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Auction Date: December 8, 2013

Lot 3388: Highly Ornate Punch Bowl, as Presented to Luf

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Highly Ornate Punch Bowl, as Presented to Luftwaffe Chief Hermann Goering by World War One Comrade and 20 July Plot Survivor General der Flieger, Karl Bodenschatz, on the Occasion of Goering's Wedding to Emma Sonnemann, "First Lady of the Third Reich"
Estimated Price: $25,000 - $40,000
Item Views 242 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Highly Ornate Punch Bowl, as Presented to Luf ManufacturerNone ModelNone
TypeOther Gauge Catalog Page162
Barrel Finish Grip
Stock ClassOther RatingSee Condition
DescriptionBorn in Bavaria in 1890, Karl-Heinrich Bodenschatz began his military career as an enlisted man with the 8th Bavarian Infantry Regiment, and by the outbreak of World War One had moved up through the officer's ranks. As an infantry officer, Bodenschatz was injured 4 times in the line of duty and saw action at the Battle of Verdun, and in 1916 he was transferred to the Air Force, becoming the chief adjutant to Manfred von Richthofen, the infamous Red Baron, commander of Jagdgeschwader 1, aka The Flying Circus. It was in this role that Bodenschatz first met Hermann Goering, another infantryman turned aviator who would be JG 1's final commander during the First World War. Following the close of the war, the men went their separate ways, with Bodenschatz staying on with the Reichswehr as an infantry officer and Goering following the path that would lead him to the National Socialists. Following the Nazi Party's rise to power in 1933, Bodenschatz once again became Goering's adjutant in his role as Chief of the Luftwaffe. Also during this time, Goering courted Emma Sonnemann, stage and screen actress, who would be wed to the Field Marshall on April 10, 1935, with this punch bowl from Bodenschatz being one of the presents given to the couple. Bodenschatz would later serve as the Luftwaffe liaison officer to Adolph Hitler, a job that put him among the injured during the 20 July Plot to assassinate Hitler; between the assortment of wounds he suffered in the trenches of World War One and the magnitude of his injuries at the Wolf's Lair, he qualified for the Gold 20 July Wound Badge, one of the rarest awards in Nazi Germany. At the end of the war, Bodenschatz was called to testify at the Nuremberg Trials, served a 2 year sentence himself, and passed on in 1979. Emma Goering became one of the three women contending for the unofficial title of "First Lady of the Third Reich", against Hitler's mistress Eva Braun and Josef Goebbels' wife Magda, and was the only one of the three to survive the war, serving a 1 year sentence and being banned from acting for 5 years, publishing her autobiography a few years before her death in 1973. The punch bowl became one of the treasures Goring stashed away in his childhood home of Schloss Veldenstein in the closing days of the war, and was among the items looted by the local populace before the Americans could get a shot at it, effectively falling off the face of the Earth for several decades before re-emerging on the collector's market. Goering's career trajectory from #2 man in the Third Reich to dead via cyanide pill in a Nuremberg prison cell is well known, and need not be repeated here. The bowl is silver plated, and measures 15 inches wide and 17 inches tall, and is virtually covered with hunting themed regalia, with a standing grouse serving as the handle of the lid, which is extensively engraved with a wheat field pattern, and a pair of fallow deer heads serving as handles on the main body, which is decorated with a band of sharply cut oak leaf and acorn decoration over a series of four quartered panels; the panels between the heads are decorated with game scenes, with a pair of wild boar walking through the forest on one side and a large red stag squaring off against a hunting dog in a clearing on the reverse. The panels with the heads both have a pair of heraldic shields, with the "hoop in mailed fist" of Goering to the left of the head and the "three six-pointed star" arrangement of Sonnemann, over a set of text, one side bearing a hand engraved rendering of the first verse and chorus of the folk song "Ein Jaeger aus Kurpfalz" (A Hunter from the Electoral Palatinate), reportedly a favorite of both Bodenschatz and Goering, with the added line "Waidmanns heil!" (huntsmans greeting) beneath. On the opposite side is the presentation inscription "Mit den besten Wunschen fur das jungvermahlte Ehepaar und/viel Gluck in der Zukunft unseres beiligen Deutschen Reiches!/von deinem alten Kameraden/Bodenschatz/General der Flieger/10 April 1943" (With the best wishes for the newlywed couple and good luck in the future of the German Empire! From your old comrade Bodenschatz, General of Flyers, 10 April 1943). The base of the bowl is decorated with raised wheat patterns similar to the lid, with rectangular vents to aid in air flow. Included with the punch bowl is a silver ladle, 18 3/4 inches long, stamped "FH/W" and "WAGNER" on the rear, indicating Ferdinand Wagner of Pfolzheim, with raised scroll patterns on the handle surrounding a Goering heraldic shield. No hallmarks or maker's stamps could be found on the bowl, and due to the lack of documentation left behind regarding the item identification of the smith responsible would be difficult, bordering on impossible, but an investment of time and effort by a dedicated student of Third Reich history may turn up significant results.

ConditionVery good overall. The bowl, lid and ladle have been well polished, with a dark patina visible in the protected areas, on the lower surfaces, and around the interior. The decoration remains sharp overall, with the detail on the game scenes being of particular note. A one of a kind artifact of the Chief of the Luftwaffe and the "First Lady of the Third Reich", as presented by one of his oldest friends and war comrades
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