söndag 6 mars 2011

The Stasi cap mystery


I would like to share a smaller mystery with you.
I´m not only the product manager of the DDR section on GreatMilitaria.com, i´m also a devoted collector of East German militaria. I find the NVA and Stasi (MfS) particularly interesting. About a year ago i bought a NVA Officer visor cap for my private collection. I never payed it much attention until a few days ago, when i was about to change the cap cockade.

You might guess i was surprised when i found this stamp on the backside of the sweatband in the forehead area.

During the years i´ve seen numerous replicas of Stasi caps, most of them have been ridiculously bad. The caps sold near Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin for example, with fake armbands wrapped around the band of the cap and with stampes picturing the MfS seal. There are also fakes in a rather high quality.
This is a model that neither me or my colleagues have seen before. Therefore we haven´t been able to determine wether this cap is authentic or not.
The majority of the fake Stasi caps have their stamps clearly visible on the inside of the cap, to make them easier to sell, wich is rather logical. These stamps are also often in a bad quality and are, of course, often picturing an image or text that was never used on garments or headwear. The text "Ministeriun für Statssicherheit" or the MfS seal is something that almost every tourist can understand, the abbreviation "MfS" is more difficult.

This is what makes this cap such a mystery. It´s a fact that Stasi used the same visor caps as the army used. However, if Stasi actually stamped all their caps and garments is somewhat unclear.
The stamp in question is perfectly centered and it looks like it could have been made by some sort of machine. And again, if you´re going to make a fake visor cap by stamping it, why hide the stamp? The plot thickens dear readers!
In our quest to find the truth we have asked several international dealers/collectors to give their opinion. We have so far not recieved any clear answers, except that every dealer/collector considers the hat to be very unusual.

So, dear reader, now we need your help! Do you know anything helpful in this matter? If you do, feel free to send me an e-mail! You can reach me at erik@greatmilitaria.com.
More pictures available on request!

Have a great day!
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Sincerely Erik
Product Manager