Newsletter May 29, 2016 No. 198

Newsletter May 29, 2016 No. 198

fake RODO buckle
A post-war reproduction Robert Dold buckle
real RODO buckle
A genuine Third Reich Robert Dold (RODO) buckle

The Robert C. Dold, and other, military belt buckles

The recent article by Dr. Frank Thayer appearing in the ‘Military Advisor’ magazine on the SS enlisted personnel belt buckles by Robert Dold (RODO) has stirred up controversy among certain collectors and members of militaria forums.

When the article appeared, there were public outcries from several German militaria forum participants, including leaders of the belt buckle sections and authors of material on the same subject.

Their cry was that all the buckles shown in the Thayer article were fakes. They produced no evidence in support of their claim but made a great deal of outraged noise.

A careful search of photographs and other material concerning the RODO buckles has very clearly shown that the buckles shown in the article are completely genuine to the period.
Why, then has such a vicious attack been made on Dr. Thayer and his buckles?

The German militaria collecting world, like the world of fine art, is controlled by a few individuals and their allies. The forums are merely sounding boards for merchandisers as well as ego-builders for those with personality deficiencies.

In this case, typical of its kind, there is a created demand for RODO buckles and to augment a small supply of genuine ones, dealers and their cooperative “experts” have filled the need.

They do this by purchasing modern replica buckles, antiquing them by putting them in a rotating clothes dryer until they become chipped and worn, and then painting them with ‘Rustall,’ a product used in model railroading. This puts what appears to be a rust coating on the buckle. But this finish can be removed by using a swab and solvent.

Acetone is the most effective testing medium.

Genuine rust will not come off but the applied ‘Rustall’ will.

And as all the generic fakes have the belt catch hook the same on all their pieces, the fakers now claim that these recent fakes are the genuine RODO buckle and the genuine ones with the easily-identifiable twisted leg on the catch hook are fakes.

And because genuinely informative articles or postings bring the recent fakes into question, these are at once attacked, in self-defense, by the dealers in fakes and their co-conspirators.

That is why the Thayer article has been attacked.

Here, from German wartime records, available to the public from the Bundesarchiv in Coblenz, Germany, is a complete listing of the German RZM, and other, producers of military belt buckles.

It is interesting to note that there are offered for sale, purported RODO buckles with RZM logos stamped into them. Since Robert C. Dold, the manufacturer of RODO buckles, was not under contract with the RZM, such a buckle is obviously a fake.

RZM-M4  Belt Buckles
Since the first RZM production licenses were issued on March 9, 1935, no buckles released prior to that time would bear the RZM M4/ code. This would account for the number of SA, German Youth and Hitler Youth buckles without RZM marks.

