BOUCKVILLE, N.Y. – The uniform worn by German World War II Luftwaffe Lt. Gen. Josef Schmid, a recipient of the Knight’s Cross and former commander of all Hermann Goring and Afrika Korps Panzer units after the departure of Erwin “The Desert Fox” Rommel, sold for $20,800 at Auction #73, an internet and catalog auction held June 26-27 by Mohawk Arms, Inc.
The lot consisted of Lt. Gen. Schmid’s tunic, breeches, rain cape and “Soldbuch,” or personal effects, which included a photo of Schmid wearing his Knight’s Cross, an ink signature and two “General Command” ink stampings. Schmid was an early supporter of the Nazi Party. He took part in the infamous “Beer Hall Putsch” of 1923 and was the recipient of a Blood Order medal.
The auction was held online (through the Mohawk Arms website, www.MilitaryRelics.com, as well as via LiveAuctioneers.com), and at the firm’s showroom located on Rte. 20 in Bouckville, in central New York state.
These included antique firearms (like Spencer and Joslyn carbines), Civil War edged weapons, Imperial German uniforms (Navy and Colonial), helmets, steins, old swords, a Third Reich book collection, personality items (like a Hitler autographed photo), uniforms (Nazi, American WWI and WWII, etc.), ethnographic items, leather goods, Napoleonic and British prints, and headgear.
“It was a good sale overall, but an unpredictable sale too,” said Ray Zyla of Mohawk Arms, Inc. “Items I never expected to do well – common medals, for example – sold for three or four times their high estimates. Other lots fell flat or were stagnant, such as World War I uniforms, certain firearms such as sporting guns and common-type muskets, and the common Civil War artifacts.”
But, he added, Colt, Winchester and Civil War carbine weapons “continue to hold their own,” and Civil War presentation swords, especially from the Confederacy, as well as the CSA belts, buckles and bayonets, always seem to do well. “It’s a fickle market,” Zyla said. “The demand for certain items is high, but by and large things are a bit flat from where they were five years ago.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium, which could range from 16-22 percent, depending on how the bid was submitted.
The photo signed by Hitler was an autographed studio portrait, taken by the German leader’s personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann. It showed a side profile of the subject wearing a civilian coat and tie. It was signed lower right in black ink, “Adolf Hitler,” with no personalized message. The 8 ½ inch x 10 ¾ inch photo was in a frame engraved “1940”. It sold for $3,840.
A uniform grouping for 1st Lt. Cline E. Mason, who served during World War II with the U.S. Army Air Force in the CBI Theater of Operations, went for $2,440. Along with the uniform, the lot also featured Mason's A-2 leather jacket with an Air Transport Command patch on the front and a Nationalist Chinese flag patch on the back, an Army Air Force duffel bag and other items.
A Prussian officer’s helmet – Brunswick 92nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion – with a solid black leather body, gaveled for $5,400. The rare piece of headgear had an elaborate tiered front plate having an age toned silver oak leaf decorated ‘Peninsula’ banner affixed to a blue enameled cross, with a detailed galloping horse and crowned pillar, all applied to a convex silver starburst.
Another Imperial German helmet – a Bavarian Artillery Regiment officer’s parade helmet, also with an excellent solid black leather body – breezed to $3,120. The age toned large Bavarian crowned coat-of-arms showed a pair of lions holding the state arms (with “In Treue fest”) on the front plate. Other features included silk lining, gilt brass convex chin scales and red parade bush.
The star lot of the Imperial German uniforms category was a Colonial Southwest Africa cavalry tunic (or “Schutztruppe”) that realized $3,000. The olive drab, two-pocket tunic with blue collar, cuffs and epaulets had blue piping down the front and on the six-button skirt, eight matching buttons down the front, thread loops for a ribbon bar and even the original Stuttgart tailor’s label.
Civil War lots included a Confederate Veterans silk reunion flag with the “stars and bars” printed on a red field and “Five Forks Infantry Volunteer 9 VA 1865” printed on the back, matted and in an antiqued silver wood frame ($732); and an ambrotype portrait of a red-cheeked Confederate militiaman, very young, dressed in a tunic, in a floral decorated gilt frame and with case ($488).
Other noteworthy items included a British medal bar with two medals awarded for the Sudan campaign in the 1880s, one showing a likeness of Queen Victoria and a sphinx and one with a sphinx and pyramids, both mounted on a pin-back bar ($519 the pair); and a German SS-Allach colored porcelain rabbit, 5¾ inches tall, a wonderful presentation by Professor T. Karner ($915).
Mohawk Arms, Inc.’s next big internet and catalog auction is scheduled for sometime in the fall, probably November. Already consigned is a pair of medals from the Mexican War and the Civil War earned by the same person (one medal for each war), daggers, medals, badges, uniforms, ephemera and more. Watch the website for details as fall approaches: www.MilitaryRelics.com.
For more information on Mohawk Arms, Inc., call (315) 893-7888; or visit Mohawk@MilitaryRelics.com.