The Reichsluftschutzbund or RLB was the official air raid protection group for the state. It was established by Air Minister, Hermann Göring in 1935. RLB groups were kept busy training the German population for civil defense. Beginning in 1936, enlisted members of this organization were issued a dagger.
The dagger had nickeled mounts with black ebony grip and black painted scabbard. The short hanger was permanently attached to the scabbard. The 1st Model example had an applied grip insignia which features the organization's initials, RLB, in a blue enamel superimposed over a silvered sunburst.
The 2nd Model was issued in 1938. It was essentially the same dagger, however, the grip insignia featured a large black-enameled swastika, superimposed over a sunburst. The blades were a plain polished finish variety. The Officers of the RLB initially carried daggers with one scabbard suspension ring with early RLB lettered insignia on the grip. The dagger has silvered nickel mounts with leather covered grip and matching scabbard shell. A 2nd Officer Pattern was introduced in 1938. It was nearly identical to the previous type, except the new insignia of the RLB, a large black enameled swastika grip emblem, was substituted for the earlier RLB grip emblem. Additionally a center ramp was added to the scabbard to accommodate a more substantial two strap hanging method. Many existing 1st Model daggers were converted to 2nd Models during the period.
RLBALL #37538 2nd Model RLB Officer's Dagger
This 2nd Model RLB Officer's Dagger is an early example that has never been cleaned. I couldn't believe it but a fellow Moorestownian called me up and asked me if I could take a minute a look at the dagger his father brought home from the war. Well, I thought I had cleaned all of the militaria out of Moorestown years ago, but it seems there is always one more stone to turn over. When the gentlemen brought the dagger in it completely lacked leather on the scabbard but the grip leather was nearly perfect. He had explained that it had been around the house for many years and no one cared about it so it was time to put the dagger into the hands of someone who could properly appreciate it.
This piece has an early pommel and crossguard and they have patinated to an almost black color, which is really nice if you like this look. I hope whoever buys this dagger doesn't clean these fittings; it would be a shame. The pommel is a beauty, with no signs of carrying damage and a good, crisp double rim around the center edge.
The crossguard displays the fine, Art Deco eagle. The bird looks to the viewer's right and clutches a wreath with an open, “floating” swastika within. The bird has hand detailing to his brow, eye, and beak. The wings also have two wide enhancements, simulated a feathered look. The quillon arms are triangular at the end, with three deep cut enhancement lines on each side. Like the pommel there is no sign of carrying wear to these quillons.
As mentioned above the grip is a beauty! The grip base is of carved wood, bulbous in the center and tapering towards either end. It is covered in fine, blue-black Moroccan leather which retains all of the original grain. There is a slight bump in the leather on the reverse but it is not bad. The RLB button is a nice one, with just a hint of the copper base peeking through the silvered surface of the sunburst. The enamel surface shows a little surface wear but overall it is in good condition with no breaks.
The scabbard shell is a steel based type. We have access to the original leather that was used to cover RLB scabbards, a fine grained Moroccan made from the skin of baby goats. This leather exactly matches the grip, and and with our professional installation and workmanship, I really would say that it was nearly impossible to tell we'd restored the piece. Both the grain and the color are identical. The scabbard mounts are in fine condition, with the exact same patination as the hilt fittings. These mounts are retained by headless side screws, all of which are in place and unturned.
The blade of this RLB is as nice as you will see. It is mirror-bright and has a needle-like tip. All of the original crossgraining is intact and other than a couple of extremely minute signs of age it remains in nearly Mint condition. The blade is unmarked but we often see this on RLB Daggers. The original leather blade buffer is in place, also matching all of the other leather components.
If you are looking of a first class RLB Officer's Dagger in outstanding, untouched and uncleaned condition, this piece is for you. It is priced somewhat lower than normal to take into account the scabbard recovering, although you would be very hard pressed to discern this repair. A beautiful, authentic example here.
Excellent Plus, Plus. $2,995.00
RLBALL #47648C 1st Model RLB EM by C. Gustav Spitzer
The Spitzer made RLB’s are always very fine examples, as is this one.
The hilt mounts are all solid nickel. The pommel remains in perfect condition with no hits around its circumference.
The stubby winged crossguard eagle clutches a plain wreathed swastika and remains in crisply detailed throughout.
The ebony grip retains nearly all of the original finish and really looks impressive. The RLB grip insignia is the “1st model” type, with full silvering and undamaged enamel.
The scabbard remains straight and retains the original black paint. There are a couple of chips here and there in the paint, as well as some wear on the left edge. The scabbard mounts are solid nickel and remain without fault, and the throat is retained by a single screw in the center obverse.
Attached to the triangular wire mount is the original hanger. The leather on this fine accoutrement remains sound and the attached solid nickel snap clip is marked “A” and “DRGM”.
The blade is just about as nice as you will see; it remains totally bright and looks to be nickel plated. The reverse ricasso is marked with the prancing lion trademark of the Spitzer firm, and the original black leather washer is in place.
An extremely nice enlisted man’s 1st Model RLB dagger here.