RZM Number     Manufacturer     City
1     M4/1     Ferdinand Hofstatter     Bonn a.R.
M4/1 through M4/47 contract code numbers were issued between March 9, 1935 and December 31, 1935
2     M4/2     Martin Winter     Munchen
3     M4/3     Kallenbach, Mayer & Franke Luckenwalde
4     M4/4     Gustav Emil Ficker Beierfeld
5     M4/5     Leistner & Cie. Leipzig
6     M4/6     C. u. W. Meinel-Scholar Klingenthal
7     M4/7     Hermann Sprenger     Iserlohn
8     M4/8     Rudolf Wachtler & Lange Mittweida
9     M4/9     Albert Winges  Trusen (Thuringen)
10     M4/10     Bernhard Haarmann     Ludenscheid
11     M4/11     August Enders AG Ludenscheid
12     M4/12     Mathias Kutsch  Attendorn (MK)
13     M4/13     Paul Schuhmacher  Ludenscheid
14     M4/14     Otto Fechler     Bernsbach
15     M4/15     Paul Meybauer Berlin SW68
16     M4/16     Robert Tummler Döbeln
17     M4/17     Ernst Meissner Holenlimburg
18     M4/18     Julius Bauer Söhne     Zella-Mehlis
19     M4/19     Ernst Schneider Ludenscheid (ESL)
20     M4/20     Hillenbrand & Bröer     Ludenscheid
21     M4/21     Hans Schönfelder  Mitweide
22     M4/22     Christian Theodor Dicke Ludenscheid (CTD; CTH)
23     M4/23     Dr. Franke & Cie KG     Ludenscheid
24     M4/24     Friedrich Linden Ludenscheid (FLL)
25     M4/25     Noelle & Heuck KG Ludenscheid (N&H)
26     M4/26     Offenberg-Engels Iserlohn
27     M4/27     Overhoff & Cie Ludenscheid (O &C; OCL)
28     M4/28     Paulmann & Crone Ludenscheid (PC)
29     M4/29     K. Fr. Brahm     Furth
30     M4/30     Berg & Nolte AG Ludenscheid (B&N L)
31     M4/31     Max Haufe  Grossröhrsdorf
32     M4/32     Gerbruder Hahne Ludenscheid
33     M4/33     J.D. von Hagen GmbH Iserlohn
34     M4/34     Heinrich Nordwall Dransfeld & Co Menden
35     M4/35     Moeller & Schröder     Offenbach a.M.
36     M4/36     Ludenscheid Knopffabrik von Hofe & Co GmbH Ludenscheid 37     M4/37     Stefan Merkl     Nurnberg
38     M4/38     Richard Sieper & Söhne Ludenscheid (R.S&S.)
39     M4/39     F. W. Assmann & Söhne Ludenscheid (A;A&S)
40     M4/40     Giesse & Schmidt Ruhla (Thuringen)
41     M4/41     Schmal & Schultz Wuppertal-Barmen
42     M4/42     Hermann Aurich Dresden A16 (H.A.)
43     M4/43     H.A. Erbe Schmalkalden
44     M4/44     Paul Cramer & Cie Ludenscheid
45     M4/45     Cramer & Dornbach     Ludenscheid
46     M4/46     Wilhelm Schroder & Cie Ludenscheid
47     M4/47     Ebberg & Co     Ludenscheid
48     M4/48     P.C. Turck Wwe Ludenscheid
M4/48 through M4/64 contract code numbers were issued between January 1, 1936 and December 1936
49     M4/49     Steinhauer & Luck Ludenscheid
50     M4/50     Willy Thuy Ludenscheid
51     M4/51     Horner & Dittermann Wuppertal-Barmen
52     M4/52     Linden und Funke GmbH Iserlohn
53     M4/53     Zieh-Press-u. Stanzwerk Zwintschona bei Halle
54     M4/54     Willy Annetsberger     Munchen
55     M4/55     Julius Kremp     Ludenscheid
56     M4/56     Friedrich Keller Oberstein a.d. Nahe
57     M4/57     Julius Maurer     Oberstein a.d. Nahe
58     M4/58     Wilhelm Deus Solingen
59     M4/59     Adolf Baumeister Ludenscheid (Ad.B.L.)
60     M4/60     Gustav Brehmer Markneukirchen (GB)
61     M4/61     Julius Dinnebier Nachf. Ludenscheid
62     M4/62     Arld Heinrich     Nurnberg Ost
63     M4/63     Werner Redo     Saarlautern
64     M4/64     Otto Geiger     Ludenscheid
65     M4/65     Georg Bonitz     Schwarzenberg
M4/65 through M4/79 contract code numbers were issued between January 1, 1937 and December 31, 1937
66     M4/66     Stimming u. Venzlaff Altenburg
