This is a wonderful document group to a single officer, Freiherr von Münstermann. The group consists of his three promotion patents. What makes them so interesting (and dare I say, valuable) are the personal signatures of Kaiser Wilhelm I and Kaiser Wilhelm II. The documents are described below:
*Promotion Patent – Premier Lieutenant to Hauptmann. The document measures 14 1/2″ x 9″ when folded, and 5″ x 9″ when unfolded. In this fashion, three of the four sides are utilized. Von Münstermann was serving in 1. Westfäl. Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 7. With his promotion to hauptmann, von Münstermann became a Batterie Chef in the same regiment. The document was signed by Kaiser Wilhelm I on 14 December 1875. [Although we do not have earlier information on von Münstermann, it is almost certain he would have been a young leutnant during the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War].
*Promotion Patent – Hauptmann to Major. The document measures 14″ x 8 1/2″ when folded, and 4 3/4″ x 8 1/2″ when unfolded. In this fashion, three of the four sides are utilized. Von Münstermann was serving in Holsteinsches Feldartillerie Regiment Nr 24 as a hauptmann. With his promotion to major, von Münstermann was transferred to Feldartillerie-Regiment von Peucker (1. Schlesisches) Nr 6. The document was signed in Berlin on 22 March 1887. Twelve years as a hauptmann was a long time. It shows how slow advancement can be during peacetime. The document was signed in the final year of Kaiser Wilhelm I’s reign. Germany’s first Kaiser signed boldly and distinctively in black ink.
*Promotion Patent – Major to Oberst-lieutenant. The document measures 14 1/4″ x 8 1/2″ when folded, and 5″ x 8 1/2″ when unfolded. In this fashion, three of the four sides are utilized. Von Münstermann was to serve in 1. Pommersches Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr 2. The document was signed at Berlin’s Neu Palais on 18 June 1892. Kaiser Wilhelm II’s large and bold signature appears on the document.
It is a fine group of three promotion patents, with two signatures of Kaiser Wilhelm I and one signature of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The documents are in very good condition when one considers they range from one-hundred-thirty-five to one-hundred-eighteen-years in age. They provide the basis for an interesting research project. While it is doubtful that this officer would have still been serving in WW I, it is quite possible that he achieved general officer’s status before he retired.