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WW1 US PILOTS WINGS

Started by jager1 , Oct 23 2011 10:39 AM

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#1 jager1

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 10:39 AM

Here is a pic of a set of wings I have, I've not managed to find pics of similar ones, curious if anyone else has. Seems to be a bit of fading to the thread to the rear of the wings but this may be an effect from signs of rust on the metal backing. I'd expect some fading to the backing material but I think these have always been green

Jager1

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#2 Jack's Son

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 10:49 AM

Jäger,
Let me prepare you for the bad news, soon other will will agree with me that these wings are not legitimate WWI Dallas type wings.
For your sake I hope I'm wrong.

#3 baker502

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 11:50 AM

Jäger,
Let me prepare you for the bad news, soon other will will agree with me that these wings are not legitimate WWI Dallas type wings.
For your sake I hope I'm wrong.



Jack,
I really would like to know what in your eyes makes these wings bad?

Jager
I have dealt with Air Service stuff for 25 years, in that time I have owned 3 metal wings, I never was comfortable with the many styles makers and repros to stay up on them, nor afford them at the time. I would wait til P. Frost or one of the heavy wing guys weigh in before dismissing them off the previous post. Paul

Edited by John Cooper, 23 October 2011 - 07:23 PM.


#4 John Cooper

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 12:13 PM

My knee jerk i.e gut reaction is that these are not ww1 wings based upon some other discussed reproductions. I will admit I am seeing the photos via my phone so forgive me if I am in error :)

If possible maybe someone who knows of the reproductions can repost some of the photos to highlight some of the design simularities.

Btw they may be in the reproduction thread...

Now to hear from some of the old hare's in wing collecting ;)

Regards
John

#5 Jack's Son

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 12:56 PM

Jack,
I really would like to know what in your eyes makes these wings bad?

502,
The wings are of a style I have not seen with a shield like this one. Nor do I recognize the shield as one associated with a "Dallas" type wing. There are no wings that i know of that incorporate the color or type of the material that is used in this wing, and the material in this wing appears to be relatively new. The stitching seems suspect as well, and finally because I cannot find one that is similar in my wing books leads me to this conclusion.

Jager
I have dealt with Air Service stuff for 25 years, in that time I have owned 3 metal wings, I never was comfortable with the many styles makers and repros to stay up on them, nor afford them at the time. I would wait til P. Frost or one of the heavy wing guys weigh in before dismissing them off the previous post. Paul

While I do not have 25 years of experience like you, I'll stand by what I posted!

Edited by John Cooper, 23 October 2011 - 07:24 PM.


#6 baker502

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 01:43 PM

Jack,
I have observed the quick to pooh pooh an item syndrome only to have the person that stated the item was no good to later post that they were wrong. Why not let a perons that has the experience in the field weigh in on it. Guys like Major Morris, Cliff P. P. Conrad to name a few who have handled hundreds of metal badges are the ones who should chime in. As for the back ground color being green really has no issue there are well documented examples of green based wings in Cambell's book.

Edited by John Cooper, 23 October 2011 - 07:25 PM.


#7 hawk3370

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 06:05 PM

Here is a pic of a set of wings I have, I've not managed to find pics of similar ones, curious if anyone else has. Seems to be a bit of fading to the thread to the rear of the wings but this may be an effect from signs of rust on the metal backing. I'd expect some fading to the backing material but I think these have always been green

Jager1


Jager,
There are some good points to these wings and some flags. First the flags. This patricular style of engraved feathering is the most common found on faked wings. Primarily because its so easy to produce this style. The shield has some flaws which could present a problem. There is no doubt that these are hand made however there were many jewelers that popped up made a few wings and then went back to their main business after the war. The Dibb wing is a perfect example of a jeweler made wing in which only a handfull were made by special order. I am not fond of the short pin on the back nor the thick thread used to secure the wool. As for the OD wool backing I have seen several bullion wings with the OD backing however they were not a course weave such as this.

Now a couple of the positive aspects. The US appears to be gold and profesionally attached to the shield (no solder showing or misalignment etc). The wool is worn on the tips and along the bottom and top edge as was common with wings that saw a lot of use. From what I can see in the pic the back plate shows age under the threads. On a lot of the original wings the acid in the thread leaves a black or dark line on the copper back plate over the years.

