S020779 WATER CUSTOMS OFFICIAL’S SHOULDER BOARD. (Schulterstücke)

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 Customs 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. Of Note: The Wasserzollbeamte was further subdivided into the Schiffswesen, (Shipping Service), and the Maschinenwesen, (Engineering Service), with distinctive shoulder board cyphers for each service with a crossed anchor cypher for Shipping Service personnel and a cogged wheel superimposed on an anchor for Engineering Service personnel.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION : The 1937 pattern, sew on shoulder board features dual, dark bottle green rayon Russian outer braids with evenly spaced, interwoven silver/aluminum flat-wire "V"s mounted encompassing dual, matte silver/aluminum Russian inner braids with evenly spaced, interwoven dark bottle green "V"s, with a gilt washed, stamped alloy crossed anchor cypher and two rank pips all mounted on a navy blue wool base. Scarce Water Customs shoulder board.

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $238.00 (Or Best Offer)

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