The Colonel Farnes Collection

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Date of Auction: 8th May 2019

Sold for £1,300

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,400

The Swords and Oakleaves, together with Oakleaves for the Knight’s Cross, attributed to Generallieutenant Ernst Gunther-Baade, 90th Panzer-Grenadier Division, who was killed in an air attack in the closing stages of World War II

Swords and Oakleaves, in silver, reverse marked ‘900’ and ‘21’; together with a separate set of Oakleaves, in silver, reverse marked ‘900’ and ‘Silber L/50’, contained in an old fitted leatherette jewellery case, possibly high-quality old reproductions, good very fine (2) £1,000-£1,400


Provenance: Adrian Forman, February 1995 (sold with a ‘Letter of Guarantee’, dated 10 February 1995, detailing both awards, which states that Forman originally obtained the pair from a source in West Germany, who gave the original source as being the Baade family in Austria).

Generallieutenant Ernst Gunther Baade was awarded his Knight’s Cross as a Regimental Commander in 15 Panzer Division. On transfer to Italy he commanded the evacuation of German troops from Sicily across the Messina Straits, which has been described by historians as a masterpiece of strategic withdrawal. He subsequently commanded 90 Panzer Grenadier Division at Cassino where his overall command played a major part in the German defensive battle and for which he was awarded the Oakleaves to the Knight’s Cross on 22 February 1944, later being awarded the Swords and Oakleaves and a promotion for his major contribution to the Italian campaign. He was killed in the very last days of the war in an air attack whilst trying to reach his estates in Holstein.

Sold with a quantity of photocopied research material and photographs, including one of recipient in line about to receive his award from Adolf Hitler.

Note: The individual Oakleaves and Swords and Oakleaves were each presented, individually, after the announcement of the award, by Hitler himself to the recipient. Each was formally presented (on separate occasions) in a small black box. As such they were highly prized. It was usual, therefore, for recipients to have a second copy made for use ‘in the field’, retaining the originals for ‘best occasions’. German recipients proudly went into battle always wearing their Knights Cross with respective ‘Leaves’
(see photos of Rommel et al). It is possible, and even likely, especially with both sets of Leaves being in the somewhat battered, ‘unofficial box’, that General Baade had these made by the official makers of such items at the time, for use by him ‘in the field’. He would have had the Oakleaves made first and then, following the second award later, the Oakleaves and Swords,
but then, as would be usual, retaining both ‘duplicates’ in just the one box for convenience.

Please note that in spite of the aforementioned attribution it is possible that these pieces are old high quality reproductions and this lot is therefore sold not subject to return.