Third Reich Hunting,Forestry and Shooting Hirschfangers & Accoutrements
1/2007 -- Updated Version
The first measure of authenticity regarding Third Reich era Hirschfangers is simple- Look for STAMPED trademarks. If the piece is stamped, there is a 95% chance that it will be authentic. This is also true regarding all 3rd. Reich edged weapons. NOTE: I am not stating there are no original pieces with etched trademarks. Obviously, there are thousands in circulation, including hirschfangers. What I am stating, is that if you are a beginner with no one knowledgeable available to consult- stick with the stamped trademark pieces until you can obtain further valid information or experience.
Another 99% feature of authenticity regarding any German edged weapon is a retailer’s or distributor’s logo etched or stamped on the blade. In 50+ years of collecting, I can’t ever recall seeing this feature on any reproduction. However –a word of caution here--there now are many original pieces that have been enhanced with post war etches and/or engravings and some of these may have original retailer’s or distributor’s markings. However, as of this update, I have not seen or heard of any.
II. AUTHENTIC CHARACTERISTICS
STANDARD OR LONG DELUXE EICKHORN FORESTRY DAGGERS ( Many post-war examples are in circulation )
Stamped Trademark. ( Squirrel’s head towards the hilt end of the blade-not towards the blade tip) TM can be the small oval-large oval-the 35-41 type or the post 41 “over the shoulder” type.
Distributor’s logo on blade, usually on the spine.
A scabbard spring (galvanized steel) riveted inside the scabbard or just inside the scabbard (One can see it by looking inside the top of the scabbard throat) Most of these springs, if not riveted, will have a rivet hole in them that you can see.
Real ivory ,bone or stag grip plates. There are many period pieces with celluloid or plastic like grips, or stag grips. In 99% of cases, reproductions don’t have real ivory or white bone grips. They will have real stag or celluloid/plastic type off white grip plates..
Aluminum alloy hilts ( There are original pieces with brass, or tombac hilts, but gilted aluminum alloy hilts have not been reproduced as of this writing.
Plated steel scabbard fittings ( There are original and reproduction fittings made of brass or tombac but the gilted steel fittings have not been reproduced as of this writing.)
SHORT DELUXE EICKHORN FORESTRY DAGGERS ( Many post-war examples exist) Originals have the same characteristics as in A above and:
A clamshell with a smooth background texture and a fine featured bird. Reproductions will have a rough or pebbled texture to the background areas and the bird looks rough with crude features.
Very fine, detailed lines to the stag and trees on the lower scabbard fitting. Reproductions sometimes have wider, deeper, cruder lines. For some, this will only be noted if two pieces are compared, one next to the other. It may be difficult to tell the difference. On some pieces there is a slight difference in the number of points that can be seen on the buck’s antlers-this IMO is due to a faulty stamping and/or a damaged die-it is not a red flag.
Correct blade etch direction. As one holds the dagger, horizontally, in the right hand, looking at the blade with the tip pointing to the left-- in 99 % of cases, the etch will be “ right side up “. Reproductions are almost always upside down. NOTE: This does not apply to long Eickhorn pieces which have etches that are correctly upside down.
Antelope type head ( Roebuck ) clamshell. These have not been reproduced to my knowledge, however, I have seen one that was a “parts” piece. They are late war pieces mostly with aluminum alloy hilts with either plated steel or brass/tombac scabbard fittings. They are very rare and seem to be special order pieces as no two seem to be exactly alike. Less than ten are known.
EICKHORN STANDARD LONG HUNTING ASSOCIATION DAGGERS ( Many post-war examples exist)
Same original characteristics as in A 1, 2, 3, and 4 (stag only) and:
Pinned on D. J. grip insignia badge with swastika (two pins in 99% of cases) fitted to the contours of the grip.
a) There are a number of different sizes of these badges and there does
not seem to be any standard size for any manufacture. Reproduction badges often have a swastika that is raised while originals are recessed.
EICKHORN DELUXE SHORT HUNTING ASSOCIATION DAGGERS ( Many post-war examples exist)
Same original characteristics as in A 1, 2, 3, and 4 (stag only) and in B 1, 2, 3, 4
In some cases “ Ges Gesch “will be stamped underneath the clamshell under the felt washer. There may also be a large C.E. on the tang.
Hand enhancing (engraving) to the grip cap and ferrel seams and possibly the pommel cap acorn screw.
A stubby, stout acorn cap screw. Reproductions have a longer, slimmer acorn often with a rather sharp point on top.
