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 #45679 1st Model Railway by Robert Klaas
This Klaas railway dagger is produced with the classic mounts grip and scabbard that we like to see on these pieces. The pommel and crossguard are the generic type B variety. The mounts are nicely patinated and not have not been cleaned in some time.
The pommel has a good crisp rim and the upper portion shows only minor signs of carrying. This pommel type features the 14 standing oak leaves all nicely hand enhanced. The ferrule matches the pommel. The generic B crossguard eagle is an outstanding bird which I have always liked. The noble head has all details to the brow eye and beak and the breast feathering is finely checkered. The wreath is also nicely enhanced with a vaulted swastika having black backgrounds.
The grip is the traditional Klaas type being slightly longer than other Army grips and it is in fine condition other than a little flake at the third rib at the left side. This however is very difficult to see because of the black on black grip. A very fine hilt here.
The scabbard is also a nice example having all of its silver present and still good pebbled panels on both sides. The carrying bands have excellent overlapping oak leaves with visible hand enhancing. They have the usual “asterisk” marks that the in-house Klaas finisher used as his method to conceal casting marks. The throat is retained by two flatter head style screws.
The blade is a beauty being a nickel plated type. The finish is still in perfect high quality condition with needlelike tip. This mint blade is stamped on the reverse with the kissing cranes and beneath the firm’s name and location Robert Klaas Solingen. The original brown leather small stryle blade washer is in place.
A very nice 1st railway here that would be difficult to upgrade.
Near Mint. $3,295.00
RAILWAY #45430C 2nd Model Bahnschutz by Carl Eickhorn
The two piece pommel is in excellent condition throughout having the sunwheel swastika at the top. At the center there an equator like device that goes around and the bottom screws in to the ferrule type fitting attached top the pommel top.
The crossguard is the typical Eickhorn type having excellent silvering throughout and depicting the winged railway wheel on the front. It has the usual casting flaw to the left of the wheel. The crossguard arms are in nice condition both turning downward at their quillon ends.
The grip is a very fine black celluloid being in perfect condition.
There is a interesting looking portepee on this example but I feel that it is probably post war. It does look very good though so we will leave it on the dagger. It has a bullion style cord with black flecks and then the slide and stem have black V woven designs. The lower ball has a purple velvet insert.
The scabbard is a fine steel example with silver plating exactly matching the hilt. The scabbard remains in complete perfect condition having the fine chape at the end featuring the curlicue devices. The bands are lined and both in very fine condition. The thicker style typical Eickhorn throat is retained by a single flatter head style screw in the reverse.
The blade is a very fine example being completely bright throughout and having its needlelike tip. The crossgrain is all there and and there is just only a couple of very very minor signs that indicate the blade is even old. It easily grades in near full mint condition. The ricasso is etched with the 1935 throughout 41 trademark. The leather blade washer is in place within the crossguard recesses.
An extremely nice railway dagger her especially with the fine dull tone it has evenly developed over the years.
Near Mint. $4,495.00
RAILWAY #42185C 1st Model Railway Dagger - Robert Klaas
The pommel is nicely patinated, and matches the guard. It shows only the most modest of wear on the upper surface. It features fourteen standing oak leaves and has a stud style thread on the inside. The crossguard eagle is finely detailed and the plating remains 100% intact.
The grip of this dagger is the special black celluloid example often seen on Klaas pieces. It is slightly longer than the normal Army grip, as well as having a special shape which you will recognize if you compare it to other grips.
The Klaas scabbard is a very fine example, with complete silvering and little to no age. The pebbled panels remain crisp. The bands are unique to Klaas; the ends have the accent marks hand scribed to conceal the mold lines. The throat is retained by a pair of headless side screws.
The blade is a very nice example, with full crossgrain. Aside from a little age on the lower obverse it is nearly perfect, with a fine, needle-like tip. The reverse ricasso is stamped with the Kissing Cranes trademark of the Klaas firm, and the original brown leather blade washer is in place.
A good, solid, textbook 1st Model Railway Dagger here.
Excellent Plus. $2,495.00(#051021)
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