This is an interesting, very rare, large, table platter for Kaiser Wilhelm II while he sailed with the German fleet aboard the Battleship S. M. S. Kaiser Wilhelm II, which served as his flagship while he was with his fleet. Kaiser Wilhelm II was very intrigued by his Navy and his role within it. Plans for the Imperial German Navy’s expansion were constantly brewing between the Kaiser and his alter-ego, Admiral von Tirpitz, at the Navy Ministry. Naturally, as the German Empire’s Kaiser, Wilhelm was expected to live well, but he went FAR beyond that. Wilhelm lived in virtually the same style on his royal yacht, the S. M. Y. Hohenzollern, as he did at any of his palaces on land, INCLUDING the specially-designed dishware. The S. M. Y Hohenzollern carried special plates, saucers, etc., exclusively for use on that vessel. Another vessel also carried exclusive tableware, the Battleship S. M. S. Kaiser Wilhelm II.
The S. M. S. Kaiser Wilhelm II was a pre dreadnaught battleship. It was a part of the Kaiser Friedrich III (Wilhelm II’s father) Battleship Class, which included a total of five ships. The S. M. S. Kaiser Wilhelm II was commissioned and entered fleet service in 1900. It served as the Kaiser’s fleet flagship (as well as the High Seas Fleet’s Flagship) from 1900 into 1906. It remained in this role until it was replaced by the S. M. S. Deutschland, which served as the Fleet Flagship from 1906 into 1913. (Naturally, a similar set of dishes was commissioned for the S. M. S. Deutschland!). The S. M. S. Friedrich der Grosse became Fleet Flagship in 1914. (I am not sure if the Kaiser ever sailed with that vessel or if it had any of HIS dishware). The High Seas Fleet’s final flagship was the S. M. S. Baden in 1917.
When the Kaiser hoisted his flag aboard the S. M. S. Kaiser Wilhelm II, he entertained officers from the fleet, as well as visiting foreign dignitaries. It was at these times that the Kaiser’s personal tableware was brought out to adorn the table. The platter measures a massive 13 1/2″ in diameter. [Please remember that a serving platter like this had far fewer examples within the exclusive tableware than a dinner plate or a salad/dessert plate]. The platter’s edge is trimmed with five smaller gold bands, one larger gold band, and one medium-size gold band. The magnificent platter is in near-mint condition. At its top, we see Kaiser Wilhelm’s flag crossed with his pennant. A blue bandeau imprinted in gold with S. M. S. Kaiser Wilhelm II appears beneath it. The platter’s center features a multicolored Golden Kette of the Order of the Black Eagle. [The latter were a non military family of decorations in which each male member of the House of Hohenzollern was invested. At the King of Prussia’s (later the Kaiser’s) discretion, lower levels of the order could be awarded to worthy recipients]. The centerpiece is VERY striking, to say the least.
The platter’s reverse displays the KPM logo (the porcelain manufacturing firm that served all Prussian Kings and Kaisers from the time of Frederick the Great through that of Wilhelm II). It also displays that the platter was placed into service in 1902, two years after the S. M. S. Kaiser Wilhelm II first sailed with the fleet.
This is one of our rarest examples of the Kaiser’s tableware.