Thursday, March 21, 2013

Caveat emptor!

fake ss knife

I found this knife for sale on Ebay this morning, represented as a “Vintage German WW2 folding paratrooper knife waffen Eickhorn.”

Besides the fact that this was never used in World War II and is a post-war fantasy piece, made in England, there are lots of things that scream “fake!” about it.

Like for instance the fact that German paratroopers were members of the Luftwaffe, not the Waffen-SS. And the RZM mark was for National Socialist Party items only – not for the Luftwaffe or any other branch of the Wehrmacht.

And then there’s the issue of details – the SS eagle is sloppy and poorly executed. The Eickhorn company would never have let a piece of crap like this out of their factory.

At the moment, four hapless suckers have bid this item up to $104.95 with four days left in the auction. I sent a message to the seller, advising him that he is misrepresenting the item. We’ll see how he responds.

paratrooper_knife“Collecting the Edged Weapons of the Third Reich” by Lt.Col. Thomas M. Johnson, considered the definitive reference book on the subject, has a passage devoted to these fakes.

Johnson says they were made with an artificial patina to appear old. He also opines that they have no place in a collection of legitimate Third Reich edged weapons.

This is what a real WWII German paratrooper knife looks like. It’s a gravity knife with a wooden handle. I have one in my collection along with a present-day German paratrooper knife, which is unchanged in design except it has a metal handle.

To deploy the blade, you point it down, flip up the thumb lever and press it. The blade drops into position and locks there until you point it up and press the lever again.

The knife also has a fold-out marlin spike used for separating fouled parachute lines.

The paratrooper knife was intended for use as a tool – not as a fighting weapon – with which the paratrooper could free himself from his parachute upon landing.