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Hi,

A question on cliche (ie hollow stamped, from Iron or other materials) Pilot's (or Observer's) Badges; I recall reading/hearing somewhere that some examples had a separately applied crown. Does anyone have any more definitive knowledge or experience - one way or the other - of the existence of such badges? If so, does anyone have an example to post?

Regards

Mike

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Greetings Mike! The only stamped Imperial Flight badges with multi-parts that I have seen are as follows:

Observer badge with applied "flag" (Both Prussian/Bavarian)

Aerial Gunner Badge with multi-part construction-Prussia

(In theory, Bavarian is too, but I have never seen one I was confident was real)

No multi-part Pilots that I have ever seen. Both prussian/Bavarian were one-piece stampings.

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G'day Rick,

Thanks for your reply. That's what I would accept as textbook, but then this one came along.

I'll load a few pics of a recently arrived cliche Bavarian Pilot's Badge, with some commentary, and will be interested in further thoughts.

Regards

Mike

First up, obverse scan - detail is very good....

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Now the interesting part. The crown. Here's a shot of the obverse looking up. You can clearly see that the crown is a separately applied piece. Looks like it has been neatly soldered on (not lead solder) and you can see the remains of plated silver finish over it. Also intersting to note is tha the badge is steel/iron, whereas the crown is tombak. The plating on the badge and the crown appears to match. Also note there is a crack in the base of the right hand arm of the crown....

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The badge appears to have been in this form for quite some time - not a recent alteration imo. If it was not originally produced like this, I can only think of a few of possibilities;

- it is an old repair job

- it is an old attempt to increase the value of a cliche Prussian Pilot's Badge by removing the Prussian crown and adding a Bavarian crown - how much value would that actually have added though?

- it is an old fake, in which cliche flight badges are nowhere near as safe as I'd thought.

Will be interested to hear other's thoughts.

Regards

Mike

Edited by Mike K
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Hi Mike, I believe this one is most likely scenario #2, I have seen 3 of these in the last 3 months. All for sale in Germany. All with this very odd crown that does not match/meet the wreath. Not real IMO. I have not ever seen any variation on any flight badge I was confident was awarded and/or made prior to 1925 that was constructed like this. It's not the pierced crown, I've seen stamped ones with these cutouts and most likely a metter of personal taste. They were not issued like this.

I cannot imagine any situation where this type of manufacturing process would have done anything at the maker's level other than add increased costs in material and labor with no appreciable gain in saleability. It simply makes no sense.

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As a point of reference. here's a stamped Bavarian Pilot from Liverpool Medals and I am much more confident in the authenticity of this piece over yours. But not 100% or I would have bought it already ;>). The stamped badges do not command anything even close to their silver private-purchase counterparts. However, prices have been spiraling upwards...

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Hi Rick,

Thanks for that - I was not aware of the beginnings of an apparent flood. Live and learn. It will have to do as a decent filler until the elusive genuine Bavarian Pilot's Badge comes my way!

Regarding the style of crown on this example though, have a look at Chalif's book (published in 1982) at the Bavarian Observer Badge (G-B-2) on P132.

Regards

Mike

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Hi Mike, I ditched my Chalif Years back. At the point where I came to understand that the bulk of the badges I was interested in and were portrayed in the book were reproductions, it no longer was of any use to me. Now, having said that, is there valuable, usable stuff in there? Absolutely. Is there some illustrations and details not found elsewhere? Again, yes. But there were also a substantial number of badges that were bogus. At the point where I found myself having people cite it back to me as "iron-clad" proof of authenticity on badges that were bad...... well, not much use then/there to me. So, do I regret selling it. Yes. But that has not stopped me from moving beyond its' scope.

Edited by stogieman
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Hi Mike, if it mated properly to the wreath I'd feel better about it. These have only been seen the last few months. Not a warm feeling from that. The other thing about these that really gave me pause is the 'spider-web" type patina, most often found on (really bad) 1970's forward repro silver badges. I see that web of patina and I usually run away very fast. Even 'silvered" steel will not age/accrue patina in a web pattern.

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There is one other possibility. Troops that fought in the Spartakus Bund in the 20's removed the crowns from their spiked helmets and I have seen aviation badges with the crown removed. There is the possibilty that someone had a jeweler restore the crown on their badge, but one like this would be rare. If you are seeing these in number then there is a problem. Then there is the private purchase possibility, but I would imagine even if a cliche badge like this was offered, if would at least be in tombak or neusilber.

