Lück, known by some collectors as the Type B, which is odd as the later 1957 S&L RK had different cores altogether.
  10. I shan't say that it's a pleasure as it is never nice giving someone bad news but hats off to you for taking it like a man! I hope you get the dough back. I imagine these fakes will catch quite a few people out. PK
  11. If the person who sold you this badge was kind enough to drop his price then I hope he will be kind enough to give you a refund when you return it to him. I am afraid that it is a fake. It is certainly one of the better copies of a prewar Type 2 badge I have seen to date. Some of the diving eagle's feathers , particularly around the leading edges of the wings, are quite well-reproduced. However, the eagle seems to have more in common with the eagles struck for 1957 pattern LW and Heer Parachutist Badges although it is not quite the same. Having checked my files, I have some photos somewhere of a silver badge bought by someone a couple of years ago that may have been struck on the same dies. However, there is no such thing as the perfect forgery. I have circled a few of areas of interest to show differences that could not have occurred had the component parts of the your badge been struck on C E Juncker's dies. The firm's hallmark is very well done too and dangerously close to the hallmarks found on the handful of Type 2 badges so marked. The hallmarks on the Type 1 badges were like this but the upright part of the 'L' in 'BERLIN' leans back towards the 'R', which was obviously corrected sometime in 1937. Regarding the case, it is also a copy. The lettering is close to that on the small number of original FSA (Heer) cases of this type known to have survived but there are noticeable differences once a comparison is made. The tails of the capital 'A' of 'Abzeichen' and the small 's' differ from the the original form. There are some other differences too. Close, but like the badge, no banana. The price is also a giveaway. We are all looking for that wonderful bargain and we have all allowed our excitement to guide us in the past when we think we have found it. Digger is not the first to be caught out by convincing Army Parachutist Badges and, with what appears to be a new generation of fake in the form of this badge, he shan't be the last, sadly. When Eric Queen and I published our seminal article on the subject, several leading dealers had to give refunds several times over. With prices of these badges rising even higher recently, it is unsurprising that the fakers are trying to perfect their wares. Were this a genuine badge, it would be a very early Type 2a with the wide hinge and the Heer eagle's beak cut out as on the Type 1 badges, a practice abandoned soon after the Type 2 badges were introduced. The badge alone would command at least three times more than the $1,200 AUD the seller initially asked. With an original case, the price would be much higher.
  12. I enlarged your photo as much as I could. It is now 92KB. As you can see, it is a bit blurry. It looks like an early Type 2a badge with the wider hinge and the 'beardless' Heer eagle. The hallmark is of the correct type, similar to that seen on all Type 1 aluminium badges but with the 'leaning L' corrected as on the handful of original Type 2 aluminium badges bearing the firm's hallmark. However, there seem to be a few anomalies I have not observed on original badges, although this could be due to blurriness and distortion of the images. The hinge set-up is not quite the same as on known originals, the outer parts being wider than expected. The hook lacks the chamfer where it is soldered to the wreath. There again, given the rather clumsy filework around the Heer eagle's head, this might have been finished by an apprentice. Some of these badges left the workshop with some quite visible flaws. However, I cannot form any definite conclusions based on the photograph of the obverse as it is simply not clear enough. What appear to me to be troubling differences in surface details on the two parts may be due, as I said, to photographic angle, lighting and distortion. As a matter of interest, how much did you pay for it?
  13. I am afraid your photo of the obverse of the badge is rather out-of-focus. Here is a prewar Type 2 badge in aluminium for comparison purposes. Compare your badge to it, paying close attention to the fletching on the diving eagle, the wings of the Heer eagle and the details of the leaves of the wreath, including their edges and central veins.
