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PRUSSIA – POSTCARD – GROßADMIRAL HANS VON KÖSTER – NAVY

SKU: 44-337

$25.00

PRUSSIA – POSTCARD – GROßADMIRAL HANS VON KÖSTER – NAVY.

Hans von Köster (1844-1928) was one of six Großadmirale appointed in the Kaiserliche Marine. In fact, he was the FIRST active-duty Admiral promoted to that rank in 1905. He retired the following year.

He appears in a Großadmiral’s uniform in this photograph. He holds the elaborate Großadmiral’s baton in his right hand. His uniform displays a large Frack Bar and Breast Stars. He wears the Order of the Black Eagle at his throat. He also sports a Zweispitz (Fore and Aft Cap). [We currently have von Köster’s magnificent piece of headdress (THIS one) as part of a group we are offering. The group includes his Großadmiral’s epaulettes and other assorted items in his special, NAMED, storage case]. The postcard is in excellent condition and has never been mailed.

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PRUSSIA – POSTCARD – GROßADMIRAL HANS VON KÖSTER – NAVY.

Hans von Köster (1844-1928) was one of six Großadmirale appointed in the Kaiserliche Marine. In fact, he was the FIRST active-duty Admiral promoted to that rank in 1905. He retired the following year.

He appears in a Großadmiral’s uniform in this photograph. He holds the elaborate Großadmiral’s baton in his right hand. His uniform displays a large Frack Bar and Breast Stars. He wears the Order of the Black Eagle at his throat. He also sports a Zweispitz (Fore and Aft Cap). [We currently have von Köster’s magnificent piece of headdress (THIS one) as part of a group we are offering. The group includes his Großadmiral’s epaulettes and other assorted items in his special, NAMED, storage case]. The postcard is in excellent condition and has never been mailed.

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  • GROUPING - GROßADMIRAL HANS von KOESTER’S PERSONAL EFFECTS GROUP - INCLUDING EPAULETTES/FORE AND AFT CAP/ETC - Imperial German Military Antiques Sale

    GROUPING – GROßADMIRAL HANS von KOESTER’S PERSONAL EFFECTS GROUP – INCLUDING EPAULETTES/FORE AND AFT CAP/ETC

    SKU: 13-875

    $29,995.00

    I first offered this group over a decade ago. The fellow who has owned it since then recently changed his area of interest, so I was thrilled to take it back in trade. (Items like this just do NOT become available often). Hans von Koester was one of six Imperial Period men (five Germans and one Swede) appointed as a Großadmiral. The rank was created in 1901, with Kaiser Wilhelm II (naturally) appointing himself the first rank holder. King Oskar II of Sweden was granted the same rank that year as a ceremonial gesture. Listed below are the six men who held the rank from 1901 until the empire’s end in 1918.

    1901 – Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859–1941)
    1901 – King Oskar II of Sweden (1829–1907)
    28 June 1905 – Hans von Koester (1844–1928)
    4 September 1909 – HRH Prinz Heinrich of Prussia (1862–1929)
    27 January 1911 – Alfred von Tirpitz (1849–1930)*
    [*Promoted on an Honorary Basis without Patent]

