The National Political Educational Institute (Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt) was an SS-run organization established for the purpose of training future leaders for the Reich. A number of NPEA schools were set-up throughout Germany and many of its occupied countries, with most leaders and instructors coming from the SS.
There were three forms of Political daggers associated with the NPEA. The Student version, the Staff Leader and the Chained Leader. The Student version (produced by Karl Burgsmüller and WMW) had no insignia in the SA style wood grip. The crossguards were solid nickel on early versions and aluminum on later types. The scabbards were an all steel version painted olive drab. There were no mounts on the scabbard.
The blades were etched with the motto of the NPEA, Mehr Sein als Scheinen or "Be more than You Appear". The Staff Leader versions were produced by Eickhorn, and were identical to the Student, except there was a National eagle design in the grip. The Chained Leader (produced by Burgsmüller, Eickhorn and WMW) was worn by instructors and leaders of the NPEA. The dagger itself had the National eagle in the grip but was otherwise the same as the Student version. The scabbard was olive drab, having three nickel plated mounts. The upper and center scabbard mounts carry a chain hanger.
NPEA #37574 School-marked Chained NPEA Leader's Dagger - Karl Burgsmüller
I am thrilled to be able to offer this great NPEA piece. I just got it directly from the son of a Florida veteran with a number of other fine-conditioned pieces. Hard to believe that one of these in this condition was still out there in the woodwork! The dagger is an absolute classic, a textbook piece being the same as is shown in the Weinand NPEA Book on Pages 13, 75 and 76. It is also identical to the example I show in my chapter in Johnson's Volume 6, on Page 138.
The dagger has the nickel-plated fittings. The cross guards remain bright, showing a little mild lifting at the upper mount edge where it meets the grip, but otherwise excellent. The lower mount has no lifting and shows little age. The reverse lower cross guard is stamped with the large letter "O" on the left side of the quillon end. It is most interesting to note that the "O" letter has a small "curl" at the lower right side of the lette; this unique feature is accurately pointed out by Weinand in his book on Page 75. Very neat!
In the center of the guard is the accountability number, "30", stamped in relatively small-sized digits. Also, as Weinand accurately points out, the Leader's daggers from this school have smaller scale numbers than do those of the Student pieces, as apparently they were stamped at another time; also very interesting information. The "O" letter indicates that this dagger was worn by a school leader based at the Oranienstein NPEA School. It can be assumed that the Oranienstein school identified these leader pieces as belonging there, as several others have the same treatment. Frequently, Leader Chained daggers are not found to have numbers.
The grip is a fine example showing little usage and remaining in nearly perfect condition. It is a pleasing medium brown color having a subtle grain and perfectly fits the crossguards. As we see in all NPEA pieces, the upper grip has no insignia. The grip eagle is the nickel type, being the style with a beak the points upward slightly. This eagle remains in perfect condition, showing little to no wear. A very fine, fascinating hilt here.
The scabbard of this dagger is also a tremendous example. The shell is completely straight. It has near mint olive drab paint, showing only the most modest signs of usage and age. This paint is still at 99%. The scabbard mounts are the nickel-plated type, matching the cross guards. They are beauties, still being factory bright throughout. The lower ball remains perfect. The center ramp fitting has very crisp edges and is the wider type we see used on these Burgsmüller pieces. These Burgsmüller center ramps never have screw retainage, a mistake often made by the repro artists. The other two mounts are retained by unturned nickel screws. It is also a Burgsmüller anomaly that the screws that retain the lower mount are headless types. I could never figure the purpose for this, but usually (but not always) they are found this way. The upper mount and center ramp are equipped with metal tabs placed on a 45 degree angle. These tabs connect the chain assembly to the scabbard.
The chain assembly is a nickel-ringed example, having 5 upper ringlets and 7 lower ringlets. The chain is connected to a pot metal snap clip, being the type marked with the cast-in, "DRGM". We also see these clips used on Postal and sometimes on mid-period Luftwaffe 1st Model daggers. Usually the plating is gone from these snap clips, but on this example there is still some plating visible. The hook-up of the chain to the scabbard tabs is also interesting on these Burgsmüller pieces. It consists of a piece of raw brass bent into a tab device with the ends soldiered together; pretty rudimentary, but this is the way they normally are found.
The blade of this dagger is a real killer, a beautiful full Mint example being just the best you will see. It is mirror bright and has 100% of the original factory grain. The NPEA motto is perfectly etched, "Mein sein als scheinen". 100% of the darkening remains in the backgrounds of the Gothic letters, and they look great! The matching maker etch on the reverse ricasso is also perfect. It features the assembler's block-lettered name, "Karl Burgsmüller", positioned in a downward arch. Beneath, is the city and section where this firm operated, "Berlin/Charlottenberg". The original tan felt blade buffer is in place, still remaining in mint condition.
A wonderful, original, untouched example here in supreme condition. This piece may very well be the one several advanced collectors out there have been waiting for to finish off their collection. Although no dagger is the best of the best (there is always one better), I have to say that this example is a real head-turner and still in the condition that it was when it hit the New York harbor some 7 decades ago. You will look a long time to find a dagger like this, and then school-named to boot. A great, investment-quality piece!
Near Mint. $7,995.00