HANS-JOACHIM MARSEILLE PRESENTATION RING FROM HERMANN GORING
HANS-JOACHIM MARSEILLE (1920-1942) 'The Star of Africa', a German ace serving principally in North Africa, Marseille had 158 kills in 482 sorties. Marseille was awarded a Knights Cross with Diamonds, and he was rated by fellow ace Adolf Galland as the war's best pilot. Marseille claimed all but seven of his 158 victories against the British Commonwealth's Desert Air Force over North Africa, flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter for his entire combat career. No other pilot claimed as many Western Allied aircraft as Marseille. Marseille was killed bringing in his crippled Me-109l when his body struck the rudder of his aircraft and plunged to earth. Offered here is an extraordinary, historic relic from the career of one of Germany's greatest aces, a gold ring presented to Marseille by fellow ace and Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe, Reichsmarschall HERMANN GORING (1893-1946). The 14 karat gold ring displays a miniature gold Luftwaffe Pilots Badge mounted with two rivets to a rectangular section of fine blue lapis lazuli which is also visible from the inside of the ring. The sides of the ring also display images in relief of a Luftwaffe Pilots Badge. The inside of the band is period-engraved with Goring's presentation: 'S[ienem] lb. [lieber] Marseille Goring 6.6.42' This date corresponds with the day Marseille was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross. The band is also hallmarked with an indistinct maker's mark: 'mer R. onitz' and a '585' purity stamp indicating 14 karat gold composition. Very fine condition. The ring is also accompanied by several reproduction photographs showing the bachelor Marseille with his mother and fellow fliers wearing a similar ring on his left ring finger, though the images are inconclusive. Marseille was the cover story of the Spring, 1991 edition of 'The Military Advisor' magazine. The article states that following the brave pilot's death, a Luftwaffe officer helped recover Marseille's body. It continues: 'The same officer also took the Knight's Cross and Diamonds, as well as the Reichsmarschall's presentation ring. Planning to give these pieces to Marseille's commanding officer, he found himself transferred before he had the opportunity to do so...' That officer was likely Ludwig Franzisket (1917-1988), also an ace who was tasked with recovering Marseille's body. He scored all of his 43 victories against the Western Allies in over 500 combat missions while flying the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The same article shows two views of this ring, and mentions our consignor, a 40+ year collector and dealer, by name. The ring is accompanied by two original 5 x 7 in. post mortem photographs of Marseille. One image shows the pilot, his face badly deformed after he struck his aircraft's rudder while bailing-out, bandages covering the horrific damage. The second photograph shows Marseille's body on a cot beneath a tent in the desert, covered by a German flag and with a stand of arms in the background. This important relic is also sold with the Military Advisor article mentioned above, and additional copy photographs.