    31 May 1918 – Henning von Holtzendorff (1853–1919)
    The first two recipients were ceremonial appointments rather than direct commands. The third appointee, Hans von Koester, was the first “operational” admiral to receive the rank. He was promoted to Großadmiral in 1905 as a reward for his long service. He actually retired the following year (1906). The next to receive the rank was Prinz Heinrich, (one of whose tunics and officer’s summer schirmütze we are proud to offer). Heinrich held direct command in the Kaiserliche Marine and was a royal, so his appointment was not an à la Suite promotion. Heinrich was the second officer with a naval background to achieve the rank. Alfred von Tirpitz was the third.
    *[PLEASE NOTE: von Tirpitz’s promotion must be viewed with an “asterisk.” His promotion was WITHOUT patent. That is, he was a Großadmiral in title, but his rank was more like that of an à la Suite (an honorary appointment for royalty ONLY). This somewhat confusing situation was evident on two different von Tirpitz shoulder boards we have offered in the past. Instead of a Großadmiral’s crossed batons, those boards displayed FOUR pips, which indicated the equivalent of a Generaloberst in the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. The latter was a rank often used by royals in the Imperial German Army, and officially WAS an à la Suite position. Prior to the institution of Großadmiral, the Imperial German Navy’s highest rank was a full Admiral, who wore TWO pips. The Navy had no equivalent to the Imperial German Army’s Generaloberst, who displayed THREE pips. The Navy simply skipped the rank! The number of shoulder board pips displayed on the four admirals’ ranks was as follows: a Konteradmiral wore NO pips; a Vizeadmiral displayed ONE pip; an Admiral boasted TWO pips; and a Großadmiral had NO pips, but instead displayed crossed batons].
    The final man to achieve the rank was Henning von Holtzendorff. He assumed Alfred von Tirpitz’s role, and also did not exercise direct command after his promotion. In fact, he retired before the war’s end due to health problems (he died in 1919). Von Holtzendorff was replaced by Admiral Reinhard Scheer (the High Seas Fleet commander at 1916’s Battle of Jutland/Skagerrak). Scheer was responsible for running the Navy, but was NOT awarded a Großadmiral’s rank. The following small group of Großadmiral Hans von Koester’s personal effects is absolutely marvelous.
    PAIR OF GROßADMIRAL’S EPAULETTES. I have seen some superb shoulder boards and epaulettes over the years, including those from the Kaiser. Nothing, however, has ever touched the sublime beauty of these truly magnificent specimens. Their centers are made of gold silk! Wool or felt is normally used for background material, not silk. Each center is highlighted by a pair of crossed batons. The batons’ artistry sets them apart from any Army Generalfeldmarschall’s batons. Army batons usually are made of silver, rather than the exquisite enamel used by the Navy. These display four different colors: gold, white, red, and black. Neither epaulette displays any damage whatsoever to these magnificent batons. A massive silver eagle grasping a fouled anchor in its claws overlays each baton set. Just below a small gilt naval button on the epaulette’s tongue is a silver Kaiser Crown. The tongue also displays red and black piping on a white background. The use of red, black, and white (the national colors) indicates that the Kaiserliche Marine was under the Reich’s authority, not the Kingdom of Prussia’s.
    More gold design work extends out from the silk field on which the batons and eagles are mounted. Massive gold ringlets flow down majestically around their edges. (They must have looked amazing when worn on the dress uniform)! The epaulettes’ undersides are covered in navy-blue wool, another sure sign that they are correct for the Kaiserliche Marine. A sliding brass clip arrangement allows them to be slipped onto the tunic.
    Looking at these epaulettes and their superb condition, one would be hard pressed to believe they are more than one-hundred-years-old.

    GROßADMIRAL’S UNIFORM CUFFS. Imperial German Navy Admiräle uniforms displayed gold bullion stripes that indicated the man’s rank. Daily-use tunics did NOT display shoulder boards, so rank was determined by the number of stripes on the cuffs. In a Großadmiral’s case, FOUR stripes designated his rank. Each of these stripes measures 9/16″ in width. In addition to the rank stripes, a single wide band of gold bullion is present that measures 1 15/16″ in width. Its bullion displays a wonderful patina, with gentle toning. Each cuff normally had a bullion Kaiser Crown attached, as well. Only one of them is present, and is NOT attached to the cuff. [We will show this in our photographs]. Each cuff is wrapped very neatly in some very old tissue paper. Both are most attractive.

