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    Collector Topics:  Chinstrap Maker Marks

Chinstrap Markings

Beginning in 1937 most chinstraps received a stamped mark in order to identify the manufacturer who supplied the product to the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht).  Some chinstraps were marked with the maker's name prior to 1937 although many were not. 

Markings took the form of short, abbreviated letters denoting the primary letters of the maker's firm combined with the year the chinstrap was produced.  Some manufacturers opted to place the entire name of their firm on the chinstrap. 

Prior to 1942 most chinstraps received a manufacturer's mark that included a year.  This would sometimes include the complete or abbreviated name of the firm, or simply an acronym designation the primary initials within the firm's name.  By 1942 this was changed completely to a serial system that gave each firm a nine digit code that protected their location and identity.  The use of these codes became standard throughout Germany as a measure of protection against Allied attacks.  Name and year markings were then replaced with a designated code.  This marking was known as the National Business Number (Reichsbetreibsnummer) or "RB Number."

The letters "RBN" or RBNr." were often included in the mark placed on the chinstrap.  All markings were placed on the inside of the long end of the chinstrap.  In 1944 many firms opted to omit the RB Number in order to expedite the production process.  As a result, some late war chinstraps can be found that have no maker's mark whatsoever. 

The various methods for marking the chinstraps are illustrated by the original examples photographed below.  Interesting is the fact that at least one maker produced a chinstrap with an ink marking (bottom left corner) rather than a permanent stamp in the leather.  Numerous examples exist of which the photographs below primarily show the styles (or methods) by which markings were placed1.


Notes:

1 Collectors should be aware that more than 20 different reproduction maker marks have been added to counterfeit chinstraps beginning with the earliest of examples.  While many of the markings are identical to originals, most are in fact "fantasy" marks that are completely fabricated.

 
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"ftb" Marked

Large Letter RB Number Marked

Firm Name "OTTO SINDLER BERLIN 1935"

RB Number Marked in Box

Inked Maker Name in Box "1940"

Small RB Number Marked

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