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2019 Collecting Year in Review
Old 01-02-2020, 12:11 PM   #1
Flash00TA
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Default 2019 Collecting Year in Review

With the new year upon us, I figured this was a good time to start the annual collecting year in review thread. 2019 was a pretty good collecting year for me, although I slowed down quite a bit over the last few months. Grenzpolizei/Grenztruppen is my main area of interest and focus, so without further ado, I'll get started with the most interesting uniforms items I was fortunate enough to obtain.

While 2018 was a good year for me in regards to hats and headgear, 2019 was less fruitful in that area. My nicest addition was this early, 1964 dated visor hat with the early style embroidered wreath in size 55. It is in really beautiful condition with the no mothing or stains and a really good condition vulcanfiber visor. This is actually my second early GT visor with embroidered wreath, but this one is in nicer condition. I don't usually add duplicates, but since it was in nicer shape and I was able to get it for what I thought was a very reasonable price, I decided to go for it.
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:26 PM   #2
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Next up is a "blumentarn" field shirt dated IV/M (1970) in size G48. I've been wanting a "blumentarn" field shirt for the collection for some time, but I was being to picky on condition, or to cheap to pay the prices for the really nice examples. This one has definitely been there and done that. The color is decent overall, but does have some noticeable fading. The interior markings are also well worn, but still barely readable. It does have some repairs to it that seem to be from the period of use. These include some patches sewn on at each sleeve cuff and some repair stitching where the loop above the right arm pocket was torn off. It was also missing a pair of buttons when I purchased it, but I have since been able to purchase a handful of the correct, early brown buttons from a dealer in Germany with which to sew on to the jacket. I even have a few extra now in case they are needed in the future. I had a pair of the early style, subdued Stabsfeldwebel shoulderboards that I've had laying around for a while and I thought this jacket was the perfect opportunity to put them to good use........they look good on it I think. Maybe one day I'll be able to upgrade with a nicer example, but I think I still wound up with a decent, representative example to fill a gap in my collection!
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:47 PM   #3
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I was also able to finally add an officers tunic with the early bullion collar tabs and cuff bars to the collection as well. The tunic is dated is dated II/66, is size 26 (according to the neck tag) and has the manufacturer code 1850. Overall, the tunic is in great shape with only a bit of mothing to the green piping at the beck of the neck to detract from it. 1966 is at the end of the bullion insignia era, and it was brought to my attention by a collector friend in Germany that he didn't think the insignia was original to the tunic as the collar tabs are sewn to be aligned with the collar line instead of the neck line. He did go on to say that he didn't think that was a big knock on the tunic because sometimes officers swapped insignia because the bullion insignia had more of a "cool" factor than the newer insignia. The tunic came with the correct, early style shoulderboards and the silver DDR sports badge. It also came with a near mint pair of officer quality pants in size 50 with a IV/66 date stamp and maker marked 1802. The medals I added to the tunic based on a few original photographs I have of Grenztruppen Majors and Oberstleutnants wearing the same combination of medals from the 1963/1964 period. As far as I can tell, and I'm no medal expert, all the medals are of the correct age to match the tunic. The silver TD medal is 900 marked and the KVP TD medal is in the 3,000 serial number range.
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Old 01-02-2020, 01:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flash00TA View Post
I was also able to finally add an officers tunic with the early bullion collar tabs and cuff bars to the collection as well.
Fantastic tunic, just lovely! I think I saw this on sale a while back. You are lucky to own it, these are very, very hard to come by these days! Not to mention with cuff bars attached.

The cap is a very impressive example as well. Congratulations!