    FORE & AFT CAP (ZWEISPITZ) BELONGING TO ADMIRAL HANS von KOESTER. Naval officers wore two types of headdresses. First, for regular duty, was the schirmütze (visor cap). Second, for more formal occasions, and often worn with a Gala Naval Uniform, was the zweispitz (fore and aft cap). [Naval officers actually had three types of uniforms: daily wear, dress, and high-dress (Gala). Many officers did not even have a Gala uniform unless they were of higher rank or were extremely wealthy]. In the USA, we more frequently associate fore and aft caps with naval headdresses from the 18th and early 19th Centuries. In the Kaiserliche Marine, an Admiral’s zweispitz was different from the other officers’ headdresses. Von Koester’s zweispitz is significantly and magnificently more elaborate.
    The zweispitz’s body is covered with close-cropped very fine fur, perhaps seal. In addition to the golden coil that extends from the gilt navy button on the cap’s right side, the other huge difference is a 2 ½”bullion band that runs the length of the cap’s two sides. Each of the cap’s ends sports multiple silver bullion ringlets. Beneath the top row of silver ringlets is another row that is interspersed with silver, red, and black ringlets. The cap’s right side boasts a large and very elegant silk Reich’s kokarde.
    Turning to the interior, we see a very high-quality, light-brown leather sweatband. It is 100% complete and in excellent condition. If we look closely, in a place or two we can see some very slight sweat stains from where von Koester actually wore it! The white silk liner is flawless and in superb condition. His name, “von Koester,” is embossed in gold on the white silk liner.

    STORAGE CASE FOR ALL ITEMS LISTED ABOVE. This is a large storage case that measures 8 1/4″ x 9″ x 18.” The case was used to store the epaulettes and zweispitz when not in use. It has a handle on the top that made it convenient for use when traveling. On the case’s front is a small plaque that measures 1 3/16″ x 3 ½” and bears his name: “von Koester.” When I originally bought the group many years ago, the case’s top half was separated from its bottom half. The hinges and screws that secured them had pulled loose. When I bought the group back, I decided to address the problem. Normally, I prefer to avoid restoration, but in this case I felt it was in order. So we inserted new screws in the original hinges and the case operates as it did more than one-hundred-years ago. The original key is attached to the handle!
    Inside the case we see that the zweispitz is nestled at the bottom. Over it is a red silk platform. The platform performs two purposes. It separates the zweispitz from the contents at the case’s top. That is where the platform becomes the epaulettes’ storage stand. Each epaulette slides onto the platform and is secured. The tunic cuffs are folded in their tissue and laid at the top, which makes for a tidy package.

    SILVER PRESENTATION PLATE FROM von KOESTER’S STAFF WHEN COMMANDER OF DER MARINE STATION den OSTSEE. This is an ultra-high-quality silver presentation plate. It measures 11″ in diameter. The plate’s edges display very elaborate scrollwork accented with a floral motif. The following dedication is engraved at the plate’s top: “Unserem Hochverehrten Stationschef Admiral H. Koester” (Our esteemed station-chief Admiral H. Koester). Another engraving is presented at the plate’s bottom: “Die Offiziere der Marinestation der Ostsee” (The officers of the Baltic Sea Marine Station). An admiral’s flag is in the plate’s center. Below that is the presentation’s date, 22 März 1897. The plate’s reverse is highly tarnished and bears the manufacturer’s hallmark, as well as one for .800 silver, and the initials “AP.”
    The Marinestation Ostsee was the Baltic Sea Naval Station located in Kiel. Von Koester held this post from 1889 to 1903. It should also be noted that he is recognized as an Admiral, rather than the lower rank of Vizeadmiral. It is interesting to note that von Koester received the promotion in 1897, the same year as the plate! The plate is in amazing condition for its age.

    COLOR POSTCARD AND DETAILED HISTORICAL INFORMATION OF HANS von KOESTER. We are including a period color postcard of Großadmiral Hans von Koester. We thought it important that you know what the man looked like. We also have some historical background on him that chronicles his long career.

    Words cannot adequately describe the beauty, rarity, and historical importance of this group. If you are a collector of Kaiserliche Marine items, we have many other important items including Prinz Heinrich’s aforementioned group, an overcoat with shoulder boards for a Großadmiral, and numerous epaulettes for every officer rank up-to-and-including a Kapitän zur See. (Please browse our “NAVY” Merchandise Page to see them, click here to see).