4/ NOTE--The rare Roebuck clamshell version is quite different and will sometimes have a special blade with an upside down etch. I only know of a few of these and they all are a bit different in a number of ways. All have stamped TM’s. They are probably all special order items.
HOLLER LONG DELUXE FORESTRY DAGGERS WITH EAGLE AND SWASTIKA CAST IN THE GRIP LANGET (Many post-war versions exist)
Aluminum alloy hilt. NOT brass or tombac.
Stamped Trademark. NOT etched. Usually on the obverse.
Real ivory or stag grips.
Distributor or Retailer logo on blade or blade spine.
Swastika in the surface of the metal in the oak leaf wreath. NOT raised above the surface.
There are identical Holler style fakes with PDL and Paul Weyersberg etched TM’s. They often will have the DJ emblem etched on the blade-have a plain blade spine and in the case of the Weyersberg—an upside down TM.
Note: I have seen a very few versions that are unmarked with a raised swastika with an ALUMINUM alloy hilt. These are original-maker unknown- but not as desirable as the marked Holler.
1) Same characteristics as in E 1,3,4, and 6 EXCEPT that the Horster trademark must be stamped or the written Horster name can be etched. ( These pieces have not been reproduced as of this writing) There are also unmarked versions.
G. SHOOTING ASSOCIATION DAGGERS
Aluminum alloy fittings ( Most are nickel plated ) A few will have heavy fittings or just the pommel nut will be heavy.
Gold washed aluminum crossed rifle grip emblem pinned to the grip with 4 pins.
Celluloid over wood grip or solid yellow/orange grip (rare). Stag grips only on a VERY few.
Distributor logo on blade/blade spine..
Aluminum or nickel plated fittings ( Gold models with the Nazi period Shooting Assn. emblem are very questionable) I have never seen one I liked. A few of these will have the stamped Eickhorn 35-41 TM but upside down.
Note: Alcoso versions will not have etching on the spine. No cause for alarm.
H. KNOWN ORIGINALS
The following is a list of hirschfanger makers that I have seen and no reproductions are known as of this writing—TIGER---J A HENCKELS --E. PACK—CLEMEN&JUNG—PUMA—ANTON WINGEN JR and a few others. The most common reproductions are marked Eickhorn, Holler, Horster with no oval in the TM and PDL.-All etched. There also is a stamped Horster TM with no E&F in the oval.
In the last few years a new series of post war pieces have appeared. They are said to come from Germany and there are quite a number of different ones. They are not really reproductions as they are quite unlike original pieces but are made to appear old. They are seen quite often on Ebay/Epier. They have the following characteristics:
A crude etched blade with none of the fine detail of an original but made to look quite old.
A stamped TM on the obverse of the blade-Wyersberg—Weyersberg—Weyersberg & Co.—Alex. Coppel—Gebr. Weyersberg etc. It could be anything. These stamps are off center and uneven-some of the logo is often missing.
Fairly new looking stag grips with large smooth white looking areas near the fittings where the stag was trimmed down to fit.
Crude scabbard fittings sometimes with two rings and with crude deluxe designs on the lower fitting.
Smooth leather scabbards with no edge lines.
Large ,long , crude pommel acorn nuts with a sharp point on top.
A thin black leather hanger sewed on to the scabbard rings.
A dark bronze finish-made to look old.
Some of these have been featured on my forum and are pictured there. Once you see one you should be able to spot them as they all have the same look.
There are several different, correct frogs for Hunting and Forestry daggers. Almost all are of the V- notch design and they can be green, brown, or black with pebbled or plain leather, adjustable in length or not, with D rings, box fittings, or snaps, and with gold or silver colored metal parts. Green and Brown is for Forestry and Hunting while Black is for Forestry only. Authenticity must be judged by age and proper construction. Smell it! Does it smell like new leather? If it does, it is. Beware of examples with a single rivet securing a D ring, black in color with green felt backing. These were brought in the country in the 60’s. Most original versions of these frogs do not have felt backing. If they do the felt is sewed on-not glued. NOTE: Some dress bayonet frogs or pieces with the same type construction have seen period use with 3rd Reich hirschfangers but were not officially recommended in period catalogs.. I have seen one all green one that was original to the 3rd Reich piece –but no other. However, they are original and correct to some Imperial and Weimar pieces.
SHOOTING DAGGER FROGS
These are black or brown, pebbled or smooth, and usually resemble a dress KS 98 bayonet frog, but are considerably smaller. They are very scarce. There are other versions-some like Forestry or Hunting “V” frogs but quite small.