Now then my personal opinion. If I were to encounter these at a show I would be extremely cautious unless there was positive provenance to go with the wings. I personally shy away from any WW1 metal wing that has this style of engraved feathering unless the come from a well know jeweler such as Eisenstadt, who was one of the few that used this style during the period. Remember this when acountering WW1 wings. During the war a pair of sterling wings with real gold US cost $3.00. Why would a pilot buy a shoddy looking pair of wings when excellent products such as Tiffany or Shreve etc were available? Also the reason that there are so few metal wings is that the pilots for the most part did not like them. wearing metal wings was usually the sign of a "newby". The old pilots all wore the bullion regulation wings and the new guys wanted to blend in as much as possible.

I realize that this doesn't answer your inquiry directly as to these being an original WW1 wing. I would lean towards them having not been made during the war until a picture pops up or some provenance concerning this exact wing.

Terry

#8 John Cooper

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 07:36 PM

Thanks Terry for posting your well constructed thoughts!

Jager1 - can you tell us some of the backstory on these wings i.e. when you bought them... were there any other items. Additionally please do review the following thread and you will see hand made examples of reproductions.

http://www.usmilitar...showtopic=21830

Cheers
John

#9 jager1

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 02:17 AM

Thanks for your comments guys

I have previously read all the threads on the forum regarding real and fake wings and to be honest I'm generally not interested in picking up wings that are not in a 'larger' group, same goes for German pilots badges these days and its only RFC that I feel quite confident with. However I do like these ones, they 'feel' right if you know what I mean. Of course good fakes can feel right also, hense asking your thoughts.

Totally understand what Terry's saying about pilots preferences regarding wings but these actually look really nice at real size, blown up as in my pic the engraving/wool stands out more.

These were purchased at a local auction and there was nothing else with them, or similar to them, mainly British medals.

Certainly a few positve and negative points made about these, ideally I'd be able to find another example, real or fake to be 100% :think:

Jager1

#10 hawk3370

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 05:54 AM

Thanks for your comments guys

I have previously read all the threads on the forum regarding real and fake wings and to be honest I'm generally not interested in picking up wings that are not in a 'larger' group, same goes for German pilots badges these days and its only RFC that I feel quite confident with. However I do like these ones, they 'feel' right if you know what I mean. Of course good fakes can feel right also, hense asking your thoughts.

Totally understand what Terry's saying about pilots preferences regarding wings but these actually look really nice at real size, blown up as in my pic the engraving/wool stands out more.

These were purchased at a local auction and there was nothing else with them, or similar to them, mainly British medals.

Certainly a few positve and negative points made about these, ideally I'd be able to find another example, real or fake to be 100% :think:

Jager,
Attached is a picture of a "fake" WW1 wing. Notice the feathering, shoulder of the wing, point on top of the shield and incised stars. These are all common flags on the fake wings hitting the market. Hope this gives you some help in your endeaver.
Terry

Jager1

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  • Fake_eisenstadt_1.jpg


#11 pfrost

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 01:33 PM

I can't add much more than what Terry provided.

While some aspects of the wing look better than most, I do strongly think that this is ultimately a bad (fake/reproduction) wing with some "better than average" quality workmanship. The reproduction thread at the head of this forum has a fair number of this type of reproduction of various workmanship.

The shield looks OK to me, but the wings, the backing, the pin, the patina, and the overall badge all give me heartburn.

In general, I think that fake/reproduction/"collector copy" metal WWI wings can fall into 3 broad categories. The first are the House of Swords-style Dallas wings (which are relatively high quality castings). The second are the "collector copies" made by castings from original wings, and the third category are hand carved/hand chased wings of this style (sometimes based on real wings, sometimes based on fantasy wings).

To get an idea of what real WWI wings are like, a very careful study of Duncan Campbell and Terry Morris' books, and the two Silver Wings, Pinks and Greens books ought to cover just about every WWI wing made (I believe there are a few that these sources may have missed but not many). In addition, a visit to Bob Schwartz webpage:
http://www.ww2wings....wwi/us/us.shtml would be the next step. A few other sources, such as Charles Fitsimmon's book (of some limited value, IMHO. but worth it just to look it over), and (if available), checking out Russ Huff's books and his late 80's early 90's "Wing and Things" newsletters and articles. Following that, some time spent on this forum reading the various threads, asking questions, and looking at what is posted and then maybe a visit or two to a militaria show or private collection see some real WWI wings first-hand, and you can pretty much consider yourself an "expert" on WWI wings. I also spend a fair amount of time looking at vintage photographs, portraits and stories of WWI american pilots. That is sort of the holy grail of knowing if a wing is a "fake" or not. Find a vintage picture of a guy wearing a wing like yours and its hard to argue that it is a fake.

