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 #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
RAILWAY #36193 1st Model Railway Dagger – Robert Klaas
This 1st Model Railway Dagger is a classic, textbook Klaas dagger. It is equipped with the generic “B” hilt mounts. These mounts are the same as is shown in my Army Book on page 99. The pommel has fourteen oak leaves that run around the outside circumference. The oak leaves are all nicely hand accented particularly in the area where the casting seam falls on both sides. The rim is in good condition throughout with no hits, and the top of the pommel is also in excellent condition. All silvering is intact here. These pommels are the style that have the threaded stem on the inner center area. These were the pommels that were sold with the generic “B” crossguard by the producer of these mounts. The crossguard is an outstanding example also having all silvering. It has the fine serpent-like head which looks to the viewer’s left. This head has all details to the eye and beak as well as to the breast and wing feathering, talons, wreath and raised swastika. The pommel and crossguard have a nice even matching patination. The ferrule is the same as the example I show on page 99.
The grip of this dagger is the black celluloid type that was only used by the Robert Klaas firm. These grips are slightly longer than the norm and they also have their own unique shape. This grip is in 100% condition and really looks impressive against the silver mounts. As most collectors know the so-called “1st Model Railway” example is actually a variation of the Army dagger, as when originally found these grips were painted white. The white paint has come off over the last seven decades and collectors have called them a first railway piece. Whether or not they really are is conjecture but for sure, the Klaas examples are legitimate variations which no advance collection would be complete without one.
The scabbard is also a fine example having all the silvering throughout and showing only nominal age. The pebble patterns are still crisp and the carrying bands feature excellent overlapping oak leaves all with hand accented veins. The two end portions of both of the carrying bands are engraved with the asterisk mark. This marking was done by the in house Klaas engraver and you can see an example with these identical asterisk marks on the bands on page 119 of my Army Book. The throat is retained by two flatter head screws which are slightly down on the edges of the scabbard. They are both unbuggered.
The blade of this example is still bright with fine needlelike tip. It has most of its crossgraining and would be full mint were there not for a little bit of minor smudging in the surfaces of both sides. The blade still, however, grades at near mint condition. On the reverse ricasso the blade is stamped with the kissing cranes trademark. These birds area positioned over the firm’s name and location, “Robt Klaas / Solingen”. The original brown leather blade buffer is in place. A rare opportunity here to acquire a 100% genuine Robert Klaas 1st Model Railway Dagger.
Excellent Plus. $3,295.00