IV. HUNTING/FORESTRY/SHOOTING “KNOTS “
AUTHENTIC HUNTING ASSOCIATION PORTEPEES
MEMBER PORTEPEES – Silver bullion strap with 2 small zig-zag, green lines on each edge, stem with lace covering aluminum foil, basket weave silver bullion slide, green and silver interwoven crown, and silver bullion ball with bottom stuffed with green springy material or a portion of the strap fabric.
PROFESSIONAL HUNTER – Same as above but with a dark copper color instead of the green as indicated above. Very Rare.
VARIATIONS- There is a variation of each of the above. They have unusual embroidered stems with a V pattern and silver bullion and green or copper interwoven slides. Purpose unknown but likely a subordinate pattern. There is a third variation of the member’s portepee- It is the same as in 1) above but has green and silver bullion stripes in the ball portion. All of the variations are very rare.
NOTE: In all versions of the above, the green color can vary from light to dark green.
CANDIDATE OR JUNIOR SUBORDINATE-All green construction usually of a silk like material, NO slide ( Repros have slides), full embroidered stem ( Repros have lace covering), and with a portion of the strap material at the bottom of the ball.
SENIOR PORTEPEES- Thin (in width) silver bullion straps with a medium wide green stripe on each side (Stripe has small sections or squares in the design) ,copper, silver, or green stem with silver bullion lace covering, silver bullion and green interwoven slide and crown, and silver bullion ball with springy green material as stuffing for the bottom. Beware of examples with wide straps and large ball portions which may also have a felt insert. Sometimes these are called subordinate but they are not—they are Officer grade.
HIGH RANKING FORESTER- Gold bullion straps with two, thin, green zig-zag stripes on each side, gold bullion basket weave slide, and gold ball with green springy material or a portion of the strap material for stuffing. Beware of examples with interwoven green and gold slides and/or with felt inserts and large ball portion size.
Many times collectors will see the rather common Heer NCO green and silver bayonet knot attached to these daggers. While it could indicate dual membership—and could very well be original to the piece—it is not a hunting or forestry knot.
-Celluloid, plastic, or stag grips that appear to be imitation ( There are no imitation stag grips on hirschfanger period pieces).
-Glued on grip emblem or grip emblem without a swastika on a Hunting dagger.
-Improper blade etch ( explained in the Eickhorn section)
-Blade etch with broken lines or placed unevenly on the blade.
-No scabbard spring. Most 3rd. Reich pieces will have these but some don’t.
-Horster etched trademark of a sword and H not in an oval with no written out Horster name on the opposite side of the blade.
-No Trademark ( There are many period pieces with no trademark, also some reproductions )
-No return options.
-A Damascus or artificial Damascus blade with a P.D. Luneschloss Trademark or a P. Muller name.
-Horster stamped oval TM but without the E&F.
-A stamped 35-41 Eickhorn TM but upside down (Squirrel head towards the blade tip)
-A crude clamshell with a crude swastika on it or as a part of the design. Note-There are a very few originals with this feature but many reproductions.
-Presentation blades, especially from Hermann Goring.
-An unusual hilt or clamshell pattern not observed in any reference.
-A blade stamped WKC on the reverse with the WKC letters toward the blade tip. WKC period pieces are stamped on the obverse with the letters toward the hilt. Thus, the reproduction stamps are upside down. These are new reproductions very recently produced.
-A blade stamped WKC as above and on a blade with fullers. WKC 3rd Reich period pieces have flat slab blades.
-A Nazi Period hirschfanger (other than a short deluxe Eickhorn ) with a fullered blade.
-A Forestry/Hunting piece with an etched blade presentation from the ADJV with a swastika as a part of the design---marked Alcoso ( etched TM)-or any TM. ( First observed in 2004)
MODERATOR’S NOTE; I am very aware of the fact that this guide is far from complete-but is the best and only one available.. Only those pieces commonly reproduced and encountered have been addressed. Many pieces have never been reproduced, both rare and common. We will address these as they come up on the forum. This guide is based on 50+ years of collecting and observing these pieces and I hope it will be considered a helpful aid to collectors. I take full responsibility for any mistakes or errors. My final advice- If you want just one example to fill your collection slot- Buy an Eickhorn with the characteristics outlined above. They are very desirable and are the easiest to identify as being of the correct period. I attend several shows during the year and am always available to examine your pieces in person. AUTHOR’S REQUEST—This guide is FREE-provided to you by myself through GDC. It has known to have saved several collectors many thousands of dollars. If you think it has any value—I request you donate $5--$10-or whatever amount to GDC to keep our site healthy and running. This is easy to do using PAYPAL. Thanks, Houston