Lot 653

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A fine personal relic, the Tyrolean green felt hunting hat once owned and worn by German Field Marshal Hugo Sperrle. The 'Rolex' brand hat, about American size 7 1/2, bears a matching triple braided cord knotted at the left side. The hat is further decorated with the traditional oak leaf silver pin with mountain goat's "beard" on the left, and a silver Reichsbund Deutsche Jagerschaft pin with swastika affixed to the front. When this pin was affixed to the hat, the satin liner was pulled loose. It was reaffixed with glue which is undoubtedly contemporary and shows legitimate age. The leather sweatband is personalized, as were most of Sperrle's possessions, in this case with a period green-imprinted name: 'FM HUGO SPERRLE' appearing on the sweatband at the rear. The pins show some tarnish, else fine condition. This hat was recovered by Sgt. Rollo G. Rice, Co. E, 506th P.I.R., 101st Airborne, a late 1944 replacement and apparently attached to a headquarters company. Co. E is one of the most notable groups of soldiers of World War II, made famous in the book 'A Band of Brothers' and the television series of the same name. Rice was with the 506th at Berchtesgaden. He may have obtained his Sperrle relics at Sperrle's residence near Munich while en route to Berchtesgaden, or perhaps at the office of Gen. KARL BODENSCHATZ, who served as Adjutant to Field Marshal Hermann Goring. Rice's very early post-war map of the area about the Berghof (copy and photos included) shows Bodenschatz's office circled. As Sperrle had to flee Paris only hours before the arrival of the French and American liberators, and in light of the fact that his own home was in the path of American invaders, he may have elected to hide his possessions with his close fellow officer in the mountains of Bavaria. Our consignor purchased the Sperrle lots nearly a decade ago from Rice's widow, who confirmed their provenance. Our consignor's letter of provenance is included. See similar lots in this sale for additional provenance. HUGO SPERRLE (1885-1953) German Field Marshal in the Luftwaffe during World War II. Sperrle joined the Imperial German Army in 1903. He served in the artillery upon the outbreak of World War I and then joined the Luftstreitkraefte. He was given command of the Condor Legion in November 1936 and his force became known for their ruthless bombing of towns and cities. Sperrle was used during the Anschluss and Czech crisis by the Nazis to threaten other governments with bombardment. With the invasion of Poland, Sperrle played a crucial role in the Battle of France and Battle of Britain, and in 1941 he directed operations during The Blitz. Through 1941-43 he became more involved in air defense, until his forces were depleted. His meager squadrons were totally ineffective in Normandy, and he was dismissed.

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July 14, 2020 11:00 AM EDT
Chesapeake City, MD, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $499 $20
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 + $10,000