BACKGROUND: On June 17TH 1936, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler was appointed to the newly created position of Chef der Deutschen Polizei im Reichsministerium des Innern, (Chief of the German Police in the National Ministry of the Interior), effectively giving him full control of all police agencies within Germany including the Customs Police. As a result of this appointment and the restructuring of all the separate German state police into a single national police force new regulations were instituted on June 25TH 1936 to bring about uniformity in dress for all police through-out the country. One of the new uniform regulations replaced the previously worn blue uniforms with a new style police green uniform that was utilized, with minor modifications, until the end of the war and included greatcoats. The German Customs Service can be traced back to 1834 when a Customs Union was formed to allow the separate German States to trade amongst themselves without trade and tariff taxes, while still imposing import trade taxes on other European nations. With the unification of the German States into a single nation in 1871 the Customs Service became a national paramilitary organization, under control of the Reichsfinanzministerium, (National Finance Ministry), in Berlin. The national Customs Service was still responsible for imposing and collecting import trade taxes but was also tasked with border defence duties. In 1936 the Customs Service was reorganized and given further policing responsibilities including the apprehension of individuals attempting to escape from the NSDAP’s yoke. The German Customs service was divided into two separate branches with one branch consisting of the Landzollbeamte, (Land Customs Officials), which was subdivided into the Zollgrenzschutz, (Land Customs Border Guards), and the Wasserzollbeamte, (Water Customs Officials), and the second branch consisting of the remaining Zollbeamte, (Customs Officials). All Customs personnel below the rank of General were issued with an identifying cufftitle to be worn on the lower left sleeve of the service tunic and greatcoat. The Police Greatcoat was an essential uniform item for wear by all ranks and followed the basic design of the German army’s greatcoat with minor variations.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Nice quality, heavy, early pattern, (circa 1935-1939), private purchase, field-grey, wool/rayon blend construction, double breasted style, full length, greatcoat with a blue/green badge cloth lay down collar. The greatcoat features dual, vertical, parallel, rows of six front closure buttons with corresponding button holes on both the left and right front panels, enabling the coat to be button either left or right handedly. The greatcoat has two, diagonally angled, slash, front, hip pockets with slightly angular flaps situated at the waistline. The greatcoat has straight cut, non-adjustable sleeves. The lower left sleeve has a woven green rayon Customs cufftitle with a machine woven stylized national eagle, with upswept wing tips in bright silver/aluminum flat-wire threads. Both the top and bottom edges of the cufftitle are bordered in horizontally, chain stitched bright silver/aluminum flat-wire threads. The reverse of the greatcoat has a horizontal, half waist belt with a single retaining button at the waistline and a central, vertical tail skirt vent. Fully lined in heavy grey wool. Nice pair of original Customs sew one shoulder boards. Coat has a few area of light scattered mothing, but nothing too distracting. A few small sewing repairs. All the insignia and buttons look to be original period stitching. The greatcoat is roughly size 34" chest.

GRADE **** P                            RICE $320.00

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