  14. Could you post a larger image of the obverse or front of the badge? And a clearer, square-on pic of the logo? PK
  15. A lot of high quality fakes of Imperial and Third Reich-era decorations and badges were produced in Britain from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s by several individuals or, to be more precise, jewellers and craftsmen commissioned by them. Dies were produced by engravers with Royal Mint and Franklin Mint backgrounds. It did not just involve German awards. The fakers strayed into forgery, which is dangerous territory, when they produced medals like the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the latter being impressed with an ex-government machine. And then there were the Steinhauer & Lück Knight's Cross dies, offered around in London in the summer of 1981 and eventually sold to a leading dealer of the time, who is now in disgrace. This is the dealer who also commissioned aluminium wire copies of embroidered insignia from Israel Hand, together with other London dealers, and who had a deal going with the equally disgraced Dr Klietmann to pass restrikes made using various Godet dies onto the market. Copies of the Pilot-Observer Badge in Gold with Diamonds have been produced for at least the past thirty years. The example adorning the dummy of Hermann Göring in the RAF Museum at Hendon is an example, although it was commissioned by Eric Campion as a museum replica rather than with any intent to fool people. A noted collector and author who has the genuine Göring badge that was in the Campion collection for years had a replica made by the master jeweller Keith Thompson for Roger Honts but has indicated that he only supplied one such badge to Mr Honts because he believed that Honts had this badge copied in the United States. Honts will be familiar to some of you as the man convicted of masterminding a raid on the home of John Angolia. He was also sued successfully by the Colorado collector Bill Simmons, who had purchased $120,000-worth of high end Nazi memorabilia, only to find that it was all fake. Juli 20 1944 Wound Badges have been made in Britain and passed into collections, complete in some cases with award documents. There is also a California jeweller, himself a collector, whose services are used by one or more of the prominent West Coast dealers and possibly by some of the Eastern US dealers whose names figure large in the MAX Show line-up and the MAX-Approved scam run by we-know-who. Someone really ought to write a book on these characters before the Russian and Chinese marks they have recently been swindling do Jimmy Hoffa numbers on them. PK
  16. There are around fourteen of these fake PO Diamonds Badges in circulation that we know of. They seem to be flooding back onto the market as Russian millionaire collectors get rid of disposables. Naturally, the dealers and auction houses involved in swindling these 'new collectors' cannot really turn them away when they get back in touch because there is a lot of money involved so they are really between a rock and a hard place. The PO Diamonds Badges are far from the only high end items pushed into these markets in the past decade. And thick-necked Russian Hitler fans with more roubles than brain cells aren't the only victims. There is Mr "Chen", who risks being banned from the other place by the watchdogs there because he is starting to get a bit chippy. He's believed to be the lucky chap who bought Hermann Göring's Grand Cross document from the same dealer who has been selling all sorts of cobbled-up exotica for years, including Heinrich Himmler's medal bar, which went to a chap in Chicago. The whereabouts of the original medal bar, complete with full documentation, is known to a few serious collectors and students of the subject. As "Wilbur Stump" remarks, coming back to these fake PO Diamonds badges, the Martin Harlinghausen PO Diamonds Badge has been mentioned, apparently touted about in one of these blue velvet German Goldsmith Guild cases. The problem is that the Harlinghausen family is reportedly in possession of all of Martin Harlinghausen's decorations and documents. Other sources say the Harlinghausen badge that has been shown around at shows, in dark corners, is the real badge but contained in a questionable DGW case. As far as I am concerned, if the buyers of these badges cannot be bothered to acquaint themselves with known originals before blowing their money, tufski shitski. But I wouldn't want to be one of the dealers or auctioneers who knowingly screwed someone who might enjoy killing or kneecapping people before breakfast. Screwing some fat, blowhard Westerner is one thing. Swindling orientals is a whole other ball game. Personally, I am looking forward to the inevitable dissertation on the timeline of these badges. It has already been explored, with some people who ought to know better attempting to promote the theory that there were as many as three types of original A-Stück badges between 1935 and 1945. This is akin to the dreamers and delusional telling us that a 1982 set of Oakleaves by Godet can be differentiated from a 1942 set because of a special mark incorporated in the restrike that is known only unto the inner sanctum of collectors. Anyway, people will believe what they prefer to believe. All I know is that it seems as if whenever anyone puts anything nice and genuine up for sale these days, in terms of Third Reich gear, they have a hard job selling it but we see all of these flagrant fakes changing hands for tens of thousands of bucks. Weird...
  17. Here's a clue to where all these variants in DGW cases are coming from. I can't give the name of the author of this script but, trust me, he's been active since the 1950s. When you read something like this in one of these auction catalogues, remember that you read it here first. How long before we see a timeline analysis of these badges by the hip new authors, with the usual shills popping up to support them, assuring us that there were three types of A-Stück wreaths and four types of eagle, all made by different DGW jewellers for recipients who wanted dress copies, and that after Göring confiscated them, they were not in fact destroyed and survived, hidden in the army trunk of a US veteran who found over forty of these badges in the ruins of the DGW in Berlin in June 1945 and sent them all home to his sister? They are all genuine! The veteran's sister said so.
  18. Gosh. They're pushing it, aren't they? I must say that the DGW cases are a smooth touch but perhaps a bit too clever-by-half. All good points from Chris there too. PK
  19. That's a very nice first purchase and at a reasonable price. You weren't scalped. And now for the naval version! Good luck.
  20. Skorzeny's alleged PO Badge in Gold with Diamonds grouping keeps coming back like a bad penny, with bits added and more than twice the price when sold through Manion's in 2004 with its award certificate. http://gmic.co.uk/index.php/topic/15925-rare-piece-to-be-auctioned/page__view__findpost__p__467484 OK, so most of us are never going to spend this kind of money but it is worth bearing in mind that the modus operandi involved here applies to a lot of fairly low end and middling Nazi memorabilia as well.
