Newsletter May 24, 2016 No. 197

Newsletter May 24, 2016 No. 197

Our recent presentation containing an excellent article appearing in a very respected military journal on the Robert Dold (RODO) SS EM buckles by Dr. Frank Thayer, created a tempest in a tea pot and as this is illustrative of a serious problem in the militaria collecting community, we plan to address it here.

The main problem here is that there is a large grouping of militaria collectors who are basically very ignorant of their hobby and rely heavily on the so-called collector forums.

These forums are, unfortunately, tightly controlled by a group of individuals who wish to control collecting opinions to fit their own, often very erroneous, personal opinions of what is authentic and valuable, and what is not.
Their basic methodology is to publish material on their own, and their friends’ collectables and proclaim that the items they depict are absolutely original and that any other such items are fake. In almost all cases, these opinions are so badly flawed, or deliberate falsehoods, as to be completely useless. And if any member of the forum dares to attempt to correct them, the objector is at once thrown out of the forum as a troublemaker and, if he calls an item a fake, a liar.

Such has been the case of the RODO buckles. This firm made military buckles for all the branches of the German Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS and these buckles are very distinctive in that the maker’s name is always stamped into the buckle reverse, just ahead of the belt hook. And on all original RODO buckles, the belt hook is not aligned with the edge of the buckle but set at an angle.

These features appear on all original RODO buckles, without exception.

The present soi disant experts now claim that these original buckles are fake and that buckles in their very own collections are the only genuine ones.

This is not only misleading but entirely wrong.

We have been bombarded with furious postings from members of two forums who claim we are trying to sell fakes, lying about our statements and are generally disobedient to their own, sacred, opinions.
We had an identical problem when we exposed the fake “SS Honor Rings” and pointed out, correctly, that original rings were struck, not cast, that the dates on the fakes were incorrect and that the skulls were always soldered on the face of the ring, never cast into it.

Individuals who destroy dreams are never popular and are always screamed at. In this particular case, a highly eccentric California-based creature known as ‘Captain Wierdbeard’ joined the chorus of rage, which is entertaining because they are Jewish and a rabid Zionist!

On the other hand, a significant number of the more prominent dealers in German militaria are Jewish.

They are certainly not pro-German but they are deeply in love with money.

10 thoughts on “Newsletter May 24, 2016 No. 197

  1. Absolutely dead-on! These forums are full of the most whining, complaining and trouble-making types who really know very little and are led around by self-important types like that air-headed Frenchman. I know that he is a dealer because he works with Gottlieb selling “really rare” SS items. The guiltier they are, the more frightened they are of being caught out. Keep it up!

    1. This is a bit of overkill. I do not mean to imply that all the forum membera are morons or crooks but they are indeed run by a bunch of obnoxious and self important types and very often by individuals with an axe to grind. Yes that Frenchman is involved with selling and giving CoA etc. And yes, people like that are the first to yell at someone who is shaking their profitable tree. The RODO buckles Dr. Thayer showed are all original. I personally have three RODO buckles I have had for many years, long before they started making new ones and they are all of the identical construction. When a phony “expert” comes along and screams “fake” it is obvious that they are not knowledgeable and uncomfortable when someone might show them up, or that they think what you say will injure their business. Legitimate collectors (and there are many) should boot these types off their forums and seek serious leadership. Not only are million-dollar “Grand Cross” documents faked but even less expensive belt buckles, canteens and boots are being made. If collectors are looking for information, they would be better served to keep away from the ‘I-know-everything’ types, the dealers in fakes and most especially the many “internet auctions” that are packed with the products of China, India, Pakistan and Poland. I am not talking here about “Heinrich Himmler Honor Chairs” but such mundane things as helmets, uniforms, common medals and, yes, belt buckles.

  2. Perhaps I am overstating but I have looked at many of these forums and they seem to be all the same. Very opinionated people, very critical people, very intolerant people seem to be running these sites. Surely the average collector only wants to give, get and share information to help them with their collecting. The honest collectors ought to have a revolt, kick out the control freaks and get people on board that are decent and, most important, knowledgeable about what they are doing. I have seen your excellent pictures of a genuine and a fake buckle and you ought to post these to show the honest collectors what you are talking about and give them an idea about why their bosses are so upset. This is costing all of them money!

    1. You seem to have the problem understood.
      The way they do this is this:
      RODO buckles are popular and not cheap.
      There are many collectors who want to own one.
      There are very few around to buy.
      The solution for the dealer?
      Buy a fake and have pseudo-experts proclaim the fake is original.
      Get the forum leader of belt buckles to agree.
      If possible, have someone write a little book on RODO buckles, showing only the fakes.
      If they are really clever, they show a good, period, one and say it is a fake.
      This is why there is so much screaming from a few people who stand to lose money.
      This sort of thing is very prevalent in the collecting world and the best way to stop it is to discredit the dishonest ones and replace them with decent,knowledgeable, individuals.
      It would help if they did not sell militaria.
      No conflict of interest.
      Thank you for the remarks