Near Mint. $2,195.00
RLBALL #47646C 2nd Model RLB Officer by Paul Weyersberg
This Weyersberg example is in nice condition throughout. The mounts are a brass base having a nickel coating. The pommel shows some wear to the nickel at the upper portion but otherwise is in good condition featuring its enhanced groove that runs around its circumference. The crossguard still retains all of its silvering having just the slightest amount of age visible in the surfaces but peeling or problems. The bird features the stubby wing type clutching a plain wreath with swastika. The bird’s eyes beak and wings are hand enhanced. The crossguard arms are triangular shaped and feature three enhancement lines that run the length of the surfaces of both arms and on both sides. The grip is a carved wood base with bulbous center. This grip has outstanding original Moroccan leather which remains in complete perfect condition having its original grain. The grip button is also a beauty having 100 percent enamel to the swastika with no repairs. The sunburst around the enamel swastika shows only traces of its original silvered plating being mostly down to the copper base.The scabbard shell is straight throughout. This scabbard is also covered with fine Morocco having matching color and grain of that of the grip. The scabbard mounts are a steel base having good nickel plating. The upper mount has a couple of extremely minor dings in the surfaces but they are not noticeable especially when the hilt is in place. The center ramp and lower mount are in fine condition. All mounts have their original screws. The blade is in just about full mint condition with needlelike tip. It still retains its original crossgrain and is in really nice condition. The reverse ricasso is marked with the dual ovals which contain the firm’s name and location Paul Weyersberg & Co Solingen. In the center is a wreath with downward pointing sword in the middle. The original blade buffer is in place. A nice 2nd RLB officer here.
Excellent Plus Plus. $3,395.00
RLBALL #47676C 1st Model RLB Officer - Ernst Witte
This 1st model RLB is a rarely seen dagger and is in nice condition throughout. The hilt mounts are all of solid nickel with fine silvered finish. The pommel is in nice condition showing a little minor wear at the top but the accent line that runs around the circumference is still nice and crisp. The crossguard features the stubby winged eagle looking to the viewer’s right and clutching a plain wreath with swastika. The eagle reflects hand enhancing to the bird’s eyes beak and wings. The crossguards are triangle shaped having three sets of accent lines on each quillon arm at the front and the rear. The grip leather is in still nice condition showing some very minor usage signs but no cuts or problems. The leather still retains its original grain and is done with two pieces as the usual norm for these examples. The grip button is the fine 1st model type with starburst in the backgrounds and the enamel letters RLB in the center with a blue enamel swastika beneath the letters. The enamel is still quite good with only a small amount missing in the “R” letter. All of the silvering still remains on the sunburst. The scabbard shell is straight throughout and also has outstanding original leather. This leather shows only the most modest signs of usage and remains in near perfect condition. The scabbard mounts are a steel base having nickel plated surfaces. The upper mount is in fine condition on the reverse and on the obverse shows a little age towards the lower right hand side but nothing that is a problem. The lower mount is in nice condition throughout. The four scabbard screws are all intact. Connected to the carrying ring is the rarely seen original short carrying strap. The leather is still in excellent condition throughout being retained by an oval shaped disc on both sides being rivet held. The snap clip is a nickel example and is stamped OLC on the reverse. The blade is an extremely fine example still being bright throughout and having its original grain with needle tip. There is just the slightest amount of sharpening noticeable on the blade edges but it is very minor and does not rise up into the blade itself. This blade other than the sharpening is in mint condition. The reverse ricasso is marked with the etched diamond having the crown above the word Kroneck and below that is the initial W. Below the diamond is the firm’s name and location Ernst Erich Witte Solingen. The original leather washer is in place. An extremely nice rarely seen 1st model RLB officer here.
Excellent Plus Plus. $5,495.00
RLBALL #47647C 1st Model RLB Officer’s Dagger by Ernst Witte
This dagger remains in nice condition overall. The pommel is finely silvered and shows no sign of wear and the crossguard eagle is similarly excellent.
The leather covered wooden grip remains in very fine condition, with visible grain and no traces of hand wear. The affixed RLB insignia retains almost all of the original silvering and the enamel remains entirely undamaged.
The scabbard remains straight throughout and is covered in fine leather that nicely matches that used on the grip. The scabbard mounts retain the original silvered finish and all of the screws are in place.
The blade remains generally bright but it does show some age at the bottom areas. The reverse ricasso is etched with the “Kroneck” trademark of the Ernst Erich Witte firm. The original blade washer is in place.
A nice RLB officer’s dagger here.
RLBALL #46649C 2nd Model RLB Officer No Maker
This example is of later vintage having the aluminum hilt mounts.
The pommel is in good condition showing some wear and still retaining its pointed tip and accent line running around its perimeter.
The crossguard features the stubby winged RLB eagle which looks to the viewer’s right. This eagle has been hand enhanced to the eye beak and wing area. The eagle has a tiny tip that’s missing from the left wing. The bird grasps a plain style round wreath with floating mobile swastika.
The grip is of carved wood base having a bulbous shape in the center tapering on both ends. The leather is done in two pieces and this Moroccan still remains perfect throughout with fine grain. The RLB button is also in very nice condition having most of the silvering to the background sunburst and all of the enamel remains in the swastika.
The scabbard shell is straight throughout. It is covered in matching Moroccan leather having the same grain and this leather is also in perfect condition. The steel based silver mounts reflect quite a bit of patina and do not look to have been ever cleaned. They are retained by headless side screws.
The unmarked is blade is still bright throughout but does have some age spots concentrated around the center area. It has its original needlelike tip.The blue blade washer is in place.
This dagger was recently purchased by me from the son of a veteran. It has never been in a collection nor has it ever been cleaned.