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    L@@K: Ribbon Bars... NAKED!

    Guest Rick Research

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    Guest Rick Research

    The Unseen World Of Ribbon Bars: Part 1: Gray Anatomy In Period Retail Catalogs

    old fashioned folks in the Third Reich could still buy the sort of solid steel bars with soldered on STAMPED brass hinge and catch fasteners that came in in 1915--


    But those involved laborious custom order hand drilling for devices, or the expedient of folding prongs over between the underside of the ribbon and the top of the backing.

    Yet, even DURING the Great War, universal models were being patented, which allowed bars to easily be assembled by single tab back units, pre-STAMPED with all possible devices holes manufactured right in.


    The earliest types bear DRGM or DRP markings as the Patent process progressed, and were spray painted with Feldgrau paint. Manufactured in numbers (especially for long bars) so great that never used WW1 stock was still being used into the 1930s, post-1918 versions were flashed with a shiny nickle surface which actually encouraged corrosion rather than the reverse. :(

    Another doomed evolutionary design dead-end is the "hohl" or "shark's teeth" seen in the center box, right of this January 1939 Steinhauer & L?ck catalog. This managed to both exponentially increase the number of Nasty Pointed Things which could snag and rip on the reverse AND block all but the central places where devices could be pronged in.

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    Guest Rick Research

    Part Two: Dissection For The Squeamish

    Custer Died For Your Sins, and so did these ribbon bars---

    they gave THEIR lives, so that others might live!

    Solid original style, universal 1930s+ pre-stamped stock with punched "U" tongue catch, and the flat backed, individual tab mounting styles


    notice how the STAMPED brass attachment parts are affixed on the old type:


    Notice that the brass COLORED pin on the universal stock type is rusty-- it is actually steel just like the backing. Many of these steel backings were flashed with gold or copper colored anti-corrosion finishes-- none particularly effective, though the copper ones seem to have held up better to history.

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    Guest Rick Research

    Part Three: And On The Seventh Day, God Rested

    and while he was taking a well earned nap, satan slithered in over the garden gate, all pretty promises and fang-hidden smiles

    preeeeeeetty, preeeeeeeeetty

    with souls of corruption! :o:shame:


    like bugs under a rock, turned over these reveal their dark secrets


    all hand snipped brass secrets :speechless1:

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    • 4 months later...
    Guest Rick Research

    Bars can be MADE bad, but they never, ever lie-- even when their forgers do. Silently, they tell their TRUE stories, if we will but read them.

    "Pasties" slapped on Bad Bars attempt to dress them up, and dazzle away closer scrutiny.

    Some types of Very Bad Devices:


    The bar above is typical: a combination that makes no sense, with a mixture of real (the last two) and fake (the first three) devices. Typical of shoddy hand drilled frauds, they do NOT line up level.


    These appear to have been cast from rubber molds of originals. They are all the same sickly "melted mercury" color-- which the originals were not. After being exposed, these have started to be PAINTED in colors approximating their real appearance


    of course :shame: no original ribbon bar devices were ever PAINTED.

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    Guest Rick Research

    Correctemundo! :beer: Oldenburg and Oldenburg ONLY had several very icky-- but very correct-- black (and ONLY black) painted devices, including rarely seen House Order Merit Cross Xs!

    For detailed and ONGOING discussion and dissection of the Worst Of The Worst as we collectively keep up the never ending struggle against the latest fake ribbon bars, see this thread:


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    Hello there [again]. Much useful information. I was wondering if the S&L catalogue had been reproduced as I can see it is a useful tool for checking the quality of the ribbon emblems and what was proper.

    My mind is being filled with precedences and facts but is there a reference site for this?