  3. Mr. Royster,
    Thank you for your discussion of my Military Advisor article on “The RODO Riddle Reviewed,” and the controversy it engendered. You have added supporting evidence to confirm the material presented in that article.
    I am a collector—not a dealer, and I am not selling SS belt buckles. To the best of my knowledge, going back several decades, everything shown in the article is 100% original to the Third Reich period, except for one illustration of a fake RODO buckle offered for sale AS A REPRODUCTION in the Manion’s International Auction seven years ago.
    Anyone who examines the lot of buckles described in the article will make the same judgments that I have made. Other buckles illustrated for comparison included some equally contested pieces such as the “JFS” buckle with matching belt tab and belt, the barred “A” Assmann Waffen-SS buckle (also found in field grey painted version), “O&C” nickle SS officer buckle, RZM marked aluminum buckles etc.
    In a civiilized academic forum, an author’s thesis may be contested by an equally well-researched and documented article. With the Hegelian thesis/antithesis/synthesis process, facts are confirmed, errors are discarded, and a higher state of knowledge achieved.
    The major finding of this article is in revealing to the collector world in general who “RODO” actually was. Prior to the article, that name was known but to few. I certainly did write to the metal-working firm—still in business even today—but did not receive a reply.
    I appreciate Royster’s goal of verifying original material and documenting known reproductions. This is part of continuing and enjoyable research, combined with the joy of collecting.
    Frank Thayer

    1. The Military Advisor is a reputable publication. The publisher, Roger Bender, is a very serious and very reputable publisher of military history books. I know that you are a very serious, long-time collector and an expert on the SS. You have a significant collection, as per your photographs, of militaria. I have not known you to sell but you do buy. This tempest in a teapot, mostly from outraged and very self-important people, some of whom are working with dealers (as I shall prove soon enough)is, as I see it, the result of your article. Why would we have such a petulant uproar? Because, without meaning to do so, you have published material on the popular RODO buckle that clearly shows the difference between a genuine period buckle and a recent fake. A legitimate collector ought to be happy to find accurate information to assist him in making purchase decision. Someone who screams “fake” and, like the Frenchman (who works with Gottlieb, authenticating buckles and supplying a CoA for him) who accuses you of fraud and also of trying to sell fake buckles, is obviously projecting his own persona. I have looked at many original belt buckles, own two original Army RODO buckles which I acquired 30-40 years ago (long before the fakes appeared) and have seen Luftwaffe, Navy, Army and SS buckles by the same firm of Robert Dold. All of these buckles are original and all of them are made in the exact same way. I never saw a “variant” or a “late war copy” so dear to the crooked dealer or found on the military auction houses in large numbers. I found your well-illustrated article informative and factual and that a small handful of those with personal problems ought not to bother you. I think this fuss points out the problem with most forums. They are not information forums designed to assist collectors but sounding boards for insecure pseudo-experts and a means by which dealers can convince potential buyers that their fakes are actually genuine. Do let us see more such articles and if you submit them to our site, we will be more than happy to publish any or all of them.
      Arthur Royster

  4. You surely do have some strange people involved in this hobby. That flaming nut in California, the one with the filthy beard, keeps writing around, accusing you of being ten different people. I can’t see him collecting German military items because of his ethnic background but then the Internet is full of oddballs with endless stories about plots, strange happenings and their personal opinions on anything of no interest. I think you ought to publish an in-depth article on the RODO buckles along with pictures of the original ones and the fakes that are falsely market RODO. Do that and tiny voices will say that their very own buckle ( that their Grandpa took off of an SS officer in 1942) is the prototype and the real ones are fakes. Goes on all the time. Never tell you friend that you saw his wife getting it on in the back seat of some mudblood’s ratty car. He won’t believe you for a minute and will tell everyone you are a liar. A good, indepth article with facts, not fictions, and good, sharp pictures will be a big help

    1. Yes, there are strange people everywhere these days. Every hobby has them. And I know the mental case you are talking about. There are those abounding who think that anyone who collects German militaria is a rabid Nazi of the kind that toasted a sacred relative. Most collectors are apolitical but we mustn’t make fun of the mentally handicapped. I am even now working up an article on the RODO buckle and I have a good deal of official German material on who made these buckles and how they were marked. I can’t show the reverses of the thirty originals I have pictures of but we can start with RODO. RODO was not a contractor for the RZM so a RODO buckle with an RZM logo is a really bad fake.

  5. This belt buckle business is interesting. Mr. Thayer published an illustrated article on a series of German buckles marked RODO. He published this in a respectable collector magazine. Following this, there was some complaints that his belt buckles were fake. Now, though I am not a real collector, I have some comments based on my observations.
    You said you had two RODO buckles and had them for a long time. They are identical with the Thayer ones. When I was in Moscow a year ago, I got a similar buckle from the military museum there. So I checked up on the internet and found quite a few belt buckle pictures and these are my findings. I must have looked at thirty pictures of buckles on different sites. I saw about six that looked exactly like the Thayer ones and mine. And I assume yours. Then I saw about fifteen buckles that had RODO stamped into them but they certainly were not the same as the ones I have been discussing. They were mostly differently made and all had the RODO logo. Some of them were artificially aged with fake rust, etc. Then I saw a number more buckles that were identical in manufacture but with different names on them. Did the RODO people make eight or nine distinctly different buckles during the war? Given manufacturing processes and dies, I doubt it very much. Did other factories make RODO buckles? Again, I doubt it very much. I think after considering all the evidence, that the Thayer buckles are all original and the others are all recent fakes. And then we come to the ones who are complaining all over the internet. Either they got stuck with fakes and do not want to admit it or they know these are fake and are trying to sell them to suckers. It makes sense, though I am not a buckle collector. And the people who run the forums do not seem to be temperate or know very much but they do make a lot of noise. I think they do because you are hurting their business and reputations.
    Good luck!

    1. Logic overcomes emotion. I am working on an article and have found much of the same material. All the evidence supports the authenticity of the Thayer items and circumstantial evidence is in close support of your views on the upset collector/dealers. Admit nothing. Deny everything. Demand to see proof. Refuse to accept it. I feel sorry for the legitimate collectors on these forums who are being led down the path by the types you clearly define.

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