  21. Since this topic began and ended, the Otto Skorzeny Combined Pilot-Observer Badge in Gold with Diamonds ensemble has come up for sale two more times. The group has gained a leather mappe or folder in the interim, as well as a handsigned letter from Hermann Göring to Otto Skorzeny informing the latter that he will receive the badge, and the asking price is now €90,000 or $120,000. The Hugo Sperrle badge that prompted this thread back in 2007, or another fake looking just like it, has also resurfaced on a dealer's website. Having failed to sell at auction, it was reportedly sold afterwards to an undisclosed buyer for an undisclosed sum. http://wcstumpmilita...rver-badge.html http://wcstumpmilita...r-badge_09.html
  22. Gibson was also involved in the Enigma intrigue. All in all, an very interesting but unsung figure. I hope your bracelet is genuine but some of these dots are just not joining up. Here is another photo of Gibson. He is third from the left.
  23. Gibson was also involved in the Enigma intrigue. All in all, an very interesting but unsung figure. I hope your bracelet is genuine but some of these dots are just not joining up. Here is another photo of Gibson.
  24. The one on the right is the date mark. I thank Xtender for the clearer image. Here is a chart of the Arabic alphabet. Which letter or symbol do you all think the date hallmark on this bracelet most resembles? Is it an artistic rendering of the A or alif symbol? It is possible, in which case this bracelet dates from 1940-1941, which makes it a Second World War-era piece. Harold Gibson was SIS Station Chief in Prague from 1934 and was still there when the Germans marched in on 15.3.1939. Gibson and his staff decamped to London on 30.3.1939. He was then sent to Istanbul, where he had been in 1919-1921 as a Major when it was still Constantinople. Here is an entry from the Special Forces Roll of Honour website at: http://www.specialfo..._image&id=11214 Gibson Forename Harold Charles Lehrs Unit SIS Rank Major Number Award Legion of Merit (US) Place NW Europe Additional information born 1885 Head of Station,Constantinople 1919-21 (Major) Head of Station,Bucharest 1922-30 Head of Station,Riga 1930-33 Head of Station,Prague 1933-40 Head of Station,Istanbul 1941 Head of Station,Prague 1945-48 Head of Station,Berlin 1949-50 Head of Station,Rome 1955 retired 1958 on 60th birthday (?) married Rachel Kalmanoviecz (died 1947) married Ekaterina Alfimov found shot dead 24.8.1960 at 25 Via Antonio Bosio,Rome brother Archibald,a journalist with The Times was Head of Station,Bucharest during WW2 The 1885 DoB seems to be a mistake. He was actually born in 1897. He was back in Prague in 1945 and stayed there until 1948. So, if this bracelet dates from 1941 and accompanied Gibson to Prague after World War Two, it could indeed be a genuine piece, acquired in some way by XTender's contact, a Czechoslovak who returned to his country despite the Red Scourge and became some sort of intelligence operative, acquiring Gibson's ID bracelet at some point. In the above photograph, he appears to be wearing the British Royal coat of arms "General Service" cap badge. His US Legion of Merit was gazetted in The London Gazette of 23.7.1948, when he was listed a a temporary Major, Army N° 115076. Elsewhere in The London Gazette, we find Harold Gibson 115076 of the Territorial Army Officer Reserve appointed 2nd Lieutenant on 3.9.1939. On the 4.1.1940, he is promoted Lieutenant. On 12.6.1947, Harold Gibson, "attached to a department of the Foreign Office", is gazetted Companion of the Order of the St Michael and St George, known in Whitehall circles as the "Call Me God" order. Harold Charles Lehrs "Gibby' Gibson shot himself on 24.8.1960. The official reason? "Money problems". at the age of 63. Regarding the rank of Colonel or Lieutenant-Colonel, further perusal of the London Gazette proves fruitless, except for a reference on 1.1.1918 to a Captain Harold Gibson of the Royal Army Medical Corps, acting Lt-Colonel. But he was killed. But I have so far not been able to find Harold Charles Lehrs Gibson mentioned in The London Gazette as a Lieutenant-Colonel or Colonel. He retired in 1958 as a Major, albeit an Acting Major. In such cases, officers are sometimes promoted a grade in their retirement. This would explain why he is remember as "Colonel Harold Gibson". So, what we have here is an identity bracelet apparently dating from the 1941-1945 period to an intelligence officer who is not gazetted anywhere as a Lieutenant-Colonel.
  25. Harold Gibson did serve as MI6 Station Head in the British Embassy in Prague at some point. I don't know whether this was before or after the Second World War. As for the Czechoslovak former Foreign Legionnaire who told you that he had owned this item for more than forty years, I cannot comment on that. Nor can I comment on his service with the French Foreign Legion during the Second World War other than to remark that the very last people the Czechoslovak Communist Party and its security agencies would have considered for intelligence or espionage work in the late 1940s and early 1950s were men who had served with any Western European military force during the war. Check out the story of Czechoslovak pilots who flew with the British RAF to gain an understanding of official Czechoslovak attitudes when Stalin run the place. All I can say is that the date hallmark represents 1979 and that it is present on a piece bearing a pre-1946 national hallmark. But if you believe it is genuine despite the questions I raised, you are perfectly free to do so. What other ID bracelets did he have? Do you remember if there was one for Major T. E. Lawrence, who spent some time in Cairo in between missions? Regards, PK
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