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The firm was originally established by Carl Gustav Haenel. Herbert Haenel, grandson of the firm's founder, ran the organization from his father's death in 1917 until the firm was taken over by government decree on July 24, 1946. After the second World War, Haenel was disowned without compensation by the so-called "Thueringer Gesetz". At the same time the name of the company was stricken from the register and became a part of VEB Ernst-Thaelmann. The firm's old plant then operated under the name Ernst-Thaelmann-Werke VEB until Germany was re-united.
During 1840-WWII, C.G. Haenel manufactured a variety of sporting longarms, mostly concentrating on bolt action rifles, drillings, and SxS shotguns. Some of these guns are extremely well executed, and must be appraised individually. If quality, condition, and overall desirability are at a level similar to pre-war Sauers, Krieghoffs, etc., Haenel values could be similar to the trademarks just mentioned. However, a standard grade Haenel rifle/shotgun/drilling, in an obscure metric caliber with no engraving in 70% or less original condition, gets priced for its utilitarian shooting value as opposed to adding a collector premium.
For more information and current values on Haenel, C.G., airguns, please refer to the Blue Book of Airguns - also available as an online subscription.
The author would like to thank the late Dietrich Apel and the German Gun Collectors Association for providing the company history.
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