Hermann Historica's extensive militaria auctions have now concluded, and alongside various highlights such as the extraordinary sale of an Ottoman dagger for $154,000, one of highlights was a collection of Rolf Jager memorabilia from the Germany after 1919 section.
Whilst Germans looking for military heroes can always look back to the First World War for inspiration (the Red Baron in particular), heroes from the Second World War are harder to enthuse about as their stories are always tainted, fairly or not, with the horrors of the Third Reich.
Nevertheless, Dr Rolf Jager is widely regarded as a hero to students of German history for his conspicuous gallantry in putting the recovery of the injured and the dead of his own safety time and time again across numerous battlefields frequently under heavy fire.
He was awarded the highest form of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his exemplary bravery. So, there was great excitement when an exceptional collection of his memorabilia came up for auction at Hermann Historica - as well as some consternation that it was to be broken up.
The concern proved to be unfounded as Hermann Historica had made arrangements such that the collection could be purchased as a parcel lot, and one determined collector did just that.
The extraordinary collection included: an award document and a folder for the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of 1939 and a selection of orders, decorations and insignia (such as an Iron Cross 1st Class by maker "L 58", an Iron Cross 1st Class without maker's mark in award case, a further EK1 (no maker), and a Parachutist's Badge in award case.
Then there was a complete set of award, identity and other documents, including secret documents, an identity disc, a tunic and even his paratrooper's service book.
All of these sold for more than they were estimated (some four or five times more), though the exact nature of the parcel lot is unclear. In total, the collector appears to have paid around €120,000 ($165,000).
Collectibles related to WWII heroes are always highly coveted. On the British side, Guy Gibson is an example of a celebrated hero, as he led the famous Dam Busters raid (later the subject of a popular film).