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May 7, 2012

Rare German Cuffs

Here is a very interesting rare set of handcuffs. Of more interest is the unreal price it went for.

I have been researching these cuffs with Handcuff collector's around the world. The consenus of opinion are that they were made by the German Company Muehlenfeld (definitely not Finnish. I talked to a Finnish cuff collector.), and that they are from the late 1800's. Possibly the 82 stands for the year they were made, 1882. They work smoothly and perfectly. I do not see any scratches. They are considered excellent condition. Here is what one German collector emailed me: 
Hello Guy, congratulations. What you have is a very interesting and rare piece. But I am not really sure, what it might be. They resemble German Muehlenfeld handcuffs model 115 from the late 1800s / early 1900s. But also Finish Kakola handcuffs. Both can be seen here http://www.holstcollection.com/ (handcuffs k-p) Maybe you post them here: http://www.network54.com/Forum/261154/ If you sell them at eBay I am pretty sure that you’ll get US$ 1,500 to 2,000 or even more. I haven’t seen this model for sale within the last 10 years and your piece is in excellent condition. Best regards, Guenter  
They story behind them. Mr. Frank Zimmer (deceased now) was an Army interpeter in WWI. He nephew now 81 said was mustard gased in what he pronounced, "Shawdow Turi". We believe this was the town of Schalkau (Thuringia), Germany. Evidently, Frank was in a fairly high ranked position. In 1921 he was sent to Germany, along with an associate to extridite a Mr. Birdal (or Birdel) for desertion. Evidently, the small town where Mr. Birdal resides were quite protective of him and the local authorities arrested and jailed Mr. Zimmer and his associate. We are told that this ended up to be quite a scandal and was front page news in the Denver Post and other major newspapers. The US Army threatened to send troops to the town to force the release of Mr. Zimmer and his associate. We believe Frank Zimmer was cuffed with these and he somehow kept them as a momento. The key was actually remade in 1945 by Norman Zimmer, known to have great locksmithing skills.  
On Apr-26-12 at 10:20:06 PDT, seller added the following information: Some just asked if there were three hole in the top of the cuffs. It simply looks to me that there are 4 pins press fitted to hold the cuffs together. Verified Paypal buyers please.  
On Apr-26-12 at 14:09:42 PDT, seller added the following information: The little hole seen is picture 4 on the looks like a jagged break in the side sleeve of the key lock head and is not drilled or a casting defect. I have no idea how it got there.  
On Apr-26-12 at 14:11:27 PDT, seller added the following information: I mean picture 3. Sorry.  
On Apr-26-12 at 15:38:32 PDT, seller added the following information: Under a magnifying glass it seems to me that the marks on one side of the square plates are not pin holes but casting or stamping imperfections because I see nothing on the other square plate. Also, the top plates showing the key lock are the same size (measured with my micrometer. If one side looks larger it is just an optical camera illusion. Also 82 is stamped on the other cuff.  
On Apr-26-12 at 16:18:57 PDT, seller added the following information: These may be extremely rare Finnish cuffs after all but a number of collectors have now shown me both German opinions and Finnish. This collector has shed much light on the story the elderly previous owner shared with me. A very interesting handcuff. Just to clarify some ancillary issues, the name "Shawdow Turi" must unquestionably refer to the battle of Chateau-Thierry, which of course took place in France in 1918. Americans were, in fact, involved in this battle. I am also skeptical of some other aspects of the stated provenance of this piece. It is not that I question the intentions of the owner, it is just that facts, especially as transmitted by elderly persons, can become garbled over so many decades. (I couldn't begin to count the number of Japanese sergeant's swords which I have seen over the years which came with the story of having been "taken off the body of a dead Japanese colonel".) Although I am not aware of any such cases, it is possible that American deserters wound up in Germany. But I consider this highly unlikely. No American troops were on German soil during World War I. There were, conversely, hundreds of American deserters throughout France and Belgium. Granted, it is possible that a soldier who deserted in France could have made his way to Germany, but why would he? Further, under no circumstances could an interpreter ever be considered "highly ranked". Further, I consider it incomprehensible that Germans of that era would offer any opposition to representatives of the American government, no matter of what rank. After all, America was the only country which stood between Germany and the harsh vengeance sought by the French. The French, on the contrary, were by 1921 hostile to the Americans for a variety of reasons. So if any Americans were arrested, in pursuit of a deserter, I strongly suspect that this took place in France. I would! love to see a copy of the Denver Post article which was mentioned. All of which has absolutely nothing to do with the legitimacy or the value of these handcuffs. Look at the 4th photo, and in particular the notches in the bow. These are unquestionably Finnish, and a very rare variation.  
On Apr-27-12 at 09:54:21 PDT, seller added the following information: 4-27-2012 A collector in Germany just sent me this information: Hello, this handcuff was produced by Karl Schwertfeger in Hannover 1882. Kind regards Hanseatenhans On Apr-27-12 at 12:58:39 PDT, seller added the following information: Additional information: - Congress of Vienna 1815... - ... 35 independant princedoms + 4 free cities (~39 states) with different laws, weights & measures, currencies et cetera. .. - Franco-Prussian War 1870 - 1871. - Proclamation of the (II.)(Kaiser-)Reich in Verseilles. - Reichsvereinheitlichung (~Standardisation) 1882 ff. DRP(a.?)(German Reichspatent)in 1883... ...1918: Germany lost WW I and had to pay reparations inter alia patent licences... > Finland was (internationally) allowed to produce the (in)famous "Kakola" handcuffs without patent licence, after 1918... Hope I could help a bit further Hanseatenhans  
Questions and answers about this item    
Q: Hello. What are the inside dimensions (height & width) of the cuffs? For example, 2 inches x 2-1/2 inches, etc. Thanks  
A: 2 1/2 inches long Inside Demension. 1 13/16 Wide Inside deminsion. - eBay (6 May 2012)
This set of cuffs had a high bid of $4,550 (Plus $30 Shipping).
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