SMGQ-0419 Transitional SS dagger by David Malsch


1 in stock


I will start off by addressing the elephant in the room on this dagger. Some people can’t get over the poor quality etch and think the dagger is post war. Here is what we know, and hopefully it will shed some light onto the dagger and help you decide if the dagger is right for you.

David Malsch was a Steinbach based company. F&A Helbig was also a Steinbach based company. Helbig produced this exact SS model as well. The features on both firms SS daggers are identical in my opinion. That includes, the aluminum eagle high up in the grip, the contour of the grip, the way it is fitted to the cross guards and the cross guards themselves. They also have the same scabbard fittings and, although rare to find, they have the same RZM SS marked hanger. Last but certainly not least, they have the same sloppy, shallow etch that looks like the acid was put on for two seconds and then neutralized and washed off. The Helbig transitional daggers, though rare are much easier to find then the David Malsch daggers. All the stories of how the daggers are acquired seem to hold water. Meaning, the daggers were all sourced (at some point) from a vet or vet’s family, often with an assortment of other period correct items. Often the purchasers claim the owners had no idea what they even had, so why would they try to sell a fake.  It doesn’t seem that these just found their way into the collecting community in the 70’s or 80’s.  Also, if we look at F&A Helbig daggers, all types, we see a common feature. A very light etch. The etch is so light that it often gets rubbed away during basic cleaning and all that is left is a shadow. Helbig had big contracts for the DVL and Luftwaffe and you can easily see what I’m talking about if you look at those daggers and even the gravity knife they made. So, I think Helbig had a contract to make these daggers and somehow David Malsh, who was in the same town and down the street practically got in on the same contract. Perhaps it was even David Malsh’s contract and that firm realized it couldn’t make good on it so they when to Helbig who (I think) was bigger and could better handle it. Under those assumptions, the dagger blade were ABSOLUTLY sent to the same place to be etched, either in house at Helbig or subcontracted to the same place that did all Helbig’s prior work. Then, all the parts were either assembled by Helbig or possibly the whole assembly job was sub contracted out to someone else. DM got their portion and Helbig received their larger portion of the run. The sloppy etch wouldn’t have been far off from Helbig’s previous etches on other daggers and when fresh from the etcher, they likely looked a little better. To summarize: 1. Helbig is known for a poor quality etch on most of their daggers. 2. Both company’s put out a transitional 1938 dagger and they are for the most part, identical including the attached hanger when found.  3. Both DM and Helbig are in the same town and likely worked together on this contract in some fashion. Most dealers don’t even get into this because they don’t want to shoot themselves in the foot and lose a potential sale. I would rather tell you all this now so that you can make a more educated decision about this purchase and hopefully i don’t get emails about the originality of the dagger after it is sold.

So after all that, you are either in the “I don’t believe it, it’s all Bullshit” camp or the “This is a good dagger and all the arrows point in the right direction” camp.

Let’s get into the dagger.

As far as these DM and Helbig daggers go, this one is a screamer. The SS ruin is perfect. The Aluminum eagle is high up the grip as expected on these. The grip itself is near mint, with no signs of cracks or chips near the guards. The wood appears to be a lighter hard maple or beech and the grain on these has not allowed the black stain to set in to well, showing some lighter areas. I actually like this because you can see the wood grain better. The guards are a high quality steel with a thick quality chrome plate. It is worth noting that the guards still show a fair amount of hand finishing even at this transitional stage. There is ZERO sign of the chrome popping or lifting anywhere. The blade shows nearly all of the original cross graining, a few small water spots, no nicks and average to light runner marks. The blade retains the factory edge. The rzm code of 1164/38SS is lightly etched into the blade the same as the maker mark and the SS motto on the other side. Not very well executed but on par for these daggers as discussed above. The scabbard is the correct painted style usually found on transitional and late daggers. The paint is in great shape showing some light scratches with the most significant wear in locations that come in contact with the metal clip when sitting or stored. The scabbard fitting are steel and quality chromed with no signs of chrome chipping or popping. The ball end is absolutely mint with no dents at all.   The screws are absolutely mint and un turned. The hanger is a rare find but this exact one has been seen on other Helbigs’. It is marked SS in circle, 86/38, RZM in circle. The chromed steel clip is marked DRGM with an ASSMANN logo and RZM M5/8.

So, we have a near mint dagger that is rare to find in transitional form and even rarer from this maker. With a hard to find SS hanger.

If you believe these Helbig and DM SS daggers are period correct, as myself and many others do, then this is possibly the best one you will ever come across.

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