BACKGROUND: 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). 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 service. In November 1934 the first Third Reich era pattern insignia including collar tabs and shoulder boards were introduced for all Custom’s Officials in an attempt to bring about uniformity in dress. In August 1937 new pattern insignia was introduced that was utilized for the duration of the war. Of Note: Both of the branches of service wore almost identical insignia with the first branch, (Landzollbeamte), utilizing matte silver/aluminum trim and the second branch, (Zollbeamte), utilizing bright silver/aluminum trim.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The 1937 pattern slip on shoulder board features dual, outer edge, alternating dark bottle green rayon and bright silver/aluminum flat-wire "V"s, encompassing four, inner, bright silver/aluminum Russian braids with evenly spaced, interwoven dark bottle green "V"s, with the gilt washed, stamped alloy, Gothic letter cyphers, "RFV", indicating Reichsfinanzverwaltung, (National Finance Administration), and a gilt washed, stamped alloy rank pip mounted on a dark bottle green wool truppenfarbe base. The narrow, green wool slip on retaining tongue is intact.

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $35.00

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