FRAMED PHOTO – NAVAL TRAINING SHIP – LIFE PRESERVER SHAPED. A note that refers to this ship as “Rover” appears on this framed presentation’s reverse. Further information on the tag states “Schiffsjungen-schuerschiff 1863-1890 Kgl. Preuß. Marine,” indicating that the vessel, a two-masted sailing ship, was used by the Prussian (later the Imperial German) Navy from 1863 to 1890 as a training ship for young naval candidates.
[The Navy was a very low priority during Prussian King Wilhelm I’s (later Germany’s first Kaiser) reign. As far as Wilhelm I, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, and General Staff Chief and architect of Germany’s modern Army Helmuth von Moltke (the Elder), the Army was of SUPREME importance. Since the German Navy operated primarily in the North Sea and the Baltic, with few forays into other oceans, they felt that coastal defense ships were more than adequate. This all changed, however, when Wilhelm II assumed the throne in 1888. In his desire for Germany to become a world player with both an Army AND a Navy to back it up, he soon set the stage for WW I].
Today’s offering is a photograph of the Rover that is framed within a life preserver replica. These frames were quite popular among sailors and their families. The frame measures 4 ½” in diameter and the photo within measures 3″ in diameter. The wooden frame is white, with “328” painted in black at its top (this may refer to its training class). “Kgl.” appears at the nine o’clock position we see, at the three o’clock position we see “Marine,” and a fouled anchor is at the six o’clock position. A glass cover protects the photograph. Four thin fabric bands appear around the frame. A metal eyelet has been screwed into the top to serve as a hanger. This is the oldest item that we have ever offered from the German Navy.