-Joel
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Old 01-02-2020, 01:06 PM   #5
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I was also able to find another very elusive tunic, a GT NCO "der Spiess" tunic. The fact that it is also a parade version is icing on the cake! The Fahnrich version of the "der Spiess" tunics do pop up if your patient, but it took me what felt like forever to find the NCO version. When I purchased it, it did have significant staining on the front and back of the tunic.....almost all of which I was able to carefully removing with a spray stain remover, scrub brush and warm water. Unfortunately, there is still a noticeable stain in the white lettering of the GT cuff title that wouldn't come out, but isn't the end of the world I don't think. The jacket is size M52, is dated I/O (1974) and maker marked 1850. It came with a pair of career breeches in size M52-1 that are Z dated (1969) and maker marked 1850 as well. They appear in unissued condition and still have the factory paper tag stitched on. When I purchased the uniform, the tunic came with two rows of medals that I thought were not appropriate, so I replaced them with just two medals. The bronze NVA TD medal is age appropriate to the tunic being the version manufactured from 1972-1977. I think I may eventually swap out the Vorbildlichen Grenzdienst medal with a slightly older version with a darker green ribbon, but the one that's on there will do for now. I also swapped out the gold DDR sports badge that came with it for an NVA sports badge, and also added a Bester badge as well. The shooting lanyard came with the uniform and is the older style made with metallic thread. The double winkel and parade cuff bars are hand sewn, but not through the lining.
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Old 01-02-2020, 01:25 PM   #6
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Another scarce uniform item that I was able to snag, that I wasn't even sure existed until I saw this one for sale, was a Volksmarine wintermantel with the Grenztruppen cuff title for members of the GT boat units that patrolled the rivers. I assumed that since the members of the GT boat units wore Volksmarine tunics with the GT cuff title, the same would hold true for the wintermantel as well, but I had never seen one offered for sale, nor have I ever seen any in wear in period photos. I did find this wintermantel for sale in a grouping of uniforms that came with the wintermantel, officers tunic, two VM hemdbluse and a "Donald Duck" hat with VM band (which is obviously not correct for these uniforms). The price was much lower than I thought the whole grouping would go for, which is always a nice bonus! The wintermantel is in like new condition and the cuff title is machine sewn and not through the lining. Everything appears exactly as I would expect it to. It is size I don't recall the size on either the wintermantel or tunic, but I think they are in the 48 range. The wintermantel is NVA stamped, maker marked 1806 and dated C/2 (1983). The tunic is also in near mint condition. It is also NVA stamped, maker marked 1850 and dated H/I (1984). The officer VM tunics with GT cuff titles take a little effort to turn up, so this was a nice bonus to get the wintermantel and tunic together. Since they are both set up for Leutnant rank and so close in manufacture date, it seems reasonable to think that they both belonged to the same officer. That's obviously speculation on my part, but certainly doesn't seem out of the range of plausibility. The tunic is actually the second VM officers tunic for the GT boat units that I've been able to add to my collection.....but I'm still searching for a petty officers version. You would think there would have been more petty officers than officers, but the petty officers tunics seem to be much more difficult to locate. There's always something more to search for isn't there!
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Old 01-02-2020, 01:44 PM   #7
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The last uniform item I'll display for this thread is probably the crown jewel of my GT collection......and that's my GT Generals "formal" uniform. This uniform was purchased in conjunction with a group of documents and supposedly all came from the estate of GT Generalmajor Gunter Gabriel. Unfortunately there is no provenance with the uniform so I don't think anyone can see for certain that the uniform actually belonged to GM Gabriel. The medal bar is set up with the four highest medals that GM Gabriel was awarded, and they did come with the tunic. The tunic also has the correct NVA academy badge, but it isn't visible because of the fold in the uniform. The uniform portion of the grouping came to me with the visor hat, tunic, pants, dress shirt and tie. The tunic and pants are both made out of a unique material that I'm told is called "prescient 20" or something like that. Its fairly obvious that the tunic and pants are custom made and not converted officers uniforms. I'm not real familiar with Generals uniforms, so I made sure that I sent detailed photos to friends way more knowledgeable than I before committing to the purchase. Other than head gear, this is my first Generals uniform. One interesting feature of the tunic is that the collar tabs are both glued and sewn in place. The left collar tab does show some signs of the glue, which always surprises me that sloppiness of this level would be shown on a custom made Generals tunic. The tunic does have some staining on the backside, but nothing serious and it doesn't really detract from the displayability of the tunic in my opinion.
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Old 01-02-2020, 02:02 PM   #8
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I also wanted to share the documents that came with the uniform grouping. Ironically, the silver VVO and award certificate I had purchased by itself a few years ago. Ironic how a few years later, I was able to add an additional eight documents that were awarded to the same General. They consist of the silver MdI Treue Dienste medal to Hauptmann Gabriel in 1961, 25 year TD document and cased mini dagger to Oberstleutnant Gabriel in 1977, copy of the book "Soldatengesichter" with hand written inscription presented to Oberst Gabriel from the officers of the unit KPW 26 in Gross Glienicke in 1980, certificate of completion for the Hochschule "Wilhelm Pieck" to Oberst Gabriel in 1982, 30 year TD document to Oberst Gabriel in 1982, certificate for the Deutsche-Sowjetische Freundschaft Ehrennadel in gold to Generalmajor Gabriel in 1982, Vaterlandischen Verdienstorden in bronze to Generalmajor Gabriel in 1983, Vaterlandischen Verdienstorden in silver to Generalmajor Gabriel in 1986 and the Kampfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse Verdienstmedaille in gold to Generalmajor Gabriel in 1988.