67     M4/67     Emil Juttner     Ludenscheid
68     M4/68     Norddeutsches Nickel u. Silberwaren GmbH Hamburg 39
69     M4/69     Meyer & Wilhelm Stuttgart
70     M4/70     Kugel & Fink     Ludenscheid
71     M4/71     Lehmann & Wundenberg Hannover
72     M4/72     Wilhelm Deumer Ludenscheid
73     M4/73     Lohmann & Welschehold Meinerzhagen
74     M4/74     Wilhelm Geiger GmbH Ludenscheid
75     M4/75     Walter Demmer Ludenscheid
76     M4/76     Petz & Koch     Unterreichenenbach
77     M4/77     Gebruder Gloerfeld     Ludenscheid
78     M4/78     F. K. Volgelsang & Cie Ludenscheid
79     M4/79     Hillenbrand & Broer     Ludenscheid
80     M4/80     Lind & Meyer     Oberstein a.d. Nahe
81     M4/81     Inhaber Frau Johanna Kaukal Wien
M4/81 through M4/106 were contract code numbers issued manufacturing firms located in the newly acquired Austrian territory. The numbers, to include M4/80, were issued January 1, 1938 and December 1938
82     M4/82     List & Hertl Wien
83     M4/83     (Unknown) (Unknown)
84     M4/84     Grossman & Co  Mahrisch-Trubau
85     M4/85     Fr. Bibus & Sohn  Mahrisch-Trubau
86     M4/86     Heubach & Co  Oberstein
87     M4/87     Matth. Salcher & Sohne AG     Wagstadt (Sudetenland)
88     M4/88     Augustin Hieke Tyussa bei Bodenbach
89     M4/89     Reichelmann & Co Tellnitz bei Aussig
90     M4/90     Ad. Grohmann & Sohn Wurbenthal (Sudetenland)
91     M4/91     (Unknown)     (Unknown)
92     M4/92     Heinrich Ulbrichts Witwe Wien XIII
93     M4/93     Lenkwerk Bruder Schneider AG Wien VI
94     M4/93     J. Hammer & Sohne     Geringswalde (after Jan ’39)
95     M4/94     Raimond Moser Wien VII
96     M4/95     Frankz Weinrank Wien VI
97     M4/96     Hans Pacher     Wien XVIII
98     M4/97     Friedrich Ort     Wien VI
99     M4/98     Frankz Petzl     Wien VI
100     M4/99     Franke & Sohn Heidenreichstein
101     M4/100 Rudolf Meschiga Wien VIII
102     M4/101 Dominik Schonbaumsfeld’s Sohn     Wien I
103     M4/102 William Prym Wien III
104     M4/103 Rudolf Schanes Wien XIII
105     M4/104 Phil. Turks Wwe. Wien XVI/2
106     M4/105 Argentor Werke Wien VII
107     M4/106 Maria Schenkl Wien XVI
108     M4/107 Franke & Feif Stuttgart
M4/107 through M4/121 contract code numbers were issued between 1939 and 1944
109     M4/108 Adalb. Kanngeisser     Wien
110     M4/109 Rud. und Karl Kraus Solingen
111     M4/110 Josef Feix Sohne Gablonz (JFS)
112     M4/111 (Unknown)     (Unknown)
113     M4/112 (Unknown)     (Unknown)
114     M4/113 (Unknown)     (Unknown)
115     M4/114 Otto Honsel     Werdohl
116     M4/115 Klein & Quenzer AG Oberstein
117     M4/116 Camill Bergmann & Co Gablonz (Sudetenland)
118     M4/117 W. Aurich Leipe
119     M4/118 Werner Redo Saarlautern (reissue)
120     M4/119 Eugen Schmiedhausler Pforzheim
121     M4/120 Karl Hensler Metallwarenfabrik Pforzheim
122     M4/121 (Unknown)     (Unknown)
The following manufacturers produced belt buckles, but were not licensed by the RZM
No.    Manufacturer
1     Gebruder Baumgartner
2     Berkemeyer & Cie
3     Berlin SW 15
4     J. Deutschbein
5     Robert C. Dold (RODO)
6     Dresden
7     Euskirchen
8     Frankfurt/Main
9     Goch/Rheinland
10     Gottlieb & Sohne
11     ARG GmbH
12     Hamburg
13     Hermann Koller
14     Konigsberg
15     Bad Kudowa I. Sch.
16     Mannheim
17     Menden
18     Josef Mold
19     Mulheim/Ruhr (B&C)
20     Nowa
21     Oberstein (L.G.S.)
22     Offenburg
23     Pforzheim (HK)
24     L. Regensburg
25     Schmolle & Co.
26     Springer & Co.
27     H. Tietz
28     Wiedmann