Dan Murphy

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Mike,

While looking at your badge and replying to this thread, an alarm when off in the back of my mind. "Where have I seen this before?" I found it, I have a Bavarian regimental shooting prize like this. Unfortunately it has been abused and all of the prongs are gone and so is the backplate. It is sewn to the cloth backer. This must have been made by a company that catered to the Prussian's AND the Bavarian's. The original die must have been for one with a Prussian Hohenzollern crown. Instead of making a completely new die for the entire piece, the maker simply made a die for the Bavarian Wittelsbach crown. The badge was made in the first die, the Prussian crown was then removed and the Bavarian crown added. Here is a detail of my shooting prize, the crown is not the exactly the same, but the principal is. This is also an issue piece like the steel pilot badges.

Dan Murphy

IPB Image

Edited by Daniel Murphy
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Hi Dan,

That is an extremely interesting badge. Many thanks for digging it up!

Rick, I know what you mean re the spider-web pattern that forms as a result of fake aging. If you look closely, the badge I've imaged does NOT exhibit a spider-web pattern. The obverse has some patchy rust and the rust on the reverse, although heavier than the obverse, is again patchy. The rust is over an imo correct silver plate - unlike those fake patinas which appear to be over basemetal. Some of the rust is lighter and possibly fresher, but most of the rust appears old and has pitted/corroded the basemetal.

For what it's worth, the badge is clearly die-struck - no indications of casting imo.

Regards

Mike

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I'm sorry, I am just having a very hard time following and accepting this thought process on this badge. Also, I do not think you can equate an obvious cast badge with swedged on crown with this die-struck/stamped piece. In the end, we must each make the decisions we are comfortable with and if Mike is happy with the badge, then all the best... My only concern is with even the rarest styles/rarest makers of these, I have seen/handled, or at least seen photographs, of multiple examples of a piece. I poured through (literally) thousands of photographs and cannot come up with even one example of a P/B like this with the gap between the wreath and crown. Bavarian or Prussian.

I think this badge will need more provenance and historical representation before I can accept it as a period-made badge. But that's my feeling and nothing more.

As an observation though, the quality of the wreath/body seems to be much better than the quality of the crown.

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Stogieman,

I understand your concerns about these pieces. However the shooting award is die struck as well, not cast. The more than liberal application of solder for securing the pins and crown to the back (which would not normally be seen on a piece like this) makes it look cast. Here is a pic of the whole reverse,

Dan Murphy

IPB Image

Edited by Daniel Murphy
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Here is the obverse, it is heavily silver plated over brass or tombak. There is no doubt that this is a WW1 or pre WW1 insignia. One thing I have learned the hard way in imperial collecting, you can never say never. You may not like the way it is made and may not ever want it in your collection, but it can still be real.

Dan Murphy

IPB Image

Edited by Daniel Murphy
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A) No, I'm not saying never..... I'm saying I am having a very hard time accepting this thought process. I think even a basic examination of the quality of this shooting award compared to the badge posted by Mike alone should be enough to conclude we are talking about two very different makers.

B) Again, no clutzy gap here between crown and wreath. Now, if someone can produce any period illustration of this type/style of badge in wear, I will munch down not only my words, my hat.... but their hat as well. I cannot name even one company that ever made both the Prussian and Bavarian badges. There is one exception. There is currently an unknown, but accepted as period badge maker that made badges that bear a consistent (albeit with slight variation) pin/hinge style that would appear to be unique to this maker. These pins are marked 800 for silver content and the badges are available/have been seen in both clich? (stamped) and 2-piece silver style. An example of this badge is illustrated in Niemann's Bewertungs-Katalog, V.II. The badge has been observed as Prussian Pilot, Prussian Observer, (suspected) Bavarian Pilot. Why suspected? I have not been able to put one in my greedy little paws to confirm the style/maker to my own satisfaction. Time will tell.

But I digress, the badge shown by Mike does not conform to any of the known makers nor to any known/accepted style. It does not appear in any known publicized photograph nor in any known archival photo. It does not appear in any work by those who came before us (Chalif, O'Conner, Nimmergut, Niemann).

Is it possible, sure, anything's possible. But is it probable...... to me, that's a whole other story.

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