The German Railway (Deutsche Reichbahn) by the 1930's had become a very modern transportation system, serving the needs of the country, as well as a acting as throughway for other parts of Europe. It was nationalized by Hitler in 1937. A special protective section known as the Bahnschütz was established using Railway employees. The organization was charged with protecting the Railway system against sabotage, espionage and larceny. The first dagger allegedly worn by this organization was an Army configuration, equipped with black grip. Whether it was actually a Railway dagger is still speculation. Original examples were usually marked with the Robt. Klaas "Kissing Cranes" logo.
The 2nd type worn by the Bahnschütz was a new model introduced in 1937. It is produced of silvered aluminum hilt fittings. The round pommel has a sunwheel swastika on the top. The crossguard features a railway wheel equipped with wings. The scabbard is plated to match, usually being produced with a steel base or sometimes aluminum. The scabbard bands are decoratively lined and the tip has a curled effect. The blade was a plain polished variety.
RAILWAY #40670C 1st Model Railway Dagger - Robert Klaas
This is a textbook Klass 1st Model Railway Dagger. The crossguard and pommel are the generic "A" type. Both mounts are in fine condition, with all of the silvering intact. They do not look to have been cleaned.
The pommel is ringed with twelve standing oak leaves, each with fine detailing. The crossguard eagle is equally fine, showing little to no wear on the breast feathering and with a crisp wreathed swastika. The ferrule is the standard type used with generic mounts.
The grip is the unique type seen on these Klaas examples. If you get used to seeing these grips you will notice the shape from across the room. This one has the traditional nine ribs and is in excellent condition, with only a minor amount of surface chipping in the reverse bottom rib. This could easily be covered by the addition of a standard Army portepee.
The scabbard is also an excellent example, being straight throughout and with good pebbled panels. The silvering looks to be intact and like the hilt it does not look to have been cleaned. There is a very minor amount of age in the surface under the band, but the silvering is still all there. The bands are the unique Klaas type, having hand enhanced overlapping oak leaves and the characteristic asterisk chiseling that disguises the mold line. The thin throat is retained by flat head side screws.
The blade is a good example. It is still bright and shows only the most modest signs of age. The crossgrain is visible and the tip is needle-like. The reverse of the blade is clearly stamped with the Kissing Cranes trademark of the Klaas firm, and the original small leather blade buffer is in place.
A good, solid, totally original 1st Model Railway Dagger here.
Excellent Plus. $2,795.00
RAILWAY #37176 1st Model Railway Dagger – Robert Klaas
As we often see with these daggers the hilt mounts are all the generic “A” variety. This crossguard is essentially identical to the example I show on page 79 of my my Army Book. The pommel is the style that goes with the generic “A” guard, having the stem on the inner center area that is threaded. The ferrule is also the type seen with this style mount. These mounts have perfect silvering throughout, with a very good, deep patina. The pommel has all of the silvering on the upper surfaces, showing a little thinning to the edge but not noticeably. The standing oak leaves number twelves, and are separated by acorns.
The crossguard eagle is an outstanding example, showing little to no wear to the bird's head, breast and wing feathering, talon, wreath and swastika.
The important part, though, is the fine Robert Klass black celluloid grip. This grip has the exact shape and extra length exactly as it should. It is in perfect condition throughout. The sharp viewer will notice that there is still a residue of white paint in the inner rib areas of the grip. As I have said to collectors often in the past, these daggers were originally issues by Klass having a grip that was painted white. After years of usage, the white paint came off and thus the “1st Model Railway” invention was born. It doesn't much matter if these existed in the past as Railway Daggers, as it is an accepted variation and as long as the grip is the proper type and the fittings are the “textbook” to Klass we have a real winner here that adds value to any advanced collection.
The scabbard is an outstanding example, having matching patination. This scabbard has excellent pebbled panels and good overlapping oak leafing to the bands. As we normally see (but not always) on Klass daggers the bands have asterisks which are cut into the two ending areas of each band. Apparently the individual who did the finishing for Klass used this method to conceal the casting seam. A good example of this can been seen in my Army Book on page 119; this scabbard is identical to the one pictured.
The blade of this example is still bright throughout, having a few extremely minor traces of age in the surfaces towards the lower area. Overall, the blade still grades in Excellent Plus, Plus to Near Mint condition. Most of the original grain is still very visible, and the needle-like tip is also present. The reverse ricasso is stamped with the Kissing Cranes logo of Klass, set above the firm's name and location of Solingen. The original brown leather blade washer is in place.
A great opportunity here to acquire a original Klaas Railway piece that is seldom offered today.
Excellent Plus, Plus. $3,495.00