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Joined: 24 August 2005
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Posted: 25 August 2005 at 00:07 | IP Logged  

About 9 months ago I won an ebay auction for a German U-Boat miniature ceremonial sword made of brass, an ivory handle, and a stainless steel blade plus a brass scabbord. The inscription "Oberleutnant Gunther Prien" is on the blade with "U-47" close to the hilt. Just recently, I did some internet research and have come across the wealth of information on U-47 and Prien, including his book "I Sank the Royal Oak" which I ordered (English translation,1954) from a source in New Zealand.I have two questions: [1] can the sword be authenticated and, if so, how? And, [2] are there records which would enable me, if I chose to do so, to return it to Prien's descendant(s)?

Advice in these regards would be most appreciated.



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Dan Holstein

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Posted: 04 September 2005 at 18:11 | IP Logged  

Hi, I also about 6 years ago purchased the same minature Prien dagger from a Uboat collection. I have also seen one in knife collection at a gun show. Don't know how many are out there? I assume from the rank of Gunther it was made for the commissioning of the U47 for family and guests/crew.  When he became famous the vendor might run off several more. Let me know if anyone else has one of these neat daggers.


Dan Holstein

U47 crewman Kurt Holstein
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’The Old Man’

Joined: 28 September 2004
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Posted: 05 September 2005 at 14:09 | IP Logged  

Hi folks, I have for a while been intrigued by these daggers. Would it be possible to get a photo so we can have a look? I could also put this up on the main site with what information/background we have to see whether any other visitors might have seen or even have similar items. You two guys would be a great start, as we could compare the two items!

My first thought is rather sceptical however. Nazi Germany was renowned for its production of commemorative items, from picture albums and clocks through to plates and daggers. It might well be that someone somewhere saw the marketing loophole and tried to cash in on Prien's success. It was a formula that would have worked - back after Scapa Flow, if you made a knife, plate or beer stein with Prien's name on it, it would have sold like hot cakes. Alternatively it could be a commemorative dagger for all of the crew, which would limit its number to the double figures. But then as Dan points out the manufacturer could have turned out several more.

If these items are the real deal, from the rank of Oberleutnant I would place the manufacture of these items to between January 1937 and February 1939, when Prien held this rank. During this period U 47 was inaugurated, so it makes sense. I have heard of similar daggers with the same rank commemorating Scapa Flow specifically, but I am of the view that these are either from a 'get on the Prien bandwagon' manufacturer (Prien had been a Kapitanleutnant for eight months prior to Scapa - the manufacturer would have to have been at the very least been poorly misinformed, which rules out it being an official piece) or a postwar fake. So if you have a dagger that mentions Scapa Flow and has Prien's rank as Oberleutnant zur See... Ooops!

Keep us posted!


"Mit Fette Beute"
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Joined: 29 August 2006
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Posted: 30 August 2006 at 19:46 | IP Logged  

Peregrine wrote:
 [1] can the sword be authenticated and, if so, how?

I would suggest posting the sword at, they might give you an answer if it's TR era item and if it's was belong to Prien.

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