Lot 654

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An extraordinary find, Hermann Goring's 14 carat gold signet ring, proudly worn by the head of Hitler's Luftwaffe from 1942 until shortly before his capture. This massive ring measures 1" across at its widest point, and depicts Goring's family crest of an upheld arm and fist in chain mail, with a lion and stag, topped by a pair of eagle's wings. The crest is surrounded by block lettering: "REICHSMARSHALL H. GORING MINISTERPRAESIDENT". The ring was originally obtained by noted collector Dr. John Lattimer, who purchased it for the Evan Lattimer Collection, and pictured it in his book Hitler's Fatal Sickness, p. 84. Lattimer, who was a physician who attended Goring and his fellow defendants at Nuremburg, obtained the ring from California militaria Roger Steele in September, 1969. On the envelope in which he enclosed the ring, Steele notes: "Purchased just yesterday from a chap in nearby Burbank...". A week later, Steele wrote Lattimer adding little more information: "...there is nothing more by way of information I can provide you with regarding the hat and/or ring...", and a few weeks later he adds that he only has "third hand" information. However, a third person, apparently a friend of Lattimer, sent him a 1969 two-page photocopy from "MILITARIA The Military Collector's Magazine", Vol. I, No. 4, specifically the classifieds page, in which one "B. L. Liberman" in Burbank offers exactly the same ring Steele sold to Lattimer. To thicken the plot, sometime after Lattimer purchased this ring, copies turned up on the market, we understand perhaps twelve in number, likely attributed to Steele. One prominent collector has sent us images of his ring, as well as an identical ring sold several years ago in New Zealand, which was purported to be the "original" Goring signet ring. As far as we can determine, the collector's ring and the New Zealand ring bear identical hallmarks in shape, design and location to each other. The ring we possess bears hallmarks in different positions, with the most notable difference being that of the ring's designer, Prof. Herbert Zeitner. While the Zeitner hallmark in the copies bears no rings around the "Z", our bears the two circles, and the bottom line in the "Z" flares at its termination, as his correct hallmark should. We have not found a single forged Goring ring that bears this correct hallmark. The ring is in excellent condition, bearing some slight wear only from Lattimer's having worn it on occasion, sold with the Steele correspondence and the Militaria copies. Available for inspection on request.

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October 10, 2010 11:00 AM EDT
Stamford, CT, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

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