12 thoughts on “Newsletter May 29, 2016 No. 198

  1. Not a bad article but a little short. I picked up a box of original German belt buckles when I was in Russia and it is being shipped. I got maybe 25-30 and have no idea what they are. When they come, I will photograph them and send the pictures to you. If you would like any, just ask. I have been looking at the forums out of fun and find them a little annoying. Very opinionated people and one Dutchman thinks you are three or four people. I guess pot is legal in Holland so maybe he was stoned. He is one of those people who say they know everything but pretty obviously, know nothing. The forum members that are legit should either get rid of the opinionated bosses and start their own site with no “Team Leaders” and if you disagree with the bosses, they kick you off. Misha

    1. Send me pictures. I only collect Heer so the others are of no interest to me. Thanks for the kind offer. The article was indeed a bit basic but if I get too technical, it will pass over the heads of many collectors and be worthless. Your comments on the negative aspect of forums is quite correct. All one sees are pieces that are of recent manufacture, be these of daggers, medals and, yes, belt buckles. And in addition, there are pages of semi-literate complaints, criticisms, braggadocio and spite.Thank you again for your comments and await the buckle pictures.

  2. Just a note, the SS RODO buckle pictured at the top of this post is original. Indeed, if you look at the catch foot, it is different from ALL the buckles (fake) shown in Dr. Thayer’s article.


    1. It is certainly original in that it exists.
      It is a fake. A bad fake.
      Dold never made buckles like this.
      This buckle is a modern reproduction, selling to the trade for about $15.00.
      Is there one in your collection by any chance?
      The Thayer buckles all are original.
      You neglected to comment on the second picture of a genuine RODO buckle that is identical with the Thayer one.
      I wonder how many collectors have fake RODO buckles now in their collections?
      From correspondence and viewing collections on the Internet, I would say hundreds.
      Amazingly, no one sends pictures to support their arguments.
      No, the picture at the top of my article is a crude fake RODO buckle and the second picture of a RODO buckle, identical with the Thayer buckles, is genuine.
      I have had considerable correspondence from buckle collectors on this subject.
      Most agree that the Thayer pieces are original and the ones who disagree and claim they are all fake have produced not one iota of proof other than to make statements that their buckle is “obviously original.”
      I have had identical kinds of correspondence from individuals who bought “investment quality SS honor rings” and were outraged when I pointed out, accurately, that original rings were never cast but struck, were never issued after November 11, 1943 and always had the skull soldered to the face.
      The fakes are cast, have the wrong dates inside and the skull is a cast part of the ring.
      These rings cost about $35.00 to have made and now no one buys even the most polished “investment quality” ring.
      One does see them at local militaria shows for far, far less than someone paid for them previously.
      And the flood of furious denials finally tapered off as awareness grew and there was silence.
      I see this as happening to the fake RODO buckles, now so treasured but soon ending up on ebay as unwelcome.

  3. There must have been millions of enlisted personnel belt buckles made by the Germans during WW II. These cannot be worth a great deal intrinsically but because they are really not very expensive, many collectors have them. I have seen many pictures of purported “original: Dold buckles and there are so many “variants” shown on the Internet that no reasonable person would believe that one company, the Dold people, would have made so many different pieces. To me it is obvious that this buckle has been widely faked and the name ‘RODO’ stamped onto all kinds of different buckles as to make even the originals relatively worthless. You see silly statements on the forums every day. “The black on my panzer general’s hat is the real black. The black on Jimmy’s hat is just the wrong color black.”
    That’s the sort of nonsense I am talking about.

    1. Oh yes, we see this every day.
      Next, we will be seeing violent arguments erupting over pebbled standard enlisted tunic buttons.
      The number of pebblings, the color, the roundness of the loop on the reverse will all be dissected on the forums.
      Naturally, there will be a ‘Combat Button Site,” complete with “Monotor” and many badly-written comments on tunic buttons.
      Fierce arguments about the significance of the number of pebblings will erupt and we will see such nonsense as “We all know that 187 pebbles is a sure sign that this button is for an SS uniform.”
      Or “the color grey on Parrot Beak’s button shows it was only worn on tunics at Anzio, not Stalingrad as some wrongly think.”
      And someone else, calling himself some imbecilic name like “The Button Führer” will say that all buttons with less than 155 pebblings are obvious fakes made in India, Pakistan, China, Bulgaria or Algeria.
      (Pay your money and take your choice.)
      But this one gives CoA with all the buttons he sells.

    1. That is one Prosper Keating.
      He is Irish from a very old family, an ex-British paratrooper, well-educated,intelligent and very, very knowledgeable in his field.
      He made a documentary that won a top prize at the Cannes Festival and has written some excellent articles on the Knights Cross (of which he is a premier expert) and is hated by many members of militaria forums because, like myself, he exposes fakes and frauds.
      Screaming collectors and forum leaders throw him off their sites because he knows too much.
      The forums and the collecting need more characters like Mr. Keating, not less.

  4. I have been following your correspondence with this person with some amusement. He wanted a dialog with you that apparently wanted you to agree with him. I know nothing about German belt buckles but this one just kept shouting at you and never came up with anything to support his views. Are all the collectors like this one? I suggest that you disregard his comments and spend more time on more productive matters.

    1. I always try to keep an open mind and answer legitimate concerns from my readers.
      This is not always successful, I assure you.
      Some correspondents spend hours telling you how wrong you are and how brilliant they are.
      A collector who spent a great deal of money on a fake ‘Feldherrnhalle’ dagger or an ‘SS Honor Ring’
      spends even more time trying to convince anyone who will listen to them that you are wrong and they are right.
      These are the sort of people who still think George W. Bush was a good president.
      Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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