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  • SIGNED EDUARD RITTER von SCHLEICH DOCUMENT DISCUSSING FUTURE KNIGHT’S CROSS OF THE MILITARY MAX JOSEPH ORDER (BAVARIA) WINNER HANS RITTER von ADAM’S FLYING SKILLS - Imperial German Military Antiques Sale

    SIGNED EDUARD RITTER von SCHLEICH DOCUMENT DISCUSSING FUTURE KNIGHT’S CROSS OF THE MILITARY MAX JOSEPH ORDER (BAVARIA) WINNER HANS RITTER von ADAM’S FLYING SKILLS

    SKU: 19-252

    $2,395.00

    This is a signed document by PLM-winner Eduard Ritter von Schleich about pilot Hans Ritter von Adam, who had twenty-one confirmed victories. Eduard Ritter von Schleich (1888-1947) was a well-known WW I German Ace. He had rejoined the infantry in August 1914 at WW I’s outbreak. He was wounded and requested a transfer to the Imperial German Air Service. He began his service flying two-seat observation planes. He was a tenacious and dutiful soldier. He was wounded on one mission, but rather than return to base, he had his observer tend to his wound, and then returned. Following the wounding, he was placed in command of Fliegerschule Nr 1 during September 1916, which he commanded until his return to flying service a year later. Between September and December 1917, von Schleich racked up an impressive score. By December 1917, he was awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite.
    While he commanded Jasta 21, von Schleich’s good friend was killed in a dogfight. To honor him, von Schleich ordered his Albatros D. V painted all black, with an emblem of the rampant Bavarian Lion against a blue and white checkerboard field. This caused a real stir. He soon became known as “The Black Knight of Germany.” Later, von Schleich replaced his Albatros with a Fokker D. VII, painted in similar livery. He finished the war with a total of thirty-five confirmed victories and JG 4’s command.
    Eduard Ritter von Schleich survived the war to go through many aviation and non-aviation-related jobs. In the mid 1930’s, he joined the newly-established Luftwaffe. He was an early commander of highly-famed JG 26 and was elevated to General, where his career ended effectively in November 1944 due to his poor health. At the war’s end, he was questioned by American authorities for commanding units in both Norway and Denmark as a Generalleutnant. No charges were ever brought, as von Schleich had operated only as a correct and honorable military officer. He died in 1947 at the age of fifty-nine.
    Today we are offering a very important document from the time that he commanded Fliegerschule Nr 1 while recovering from his wounds. This is an official evaluation of one of the school’s students, Hans Adam. Adam was von Schleich’s observer in May 1916, and the man who tended to von Schleich’s wound while flying on a mission. When von Schleich was posted to Fliegerschule Nr 1 as commander to recover from his wounds, Adam followed him. It was here that von Schleich wrote the report on Adam. After graduating from the school, Adam was posted to Jasta 34b. Following that, he transferred to Jasta 6 and became its commander when Eduard Ritter von Dostler, a PLM-winner, was killed. Having been awarded the Knights Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order from Prussia, he was in line to be awarded the PLM. Even though he had the necessary twenty victories in November 1917, the call from Berlin did not come nor did he receive that award. He was, however, awarded Bavaria’s Knight’s Cross of the Military Max Joseph Order, which included a knighthood. This was done after his death, and he was then known as Hans Ritter von Adam.
    The document, which is one page, measures 13″ x 8 1/4.” It is dated 14 December 1916. It also notes that the document was from Fliegerschule Nr 1, located in Schleissheim. The document consists of three paragraphs and is handwritten in blue ink. It is signed by Oberleutnant Schleich (von Schleich was not knighted at this point). Mention is made of the school and his position. Two holes are punched on its left side, showing that the document was in a binder. The document is informative. It would make an important addition to an aviation collection, as it is signed by a PLM-winner and gives an insight into a future twenty-one victory ace, who was knighted by his native Bavaria.

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