    I feel that the answer may be no as precedence varied from States and also in the Reich eras but I wanted to check. If not I feel sure that there must be a thread here that someone has written on this, [possibly while breathing in the clear New England air?] so can someone point to it. ;)

    I took the plunge and ordered my first few bars from the sales section - I think I may be hopelessly caught up in the headlights or something..? I can't resist looking at the site for more info, even when I am supposed to be working or other suff :blush:


    Matt Gibbs

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    Guest Rick Research

    Lest anyone suppose that I was ever fooled into PAYING for those YUCK bars above, that's the donated Evil Fakes Pile! :P

    Probably the single most notorious Evil Fake on the planet-- although by no means unique, since clones of it can be found literally by the handfuls at even the most mediocre of militaria shows, is THIS "Rommel" which unfortunately "starred" on the cover of the Rev. Mark Hayden's 2001 dreadfully flawed "German Military Ribbon Bars 1914-1957:"


    Like the equally numerous "Himmler" and "Red Baron" bars mass produced by Mister Ohio Parts Fraud, all hand snipped brass construction (see above) and with that mingling of original ribbons and devices and sprinkling of fakes of both typical of the mass producer of most of the garbage bars of the 1990s, notice

    the way the sloppily hand drilled holes for the devices are incapable of achieving a LEVEL

    fake device on the 2nd (should be green enamel on gold, not no enamel silver colored)

    wrong device on the 3rd (Xs should be gold colored, ther were no silver colored Xs for this Order)

    wrong device on the 5th (Germans wore a gold wreath here, as The Desert Fox does in photo above)

    late WW2 type sword does not match size/style nor was he a wearer (as some officers were) of "mix and match" as a fashion statement

    both Wehrmacht long services eagles are not only flying away off the tops of their ribbons, but the VERY peculiar radiator paint finish indeed suggests PAINT

    telltale composite match up between minty fresh Sudeten ribbon and dingy old tarnished Prague bar--age does not match for having been TOGETHER all these years.

    Memel Medal original ribbon has always been notoriously difficult to come by. I am unaware of Mister OPF having ever had access to any that was original-- his will normally flash bright electric blue as fake under black light.

    These may not COST a dime, but they are certainly available by the dozen. Or the thousand. Any of you who have been to big shows have undoubtedly seen the Brothers And Sisters of THIS bar in many a case, with the "clever" dealers leading you to THINK that they don't know "who" it belonged to, if you can fool yourself into so believing...

    like Pieces Of The True Cross, once people started noticing how MANY of these were available from one row of a show to the next, the sellers generally stopped claiming "attribution" and left the junk to sell itself.

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    Guest Rick Research

    Here is another "Where Eagles Dare" type howler--

    or SHOULD be blatantly so since the purported wearer enlisted no later than 1899 and was--miraculously--a member of the German armed forces not ONLY without a single decoration through all of World War One, but "neglected" to wear his Hindenburg Cross for same before triumphanttly racking up a World War Two EK2 at Sixty-Something:


    Alas, this sold at LEAST twice, for over 125 American dollars in the simple golden forever lost summer of '01. I saved the first unwary buyer, but the irrefutable WRONGNESS of this did not keep the dealer it was returned to from immedately flogging it on again-- to somebody without any online friends, apparently. Where it is now, I do not know. My condolences to the current owner.

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    I think I am a little confused with precedence of awards now betwen 3rd Reich and Imperial.

    It is correct to wear Ek2 for WW1 and then the KVK and after this comes the Hindenburg Cross for WW1, and then other awards for WW1 would follow this? :blush:

    Where does an award such as Frozen Meat Medal come in, would this be after the Hindenburg Cross on a bar or before? At first I thought this would come after the KVK but now I am not so sure.

    I have a bar which has:

    Iron Cross 2nd class 1914 with 1939 bar [nice with kind of silvery frosting good detail]

    War Merit Cross with swords

    Hanseatic Cross

    Hindenburg Cross with swords and the

    Russian Front medal

    A War Commemorative medal - ribbon orange with white edges and white horiz.stripes. Bit grubby on end edge as it has worn, maybe rubbing.

    It is a tabby bar and the tabs look undisturbed but how do you tell? For some reason I thought the hanseatic cross was maybe in the the wrong place?


    Matt Gibbs

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    Guest Rick Research

    Don't make that mistake!

