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 #39139C Late Chained NPEA Leader's Dagger - Karl Burgsmüller
This exact dagger comes from the NPEA collection of Ron Weinand. The exact dagger is pictured in color in the NPEA Book, "Waffenleite Presenting NPEA Daggers of the Third Reich", by Ron Weinand on Page 13. If you do not have this book, you should, as it represents a massive invaluable research work here that will easily set you on the right path for buying an NPEA dagger, whether it be a Student piece, a Leader piece or a Chained Leader example. In addition, the research done on all of the NPEA Schools is not only interesting, but something we all should know about as these schools (many of them former orphanages) were being used for the grooming of future NSDAP leaders - a subject which should be important to those of us out there that want to further our knowledge of history. When the boss put someone as capable as SS-Gruppenführer Heissmeyer in charge of NPEA Schooling along with Reichleiter Rust, you can be sure a decent result was expected.
This top-of-the-line dagger remains in near full mint condition, the only flaw being some minor plating lifting of the lower and upper cross guards where they meet the wood grip. Otherwise the dagger is full mint and new-like. The cross guards are the nickel-plated type, as is the fine matching tang nut. The cross guard plating remains bright throughout except on the cross guard edges mentioned above. The rich wood grip is in pristine condition being the style with high ridge construction. This grip is absolutely perfect throughout and fits the cross guards like a glove. As is the norm for NPEA's, there is no runes button at the top of the grip. The grip eagle is an aluminum late example, being the "high-necked" type. The eagle is completely mint, showing all details of the bird. A wonderful hilt here.
The scabbard shell is straight as an arrow. The shell has brilliant original olive drab paint. (The Burgsmüller olive drab is slightly darker than the color used by Eickhorn on their leader daggers.) This paint retains its original brightness and is 100% throughout. This paint is flawless. The scabbard mounts are the nickel plated type. They too, retain their brilliant factory finish to the nickel plating. They are retained by the later dome head-style screws. The screws are unturned. The scabbard center ramp is the wider style, exclusively used by Burgsmüller. These center ramps were put on hot, and when they cooled the contraction made them tight against the shell. (Burgsmüller did not use a screw on their center mounts, a mistake often made by the repro artists haunting this business). The upper and center mounts are each equipped with a holed tab that was used to connect the chain assembly. The chain on this example is an aluminum Luftwaffe example having six upper and seven lower ringlets. The ringlets are connected to a standard "OLC" marked clip. This chain assembly is also in mint condition, still having lacquer remaining over the parts.
The blade is a real killer - absolute mint having full cross grain and mirror bright finish. The motto, "Mehr sein als scheinen" is completely crisp and has blackening to the letters. The reverse ricasso is matching etched, "Karl Burgsmüller/ Berlin". The original brown felt blade buffer is totally intact and doing its job to protect this beautiful blade. Eickhorn pieces did not use a buffer - another common mistake made by the repro artists.
If you are someone who likes rare daggers and insists on the best imaginable condition, I would think you would have to have this piece. Easily one of the best original examples in existence!
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.