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DDR ribbon bar question

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I recently acquired an interest in collecting DDR uniforms and ribbon bars--are they easily "put together"/faked?

Which is the best reference book?

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I recently acquired an interest in collecting DDR uniforms and ribbon bars--are they easily "put together"/faked?

Which is the best reference book?

Hi Mike,

By looking at the construction methods, I would not feel that most would would be too difficult to assemble. I am betting the most reliable bars would be the cloth types. I feel that they look better anyway. I do not know of any specific books on DDR Ribbon bars.

Do you have some to show us?

Paul

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Do you have some to show us?

Paul

No, I sure don't.

Also, I seem to recall that certain militaria/surplus catalogs used to sell East German uniforms for a pittance. Don't know if they still do...Anybody know? I wish I'd picked some up at the time.

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No, I sure don't.

Also, I seem to recall that certain militaria/surplus catalogs used to sell East German uniforms for a pittance. Don't know if they still do...Anybody know? I wish I'd picked some up at the time.

Yes it's quite easy to put together a uniform with shoulderboards, ribbons and badges to enhance value.

For ribbon bars times have changed, even the paper ribbon bars go for good prices on US e-bay. Good values can still be found on e-bay.de if you look hard enough. I don't actively collect them but have a few that I picked up in the late 80s in East Berlin, both older cloth and later paper. I'll see if I can post a couple here.

Late issue dress uniforms are still quite easy to find, although you dont see as many camo uniforms as you used to. Older "dark collar" uniforms fetch high prices both here in Germany.

Kevin

Edited by ehrentitle

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Yes it's quite easy to put together a uniform with shoulderboards, ribbons and badges to enhance value.

For ribbon bars times have changed, even the paper ribbon bars go for good prices on US e-bay. Good values can still be found on e-bay.de if you look hard enough. I don't actively collect them but have a few that I picked up in the late 80s in East Berlin, both older cloth and later paper. I'll see if I can post a couple here.

Late issue dress uniforms are still quite easy to find, although you dont see as many camo uniforms as you used to. Older "dark collar" uniforms fetch high prices both here in Germany.

Kevin

Sure, but isn't the key phrase here 'put together' which is to say 'invent'. There are less delicate phrases.

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As for references, for years the standard reference is Uniformen der Nationalen Volksarmee der DDR 1956-1986, Klus-Ulrich Keubke and Manfred Kunz, Brandenburgisches Varlaghaus, 1990 ISBN: 3-327-00731-4 This book was published just before unification. It was expanded and reprinted in 2003 by Keubke with the title Militarische Uniformen in der DDR 1949-1990 ISBN: 3-00-011362-2. It was republished again a couple of years ago and widely availabe at a reasonable price in Germany.

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Sure, but isn't the key phrase here 'put together' which is to say 'invent'. There are less delicate phrases.

Ed this was a major topic several years back on the now defunct Yahoo DDR Collectors forum. As I recall 'put toether' was considered permissable for a collector who had no intent to resell and 'faked', 'invented', etc was reserved for those dealers who purposely altered uniforms to increase value. Things like sewing on new collar tabs, cuff titles and parade bars where none were before.

Unless you are buying this stuff right from the veteran or have other good provenance there is always a good chance that a uniform has been assembled. A good example are all of the DDR general officer hats and uniforms floating around out there. A lot of this stuff was made just prior to unification and never came near to a general officer.

Kevin

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Maybe for those whose focus is on uniforms, this is OK. For those of us who focus on medals and their adjuncts it is a matter, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, of 'A fake is a fake is a fake'. Just more poison in the water twenty years from now.

:(

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Maybe for those whose focus is on uniforms, this is OK. For those of us who focus on medals and their adjuncts it is a matter, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, of 'A fake is a fake is a fake'. Just more poison in the water twenty years from now.

:(

Oh I totally agree, but this distinction is never easy with East German medals and badges which is the focus of my collecting efforts. Between the fall of the wall and unification East German makers produced hundreds of thousands of badges and medals using the original equipment. They restruck badges that had been discontinued in the 60s and 70s of which the originals command high prices. They produced thousands of higher orders and medals. So for example a late issue cased II or III class Banner der Arbeit can be had for less than $20. For those who have been collecting for some time this late issue stuff is relatively easy to distinguish from the older, higher quality badges and medals. But for new collectors it can be quite a minefield.

