As the ‘race to Berlin’ in 1945 was won by the rampaging Red Army, it was almost inevitable that Stalin’s troops would transport anything significant back to Moscow. Allegedly, that included Hitler’s corpse. Yet among the bureaucratic record of his dictatorship was a treasure trove of unpublished glass plate photographs. These had been deemed unsuitable for release by the Nazis at the time but many provide a fascinating glimpse of the life of Hitler and his inner circle.
The most valuable of these images bear the Russian Communist archive stamp on the reverse of the paper, usually Leonar or Brovira as seen here. This example shows Hitler smoking cigars at a meeting with Ernst Röhm. Although there is no date, it was certainly taken before June 1934 when he had the SA leader murdered during the Night of the Long Knives!
Whether it’s a (defused!) WWII grenade, a set of Italian stamps commemorating the international gymastics competition of 1951, a silver tetradrachm from the third century BC or an Eagle comic from 1983 featuring Dan Dare taking on the evil might of the Mekon….chances are we’ve got it.
This is just a sample of some of the treasures on offer every Saturday at Charing Cross Collectors’ Market. Add to your collection (or start one!) this Saturday in the heart of Central London.
This fine collection of women’s Nazi work service badges will be on sale this Saturday at Charing Cross Market. Prices vary but it will certainly not cost you six months’ work of up to 76 hours a week.
The Reich Labour Service or RAD was set up in 1935 as a way of managing unemployment in Germany. It was compulsory for men but voluntary for women until war broke out. Most women worked on farms, factories or in domestic service. With no real wages on offer, the Nazis created a hierarchy of badges to motivate and reward them.
They fall into one of three types: the Arbeitsmaid (bronze worker), the Maidenführer (silver leader) and the Lagerführer (camp leader). Design changes mean we can date them all to particular (war) years. The ‘iron grade’ badges bottom right were awarded from 1941 on completion of six months war service in addition to six months as a ‘volunteer’.
Smaller than a penny but minutely engraved with the profiles and (names!) of 21 European royals, this medallion is a touching tribute from one old man to his colleagues at a Birmingham die sinking factory. Approaching the end of his working life and with his sight failing, the man (whose name we don’t even know) spent every spare moment working to create something for his workmates to remember him by. The intricate work took seven years’ and hastened his blindness. He used the die to cast just five examples and then broke it up, retired and died within a few months completely blind.
Although Queen Victoria is the central portrait on one side and the (then?) Prince and Princess of Wales on the other, this is very hard to date. Various other nobles, the Duchess of Connaught and Princess Louise among them, can be seen round the outside. The only source we have is the Daily Mail article seen here but if anyone knows any more please get in touch.