I will share some other unique and interesting documents and awards that I obtained for my collection in 2019 later tonight when time permits. I hope everyone enjoys seeing the photos of my collection additions, and I'm really looking forward to seeing and hearing about the goodies that others added to theirs in 2019 as well!!
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:40 PM   #9
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you had a great 2019 for adding more GT items into your collection, nicely done indeed.

Thanks for starting this thread and it will be good to see what others added to their collection this past year.
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Old 01-02-2020, 05:51 PM   #10
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Thank you for the compliments Ralph and Venturefan260, much appreciated. I've been very fortunate to obtain some of the items that I have, and appreciate the help and generosity of some of the friends that I've made from this site.

Moving along to the document side of things, I've been lucky to add some unit awards to my collection this year. Medals and certificates awarded to units are much rarer than comparable awards to individuals. I have included photos of my two favorite unit awards from last year. Both of them show signs of having been hung on a wall at some point in their lives, likely in their units Traditionszimmer.
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:01 PM   #11
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You know I always like to see medals and award documents and yours are great to see.
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:01 PM   #12
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Lastly, I'd like to share some early Grenzpolizei documents from the 1940s. 2018 proved to be a great year for me in regards to Grenzpolizei uniforms, and 2019 was just as good for the Grenzpolizei and border related documents. I've found Grenzpolizei items from the 1940s to be exceedingly difficult to locate, so I'm really grateful that I was able to get this pair. The first is a Dienstausweis for a member of the Grenzpolizei from 1947. Unfortunately the stamps have faded over time and are illegible, but otherwise the document is in very good shape. The fact that it is written in German and Russian makes it especially interesting in my opinion. This document is from the time frame when the Soviets still had a hand in the security of the borders of the Eastern zone. The other item is a certificate awarded to an Oberwachmeister in 1949. I absolutely love the graphics on this document, I think its one of the nicer DDR designs I've seen.

Ok, I've shared my 2019 acquisitions, now lets see some others!!!
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Old 01-07-2020, 07:35 PM   #13
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Flash,

Thanks for posting. We've discussed these items before but it's nice to see them all in one place.

The Wintermantel is the only one I've seen - awesome catch! And you do seem to have a knack for turning up amazing documents.
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Old 01-07-2020, 07:42 PM   #14
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While I'm here, I'll post something that I happen to have pics of already. Flash will really appreciate this one.

Here's a woman's Grenztruppen NCO parade tunic. Completely custom tailored.

The bottom pic is the lining of the interior pocket. Love that "piano key" pattern. Never seen anything like it before.
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Old 01-08-2020, 03:58 PM   #15
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As for my 2019 collecting, I slightly shifted for the time being. I did add some stasi items, however I added some items to my collection associated with persons in the KGB, GRU and MVD. Some of those items will be in future articles.

Some of you know I have written articles in the past related to the Cold War era, beyond the three volume books I have also written. If you are interested in reading them please let me know via a PM with your e-mail address.
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