Kevin

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And lastly the components of a 'paper' ribbon bar -

Hello all,

ehrentitle, do you know why the DDR used to make the ribbon bars from paper?? only they used this material or all the Eastern Block countries too??

the ribbon bar front cover is plastic?

Thanks,

Humberto

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Hello all,

ehrentitle, do you know why the DDR used to make the ribbon bars from paper?? only they used this material or all the Eastern Block countries too??

the ribbon bar front cover is plastic?

Thanks,

Humberto

I suspect it was a economy measure to save money in production of these ribbons. Most early DDR medals, badges and ribbons were of high quality. But this quality declined over the years, especially in the 80s. Yes the front is a plastic cover. I'm not knowledgeable about other East Block countries to comment about their ribbon bars. Keevin

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I suspect it was a economy measure to save money in production of these ribbons. Most early DDR medals, badges and ribbons were of high quality. But this quality declined over the years, especially in the 80s. Yes the front is a plastic cover. I'm not knowledgeable about other East Block countries to comment about their ribbon bars. Keevin

Thank you for your help Keevin, this kind of ribbon bars ( paper ) are common to find?

thanks,

Humberto

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Thank you for your help Keevin, this kind of ribbon bars ( paper ) are common to find?

thanks,

Humberto

They are not hard to find, but prices are a bit higher than they used to be. Check on both US and German E-bay. Kevin

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Humberto,

Kevin is correct that it was an economy measure to start using paper instead of cloth to make ribbon bars in the DDR. As far as I know, they were the only communist state to use this particular method of making ribbon bars. One major short coming in what the DDR did when they went to the paper ribbons was that they did not produce any paper ribbons for medals awarded to DDR military people by other nations. Therefore you will find some ribbon bars with theses foreign awards hand painted on paper and installed on the ribbon bar. This is quite legitimate so don't think that if you find a bar with painted awards that it is not legit. I have two DDR Generals bars with the USSR Brotherhood in Arms medal on hand painted paper ribbons.

In actual fact, from a distance there was not a great deal of diference in how the cloth and paper ribbons looked. I've attached a photo of both below to illustrate my point. The short top bar is cloth and the bottom one paper.

As for other communist states, late bars used by Bulgaria and Hungary were plastic with a domed front and the actual coloured part of the medal could have been paper but these bars don't come apart like the DDR bars do and the awards can never shift in the holders like the DDR ones do. Hungary continued to use cloth bars up to the end for senior officers. I've included pictures of a Bulgarian General's plastic ribbon bar and a Hungarian General's cloth bar.

As for a reference material on DDR ribbon bars I can recommend three. They are;

Deutsche Orden und Ehrenzeichen by Nimmergut/Feder?von der Heyde-this book covers German medals and awards, in colour, from 1871 to 1990; DDR-SPEZIALKATALOG 1949-1990 by Bartels-this book covers all DDR medals and awards; Auszeichnungen der Nationalen Volkesarmy der DDR-this book covers all badges & medals waraded to the NVA. All of these books are in German but the colour sections, particularly of the first one, don't need much explanation. There is a fourth book tittled German Military Ribbons 1914-1957 by Mark Hayden but the title is misleading. It really only covers some ribbon bars from the Third Reich and West German periods and has numerous errors.

Regards,

Gordon

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Here are some bars of a political officer of the NVA, latest rank Major General.

The first bar with the metal edges.

The second bar as a normal version.

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The third bar is a mixture of paper and cloth.

On the sixth place is the USSR "Brotherhood in Arms Medal" in cloth, a part of a miniature ribbon.

I think, that the most NVA paper bars on ebay are fakes, new arranged.

Regards

Uwe

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Uwe,

Interesting to see the cloth use of the USSR Brotherhood in Arms medal. Haven't seen that before. Thanks for posting it.

Regards,

Gordon

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Hello Gordon,

Thank you very much for your great explanation and for posting those very nice bars!!!

I am wondering if is possible that you post an image of yours two DDR Generals bars with the USSR Brotherhood in Arms medal on hand painted paper ribbons?????

Edited by Humberto Corado

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