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Auction Date: April 24, 2015

Lot 699: Historic Silver Nazi Trophy, Inscribed to Naz

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Historic Silver Nazi Trophy, Inscribed to Nazi War Production Chief and Personal Architect to Adolf Hitler Albert Speer for His Work on the 1933 Nuremberg Rally
Estimated Price: $40,000 - $60,000
Item Views 166 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Historic Silver Nazi Trophy, Inscribed to Naz ManufacturerNone ModelNone
TypeOther Gauge Catalog Page197
Barrel Finish Grip
Stock ClassOther RatingSee Condition
DescriptionMeasuring 17 1/2 inches tall, 8 1/2 inches deep and 13 inches wide, the first aspect of this trophy that catches the eye is the prominent Nazi eagle perched on top, which features a 13 inch wingspan and a height of 7 inches including the bottom supporter, with the hallmarks of a crescent moon, Imperial crown, "835" and a small eagle on the tail feather section. In a deviation from what is normally seen from German statuary, this eagle was not cast as a single piece, but hand-assembled from multiple individual sheets of 83.5% silver, with the front of the eagle being approximately 8 layers deep to make the facial details and the layers of feathers on the body. The wing is similarly layered, with a solid piece forming the base of the entire wingspan, raised ribs to define the primaries, pierced-through panels forming the coverts and a four layer assembly of feathers on the leading edge. The wreath is stood-off from the base ring and the swastika lifted from the same ring by a hidden support, giving both a sense of depth and dimension missing from the typical solid-cast Nazi statuary. The base for the eagle shows strong elements of Greco-Roman architecture, with a rectangular panel banded in silver Greek key panels with a hand-engraved "sunwheel" pattern swastika decorated bolt on each of the corners, a set of 7 5/8 inch tall fluted columns providing support, and a stepped base with similar banding. A fifth column, bearing the same hallmarks as the eagle, is in the center, silver with niello accents. Each side has a stripe of raised oak leaves, the front a niello sunwheel over the raised lettering "pg/Albert/Speer", and the rear having a raised niello-accented "winged Nazi hammer" icon over the inscription "IN GEDENKEN AN DIE/ZUSAMMENARBEIT/AM/GROSSEN ADLER/DES/REICHSPARTEITAGES/1933/DER/REICHSTAND/DES DEUTSCHEN/HANDWERKS", which roughly translates "In remembrance of collaborating on the Great Eagle for the Reichs Party Days of 1933, from the Imperial Guild of German Handworks". The Reich Party Days (also known as the Nuremberg Rallies) were a combination of nationwide conferences and political events, held at Nuremberg with few exceptions. While they predated the rise of the Nazi Party they took on a new grandeur starting with the 1933 rally, titled the "Rally of Triumph" in reference to the recent appointment of Adolf Hitler to Chancellor of Germany. Albert Speer, a member of the Party who handled the renovation of the Headquarters in Berlin, was approached by the committee planning the rally to submit designs. When no one organizing the thing wanted to take responsibility for green-lighting his work, Speer was told to go to Hitler personally and get approval. Not only did Hitler approve, Speer received his first national-level post to coordinate the artistic and technical matters for the Rally, a post he would continue to hold in later years. One of the elements assembled for the 1933 rally was the Great Eagle to be mounted on the podium used by all the speakers at the rally. Instead of getting a large cast or painted piece, Speer tapped the Guild to create a hand-made eagle for the display. Reportedly, after the Guild made this trophy for Speer in appreciation for giving them the project, Speer gave the trophy back to be displayed in a prominent location in their memorial hall, which was visited by souvenir-hunting soldiers in the late days of the war. The Rally, and Speer's work on it, were originally recorded by Leni Riefenstahl for her propaganda film "Der Sieg des Glaubens" (The Triumph of Faith), which prominently featured Ernest Rohm and his SA; when Rohm was purged, so was the film, which was believed lost until a copy emerged in Britain, though Riefenstahl was able to recycle much of her cinematography for the 1934 Party Rally film Triumph of the Will. Speer's star would continue to rise following the 1933 Rally, being responsible for the German Pavilion at the 1937 World's Fair, the 1938 renovation of the Reichs Chancellery, and eventually the head of all German war production following the death of Fritz Todt. Brought before the tribunal at Nuremberg for his connection to the Nazi war machine and the use of slave labor, he was the only top ranking Nazi to express open remorse and regret for their actions. Serving his full twenty-year sentence in Spandau Prison, Speer managed to avoid a de-Nazification trial which could have resulted in the confiscation of his property; as a result, the majority of artifacts related to him were retained by his family instead of being destroyed by the West Germans or making it to the collector's market.

ConditionVery fine, with a few dings and scuffs, most of which lend credence to the notion that some GI took the trophy apart to make it fit in a duffle bag. The silver overall shows a fine dark color, with a few scattered dings and the banding on the two sides of the top panel coming slightly loose. A few of those dings are on the back of the inscribed panel, which would be a tough place to hit with the trophy assembled. A few circular scuffs are present in the varnish of the wood around the bases of the columns, suggesting they were rotated during disassembly. A fine demonstration of the German silver-workers craft, inscribed to one of the top men in Nazi Germany.
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