But, ultimately, it is just my opinion. It is hard to "prove" a negative, but I think :thumbdown:

Patrick

Edited by pfrost, 24 October 2011 - 01:57 PM.


#12 pfrost

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 06:08 PM

Here is a wing with a very similar background that I just found being sold on ebay. While the photos aren't great, I suspect that this is an better than average attempt to copy this Homorichus-style wing: http://www.ww2wings....sleyhaile.shtml


(I hope Bob and Cliff don't mind me linking to the site?).

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#13 rustywings

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 08:33 PM

Hello Terry,

Regarding your fake wing illustrated in Post #3, is that badge about 2.25 inches in width? If you look down upon the upper edge of the shield, does it appear there's a thin piece of gold metal attached to the face of an underlying silver shield? Is there a chance I can see an image of the back of the wing?

Regards,
Russ

Edited by rustywings, 24 October 2011 - 08:34 PM.


#14 jager1

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:04 AM

Thanks for your thoughts Terry/Patrick, always good to get folk with more experience of a particular subjects opinion.

I do have quite a few references on US WW1 aviation, including Campbell's book as its part of my business and the WW2.wings site is indeed superb, I've enjoyed looking at new wings as the site is updated. However as previously mentioned, wings, badges I'm generally stay away from - experience is key, hense my original post.

I've never come across Terry Morris's books, what are these?, also 'two Silver Wings, Pinks and Greens', is the latter not on WWII wings? - always interested in increasing my references

Jager1

#15 hawk3370

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 06:34 AM

Hello Terry,

Regarding your fake wing illustrated in Post #3, is that badge about 2.25 inches in width? If you look down upon the upper edge of the shield, does it appear there's a thin piece of gold metal attached to the face of an underlying silver shield? Is there a chance I can see an image of the back of the wing?

Regards,
Russ


Russ,
Sorry I don't have this wing in hand. Picture was sent to me a long time ago as I recall from another collector. As I recall the entire shield was a gold color with the US being silver, with silver wings.
Terry

#16 hawk3370

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 06:43 AM

Hello Terry,

Regarding your fake wing illustrated in Post #3, is that badge about 2.25 inches in width? If you look down upon the upper edge of the shield, does it appear there's a thin piece of gold metal attached to the face of an underlying silver shield? Is there a chance I can see an image of the back of the wing?

Regards,
Russ


Russ,
Attached is a closer shot of the shield. I suspect the shield was gold plated over silver.
Terry

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  • Fake_eisenstadt_2.jpg

Edited by hawk3370, 25 October 2011 - 06:44 AM.


#17 Jack's Son

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 07:16 AM

Terry is too modest to reply.......

His book is; United States Army Air Service Wing Badges - Uniforms and Insignia 1913-1918.

You can find copies on EBay and on google.
He has yet to favor us with a second !

Edited by Jack's Son, 25 October 2011 - 07:37 AM.


#18 baker502

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 07:32 AM

Well the experts have weighed in, with a bit more detail as to what makes this wing suspect not just a quick :thumbdown: . Thanks to Major Morris, P.Frost and John Cooper for their wisdom and observations on this wing.

#19 Jack's Son

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 08:14 AM

You're correct Paul, the opinions have been expressed, and a better understanding of the wing has been given :thumbsup:
Now........on to more of the world's problems! ;)

#20 pfrost

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 08:40 AM

Here is another one along the general lines of the wing on this thread that I found searching the internet. It is significantly more crude than the first two wings, of course. Still, it is also on a mustard yellow backing (this one seems to be felt). Hand carved and chased metal, crude "US", lack of any artistic skill or finesse, wrong style pin, and more than likely a modern felt backing that was intentionally bleached to look like age, all point to my opinion that it is of less than a WWI vintage time-period.

I have noticed that the range of workmanship in these type of hand-made wings varies from very poor to goodish quality. Not yet to the quality of the originals, but some of the better versions do take a bit more than just a casual glance or two to decide :thumbdown: or :thumbsup: .

Either the same person is making these wings and his/her skill has improved over time, or new "artists" have entered the field to try their hand at making WWI-style wings.

Patrick

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