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 #38824 Chained NPEA Leader's Dagger – Burgsmüller
The dagger is a most interesting example. It is an early style Burgsmüller type with nickel crossguards. These guards are in good condition with deep, dully patinated surfaces. The edges remains crisp and the surfaces are quite smooth. The accent grooves are very precisely cut and look very striking. The lower guard has the “straight across” look that we like to see on a NPEA piece.
It is also interesting to note that this dagger is school marked on the reverse, coming from Bensberg NPEA school. It is stamped “B 45”. The “B” is the same as the examples shown in the Weinand NPEA book, having the lower portion of the letter being slightly smaller than the upper portion. The “45” is also a lower number than I see on any other of the Bensberg pieces. What is really interesting, though, is that we thought that Bensberg only did business with the Carl Eickhorn firm. To date we have only see Bensberg pieces made by Eickhorn. So much for this “fact”, and another example of why you can never say never in this hobby as you will usually be wrong. This Burgsmüller dagger absolutely was purchased by the school.
The grip is a Medium Contour type, showing a little bit of wear where the grip meets the guards and this is extremely minor. Naturally it does not have an insignia at the top. The nickel grip eagle is the style with a beak that points slightly upward. There is wear on the head and talons of this bird, but the breast, wing feathering and wreathed swastika remains in good, crisp condition.
The scabbard shell shows some signs of use here and there. The reverse is completely straight and the obverse has a few very minor carrying signs. They are nothing, however. The original olive drab paint is in fairly nice condition, the reverse about 98% intact and the obverse about 95% with a few old chips here and there. The mounts are nickel-plated of the type normal for Burgsmüller pieces. The upper and lower mounts are in good condition, showing minor age. The could be cleaned up if so desired but I'd rather this dagger stay exactly the way it is. The upper mount has dome head screws and, as we see with Burgsmüller pieces, the lower mount has flat head screws. The center ramp is the wide type, with crisp lips on both sides and no screw retaining it, something you want to see. These Burgsmüller ramps were pushed up until they could no go any further and left stuck fast in that position. The center and upper mounts have a chain connectors set on a 45 degree angle.
Attached to the two ramps is Luftwaffe style chain with five upper and eight lower ringlets. They are attached to a white metal clip which is marked “DRGM” on the reverse. These clips are very often see with Burgsmüller pieces.
As we would hope the blade of this dagger is still bright throughout, showing only the most modest of age. Most of the original crossgraining is still visible in the surfaces. It is etched with the motto “Mehr sein als scheinen” or “Be More Than You Appear To Be”. The reverse ricasso is etched “Karl Burgsmüller Berlin Charlottenburg 5”. The blade shoulders perfectly meet the lower crossguard contour and the original brown felt blade buffer is in place. There is small amount of felt missing from this buffer, but believe me, when you see these buffers in place like this it really speaks of an original dagger.
A amazing opportunity to acquire a rarely seen, textbook NPEA Leader's Dagger with a pedigree that destroys the “common knowledge” surrounding these pieces.
NPEA #37712C NPEA Student Leader Dagger – Carl Eickhorn
The crossguards are constructed of nickel-plated zinc. The nickel finish is lifting on the straight areas where the crossguard meets the grip. This lifting is not bad, and the finish on the guards is still about 95% intact. The tang nut has lost all of the original plating and has a nearly black tone.
The grip is a fine Eickhorn example, constructed of dark wood with good subsurface grains that run vertically on both sides. The grip is a pleasing coffee brown color. It is in perfect condition throughout and nicely fits the crossguards. The grip eagle is the nickel type, indicative of a mid-period dagger. This eagle is the style with a beak which points slightly upward. All of the detailing throughout the bird's head, breast and wing feathering, talons and wreathed mobile swastika is intact and crisp.
The scabbard is an interesting example as it is an Eickhorn type that we do not see too often. It is straight throughout with only a couple of mild signs of wear. Nearly all of the original olive-drab paint is present, rating at about 99% intact. There are a traces of old attic crazing but not much. The throat of this dagger is the thicker type used by Eickhorn. It is interesting to note that the lug on this example is not the usual unadorned, stubby type used by Eickhorn. This lug has twin enhancement lines at the top and bottom, in addition to being longer and thinner than the usual Eickhorn lug. This lug and scabbard are identical to the piece shown on page 97 of the Weinand NPEA book. The throat is retained by two dome head side screws, also atypical of an Eickhorn design. Usually there will be a screw in the reverse. The Weinand piece also has screws identical to this example.
The blade shows normal “in-and-out” marks and hints of old sharpening here and there, but nothing bad. Overall the blade still has most of the original brightness although I do not see much graining left. The NPEA motto, “Mehr sein als scheinen”, is nicely etched and retains about 90% of the original background darkening. The motto uses the Fraktur style font with a medial “s”, which looks very much like an “f” without a bar. This differs from pieces distributed by firms such as Burgsmüller, who employed what looks to be the more conventional Saschenwald font.
The reverse ricasso of the blade is etched with the 1935 through 1941 Eickhorn Squirrel trademark. I would think that this piece was probably made about '37 or '38. The blade shoulders perfectly meet the lower guard and is the norm with Eickhorn dagger no blade washer was used.
We in the hobby call this dagger a “Student Leader” because it has an eagle in the grip. Since all Eickhorn NPEA daggers have the grip eagle, it is the conclusion of the collecting community that this form was used for students as well as student leaders. This same dagger also would be found as a Chained Student Leader piece.
This is a opportunity to acquire a very rare original NPEA Student Leader Dagger; these do not come up very often and this piece is priced to sell.