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Long-lost custom-made swastika ring owned by Adolf Hitler comes up for auction. Made by Karl Berthold. Lengthy info in description.
The most stunning, impressive and desirable of Adolf Hitler's close personal possessions, the famous, long-lost custom-made swastika ring owned by Adolf Hitler. This massive ring, carefully constructed of multiple parts, displays a 16mm. wide mobile swastika built-up on four different levels. Its arms are comprised of 15 multi-faceted rubies which rise from the face of the ring to meet a larger, square five-facet ruby at the pinnacle. One tiny ruby in one of the arms is missing and could easily be replaced. When viewed from the sides, the swastika rises up much like a city's walls, with tiny upright swords carefully brazed thereto - only careful examination shows one is missing. The sides of the ring bear two longer swords which are flanked by wreaths of lightly-veined oak leaves, with blank areas bearing small "berries", all on a lightly stippled background. In viewing the interior, there is a large mobile swastika "cut-out" which directly conforms with the swastika above. When held to the light, all of the rubies on the top of the ring are viewable. The work appears to have been done on a sheet of silver which was then secured to the body of the ring, having been rolled over in bands. A raised stylized "KB" hallmark is evident on the inside of the band. The ring once had a powder coating of yellow gold, almost certainly 24 karat, but only a hint of that surface remains, with largely only the sterling silver base remaining visible. The ring is offered complete with the original presentation sterling silver hand-hammered globe and ebony wood pedestal. The globe, approx. 5 cm. wide, bears one central longitudinal and latitudinal line in relief, meeting at the front to form parts of the arms of a static swastika which appears in relief. The globe bears a fine, small closing catch at top which when opened allows the globe to fall open like a clam shell, revealing a small mobile swastika which supports a curved silver display hook, The ring rests upon this hook. The globe assembly in turn is attached to a three piece ebony wood pedestal with 16 small pieces of silver trim. The ring was made by one of the most prominent of German goldsmiths, KARL BERTHOLD (1889-1975). After an apprenticeship with an engraver in Dresden and education at the Drawing Academy in Hanau , he established his own workshop in Darmstadt in 1913. In the 1920s, he joined the NSDAP and the National Socialist Combat League for German Culture. He taught at the Academy Hanauer and later at the Stadel School in Frankfurt as acting director.
On 15 April 1933 he dismissed "degenerate" professors Willi Baumeister, Max Beckmann, Richard Scheibe, Jacob Nussbaum, Josef Hartwig and other "cultural Bolshevik Jew servants" and turned the Cologne factory schools into a "master school of the Hanseatic city of Cologne". This ring, like the Goring Reichsjagermeister pin elsewhere in this sale, is well known to advanced collectors. The ring first appeared in Berthold's photographic catalog Goldschmiedearbeiten von Karl Borromaus Berthold, 1937. The ring's provenance is further described, and it is shown in photographs, in World War II German War Booty, Vol. II, by Thomas M. Johnson (Columbia, SC: Johnson Reference Books) 1984, pp. 11-12 and in a 2011 article by journalist Ron Laytner. Johnson cites articles published in the London "Telegraph Sunday" magazine of Apr. 4, 1982 and in Penthouse magazine. The articles described a "Sergeant Joseph" who at war's end searched the Fuhrerbau in Munich for souvenirs. In the flooded basement of the building, he recovered this ring, as well as a gold-plated semi-automatic pistol presented to Hitler (which now resides at the museum at West Point), Hitler's gold watch, a small painting of Hitler's mother, silverware, and other relics. The sergeant kept the relics under cover for thirty years until he was tracked down by Nevada businessman Ray Bily. Bily purchased what Johnson describes as "The Treasure Trove of the Decade" and donated the gold pistol to West Point. Laytner's article bears more detail, as he interviewed Bily directly and listened to a recording of the sergeant describing his discovery of the hoard of Hitler relics. The text of the Laytner story in itself is incredible. In a nutshell, Sgt. Joseph relates that he was a member of the 144th Division tasked with securing the artwork found in the basement of the Fuhrerbau. He discovered the relics, was forced to surrender one of two Hitler pistols he discovered to an officer, as well as a box full of diamonds, he discarded what may well have been Hitler's diary, and his girlfriend wore this ring around her neck for years! In about 1981 the sergeant sold the remnants of his collection to Bily, and Bily died in 1994. The article states that the disposition of the balance of Bily's collection was unknown. In fact, the ring ended up in the hands of devoted collector and dealer William Blynn, who died two years ago. It was offered for sale by Blynn who obtained a firm offer of nearly $400,000 but rejected it. It has been consigned to us directly by Blynn's estate. With copies of provenance.
Source --- Alexander Historical Auctions, LLC