24" Rare Gilt Railroad Eagle B Maker - G189
This eagle was manufactured by a foundry which remains unidentified. Though considered to be 60cm example, it does measure out a little large at 24 3/4 inches. As you have already noticed, a black substance has completely encrusted this entire eagle. While collectors are at times are use to observing a coal soot over these magnificent display pieces, that is not the case here. Close inspection of this eagle reveals that it most likely was near a fire or heat source, which has coated the surface both front and back with a black charred substance. Though made primarily of aluminum, the silicon and magnesium in their composition made these railroad eagles relatively a hard compound, and quite resilient to damage. As a result, no melting has occurred to the plaque. Even more remarkable on this example is the fact that there is evidence that this eagle had a gold gilt covering over it from the era! When viewed outside in natural light, gold speckles clearly shine through small areas of where the char has flaked off. Particularity in the wreath area you can actually see 3 separate layers which include; the base metal aluminum, bits of gold gilt over it, and then the charred soot over both.
As mentioned, this entire eagle has a baked on what appears to be smoke or soot, which has coated it entirely. It is possible that when heated up, that the gold coating over this eagle absorbed the charred soot when it cooled. Covering both the front and the back side of this eagle completely in a black hard crust. In essence, the eagle had to be exposed to the heat source possibly on both sides, of wherever this bird was mounted. On the reverse is usual 3 stud configuration mounting stands. In the center of each of those studs is a steel pin which has been cut off flush with the raised boss. The steel pins likely protruded from the short studs, to mount this eagle wherever it was being used. You can see the light aluminum area where the souvenir hunter just cut through enough to the pin, in order to retrieve his war trophy. In the center of the reverse, the foundry responsible for this cast marked their product with the compound letters; Al Mg Si and a large letter "B".
Collectors have in rare instances have encountered a few period railroad eagles over the years with a gold substance applied surface. A 35" eagle we sold a couple years back covered in a gold coating, was tested by the collector who purchased it. The results were that it was actually gold leaf over the entire eagle. No doubt period 3rd Reich railroad eagles were coated with this precious element on rare occasions, or for a special application. These were probably utilized or displayed on trains and or in buildings that high level Nazi officials used, or were present at.
Where was this eagle so many years ago with a fire all around it? On a high ranking Nazi dignitary's coach car quickly traveling through Germany during allied bombing, the last days of the war? Or perhaps adorning a wall or stage in a building or structure reserved for important party meetings? I guess we won't know, but one thing is for sure. This was a period rare gold gilt eagle at one time, and made special to designate a very specific individual, or purpose. One of a kind and killer display, 3rd Reich gilt rail eagle. $2495.00
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