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 #38377C 1st Model Railway Dagger – Robert Klass
This 1st Model Railway Dagger is a classic Klass example. The hilt mounts are the generic “B” variety. Both the pommel and crossguard and in excellent condition throughout, having perfect silvering and no lifting.
The pommel has a nice patination on the top and has good, smooth surfaces. The standing oak leaves which run around the pommel are crisp throughout. The crossguard has a fine, generic “B” style eagle, which you can see in my Army Book on page 100. This eagle is extremely crisp throughout, with a fine eye, beak, and exceptional feathering. It grasps a fine wreathed swastika which retains all of the original darkening in the backgrounds. The upper ferrule matching nicely.
The grip on these Klass pieces is unique, being slightly longer than we normally see. This grip is in perfect condition throughout, with a nice sheen on the surfaces and 100% original.
The scabbard is straight throughout. There is some minor age present on the lower panels of both sides but the silvering is still all there. There is also a little aging on the edges, but again the silvering remains intact. The bands are the typical Klass style, with overlapping oak leaves and “*” marks on both ends used to disguise the casting seam. You can see these marks on page 119 of my Army book. Apparently the finish engravers that worked for Klass used this characteristic mark; we often see it on Klass scabbards, but not all of the time. There are very few things in this hobby that are always the same. The throat is retained by two flat head side screws.
The blade of this dagger is a polished type. It is still in good condition throughout, maybe being just the slightest bit gray but certainly not bad. The tip remains needle-like and there are no age spots anywhere to be seen. The reverse ricasso is stamped with the famous Kissing Cranes logo of the Klass firm, and the original black leather blade washer is in place.
An excellent, all original 1st Model Railway Dagger here.
Excellent Plus. $2,695.00
RAILWAY #38293 2nd Model Railway Official's Dagger – Carl Eickhorn
The pommel is the two piece variety with a cone shaped ferrule below. It has good, crisp edges running around the perimeter, with no hits. The upper portion of the pommel is decorated with a raised sunwheel swastika that is also in choice condition. The lower ferrule is in place and matches the upper ferrule with its lined design.
The crossguard is plain on the reverse, while the obverse features raised winged train wheel. There is the usual Eickhorn flaw just to the viewer's left of the wheel. The wings are nicely lined and the wheel has outstanding detail. The guards extend downward, having a lined design which ends in rounded quillons; I personally think these Railway guards are quite beautiful.
The grip is a fine black celluloid type. This grip has seven ribs which run downward from right to left. Each and every one of these ribs is in perfect condition and the fine black color has an attractive sheen.
This piece has one of the Johnson knots wrapped around it. The knot is in very nice condition and, as most collectors know, these knots were produced of original factory materials by one of the original accouterment firms that is still in business today. Since it is very difficult to find an original Railway knot, this one can suffice until a proper example is located.
The scabbard is a steel based example with an aluminum coating. All of the aluminum is present throughout. It appears as though there was a small dent repair made to the center obverse between the lower band and the chape. Beyond this it is in choice, perfect condition. The lower chape has the two Railway style curlicues positioned above the button end. The throat is a typical, thick Eickhorn type, and is retained by a single flat head screw set into the reverse center.
The blade is outstanding, being stone mint, with a needle-like tip, all of the crossgrain, and a mirror finish. The reverse ricasso is darkly etched with the familiar 1935-41 Eickhorn Squirrel trademark, and the original, new-like brown leather blade buffer is in place.
An extremely nice 2nd Model Railway Dagger here. These daggers are getting very difficult to come by; I believe this is the first example I've had to offer in well over a year.
Near Mint. $5,500.00
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