    The 1941/42 East Medal came BEFORE the Hindenburg Cross. Bizarre as it seems, German "normal" put the most recent campaign first, going backwards.

    The exceptions were the individual battle crosses of 1864... but you don't want to GO that far back.

    As far as precedence goes...

    it all depends


    On WHEN.

    As a "Reichs" award the lowly 1939 KVK2 whether with or without swords was supposed to go before all non-Iron Cross WW1 valor awards. That was generally ignored for the high end WW1 awards-- the wearers simply refused to obey that rule-- rightly so. For a brief time after it was created in 1942, even the East Medal was SUPPOSED to go before ALL non-Iron Cross WW1 awards-- dating bars with that idiotic precedence. But the wearers revolted and eventually the Bad Winter Medal was slammed back in front of the Hindenburg.

    The regulations changed constantly-- that is part of how it is possible to figure out WHEN something was worn, provided Little Monkey Fingers haven't been at it.

    West German 1957+ regulations dumpe dthe East Medal after the Hindenburg...

    but don't need to go THERE either! 1914-45 is complicated enough! :ninja:

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    Thanks Rick.

    I am guessing this is for someone who post 42 wanted to put his WW1 decorations in higher place than the Eastern Front Medal, as you say. Must have valued the WW1 decorations more, but still obeyed regs as far as the Reichs EK and KVK were concerned!


    Matt Gibbs

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    Sorry - missed this bit off for some reason! - Thanks Rick.

    Incidentally I shall try not to make that book mistake then ;)

    OK next question, does this order of precedence make any sense [this is from a full size bar group with minature combo.]

    Police 18 yr,

    NSDAP 10 year,

    Olympic Games 2ns class,

    13th March entry medal,

    1st Oct with Praque Castle Bar,


    Lifesaving Medal,

    Social Welfare 2nd class with an Oakleaf Wreath/Swaz.

    West Wall medal

    To me it sounds like the Lifesaving medal is in the wrong place and I thought that you could only wear 2 of the flower wars medals. Also I thought the Social Welfare medal would be higher placed, but then maybe this was a preference of order recieved or something? The regs do not appear to make this clear to me.

    Perhaps as you say this is also to do with the time period.?


    Matt Gibbs

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    Guest Rick Research

    Nooooo, sounds like another Bad "Kitchen Sink" Bar to me. (NINE all-Third Reich awards is out over the top and well into Enemy Lines, it is! :speechless1::speechless1::speechless1: ) Of those awards, the Lifesaving Medal (which the Nazis hated) would have been first.

    The only limit on the 1938-39 pre-war "campaigns" was for members of the Armed Forces.

    SCANS (and All Together "front AND back") resolve all issues save those which require a blacklight.

    And blacklight is absolutely REQUIRED:

    saves soooooooo much trouble, right up front.

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    • 1 month later...

    Hello gents,

    Just thought I'd show my original ek2 spange for comparison to the bad one shown earlier. Notice the colour is very different and the detail is much more crisp, even on such a tiny (16mm) spange. I blacklighted this one right at the show I got it at this past fall and it checked out great. You can buy good hand-held blacklights at places like Staples for under $20, great investment. A side note,I have been told the middle ribbon could be is a faded hanseatic cross ribbon, but nothing certain. Any ideas?



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    • 2 years later...

    Bringing this old thread back up. Here's what I think is a little bit older copy of the Rommel ribbon bar. The backing is a sheet metal (not brass) which shows some rust inside. The Memel ribbon appears to be a real one and does not glow (neither does anything else). Picked this up at the MAX show last week for the fun of it. VERY cheap!

    Edited by Harrier
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    Guest Rick Research

    Ahhh, the early 1990s:

    Devices and most of the ribbons were real, while the "skeletons" were fake. That has now been reversed, with newer ones.

    If that is indeed an ENAMELLED green wreath, congratulations.

    Not to mention the hideously rare R.A.D. eagles used :speechless: as army ones. :rolleyes:

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