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BB&B Paratrooper Wing on eBay Probable Copy?


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#1 Tonomachi

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 09:04 PM

There is one of those very sought after BB&B hallmarked WW2 era paratrooper wings for bid on eBay (230209509623). I have a feeling that it is a copy as I have scans of another that came out of a very reputable collection that is made differently. Does anyone know if BB&B had two different dies for the same paratrooper wing or as I suspect is the one on eBay a copy?

Possible Copy Below

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#2 Tonomachi

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 09:06 PM

Scans below of what I feel is an original BB&B paratrooper wing.

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#3 pfrost

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 09:31 PM

I have a BB&B hallmarked paratrooper wing. The hallmark on my wing looks exactly like the second wing you showed, not the first. I agree, I think the first wing is a fake.

P Frost

#4 KASTAUFFER

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 10:18 PM

Are the wings " WWII wings " that someone hallmarked recently , or are they complete fakes? My instincts made me think they were a high quality cast that has been hallmarked and had a pin added . I know zero about BB&B wings, but I follow my instincts .

Kurt

Edited by KASTAUFFER, 06 January 2008 - 10:19 PM.


#5 Sparky

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:09 AM

I am the seller of these wings. I believe that the ones that I am selling are original and stand behind them 100%. BB&B only used one set of dies in making their wings. The quality should be VERY high and they should be exceptionally heavy. I asked BB&B if they had used two seperate dies and their answer was no. In fact they use the same die today except they mark the wings differently and also stamp a date of manufacture on them.

I have that same picture that Tonomachi has shown, posted on my website and now doubt if those wings are original BB&B manufacture. They look like an average set of wings that could have been made by any old company. They do not exhibit the quality that I would expect a pair of wings that are made by a top jeweler to look.

I got these wings from a VERY reputable source and in fact top Airborne collector Mark Bando has a set exactly like it in his collection.

#6 Abn Inf

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:28 AM

I don't own a pair of the BB&B wings, but I have seen an original pair that Red King showed me in the 50's. They were identical to the set that are up for sale on ebay.

Art

#7 Sparky

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:50 AM

In fact, let's take this just a step further. Here is a modern made BB&B jump wing that was made for me in 2003. Notice the stamps are at the top and they now stamp a manufacture date on them as shown here for July 2003.

Interestingly notice that they also do not cut out the wings fully as you will notice the uncut portions on both sides of the lower portion next to the risers.

These weigh the same as the original that I have for sale and are the same thickness. Obviously they are made on the same dies.

With all due respect, and I hate to slam another guys collection, but if I were going to buy a set of jump wings, at the price that these would sell for, which set would you want to buy? I will take my set every time! The quality is just top notch.

The typical normal looking set as posted by Tonomachi or the set that looks more spectacular, like it was made by a top jewelery maker?

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Edited by Sparky, 07 January 2008 - 04:57 AM.


#8 VMI88

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 05:10 AM

In fact they use the same die today except they mark the wings differently and also stamp a date of manufacture on them.


Is it still possible to buy BB&B insignia? I looked on their website but didn't see any. If their current insignia is anything like the wing pictured in the auction I'd love to have some for my uniform!

Bill

Edited by VMI88, 07 January 2008 - 05:11 AM.


#9 101combatvet

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 06:42 AM

To answer your question General Yarborough the designer of the parachutist's qualification badge had several re-strikes made in the 1980's from BB&B and back then they were NOT dating them. He would present these to exceptional Airborne soldiers that he meet..... I have confirmed this story with several troopers that had been presented them by him over the years. They also asked him if they were originals and he told them that they were not. The one posted on ebay appears to be a BB&B re-strike of this type.

There is one of those very sought after BB&B hallmarked WW2 era paratrooper wings for bid on eBay (230209509623). I have a feeling that it is a copy as I have scans of another that came out of a very reputable collection that is made differently. Does anyone know if BB&B had two different dies for the same paratrooper wing or as I suspect is the one on eBay a copy?

Possible Copy Below


Edited by 101combatvet, 07 January 2008 - 06:46 AM.


#10 Allan H.

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 07:14 AM

I am the seller of these wings. I believe that the ones that I am selling are original and stand behind them 100%. BB&B only used one set of dies in making their wings. The quality should be VERY high and they should be exceptionally heavy. I asked BB&B if they had used two seperate dies and their answer was no. In fact they use the same die today except they mark the wings differently and also stamp a date of manufacture on them.

I have that same picture that Tonomachi has shown, posted on my website and now doubt if those wings are original BB&B manufacture. They look like an average set of wings that could have been made by any old company. They do not exhibit the quality that I would expect a pair of wings that are made by a top jeweler to look.

I got these wings from a VERY reputable source and in fact top Airborne collector Mark Bando has a set exactly like it in his collection.


I was going to stay out of this argument as I have my own opinion and I didn't feel that it was necessary to get involved, but when you put your last statement in your response about Mark Bando having a set, I had to ask myself if it wasn't because Bando had gotten the wing from you, Sparky? If that is the case, then I believe that it might be misleading to others who might take that as a sign that this is a WWII vintage BB&B wing.

I have two full-sized wings BB&B marked wingss in my collection and have iron clad provenance on them, so don't need to worry whether mine are originals. I will say that they don't match yours. Maybe Leif can chime in on this as I know that he has a couple pair and has provenance on his as well.

Allan

Edited by Allan H., 07 January 2008 - 07:19 AM.


#11 LTGSANCHEZ

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 07:20 AM

Bill,

Ditto on that one. I wouldn't mind a BB&B pair of wings on my uniform either.

#12 pathfinder505

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 07:42 AM

I was going to stay out of this argument as I have my own opinion and I didn't feel that it was necessary to get involved, but when you put your last statement in your response about Mark Bando having a set, I had to ask myself if it wasn't because Bando had gotten the wing from you, Sparky? If that is the case, then I believe that it might be misleading to others who might take that as a sign that this is a WWII vintage BB&B wing.

I have two full-sized wings BB&B marked wingss in my collection and have iron clad provenance on them, so don't need to worry whether mine are originals. I will say that they don't match yours. Maybe Leif can chime in on this as I know that he has a couple pair and has provenance on his as well.

Allan


I am just an observer on this discussion as I know very little about these wings. I have a question for you Allan, do the wings you have match what Tonomachi posted???

#13 pfrost

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 10:57 AM

This is my BB&B wing. I cant say that I have any provenance for it, but since I bought it at a flea market for 10$ out of a little jewelry box, I figure its ok.

The BB&B mark is on the upper wing tip and the sterling mark is on the other wing tip. IMO, other than that differance, it is more like the one posted by Tonomachi. I know my wing shows sign of being well worn and polished. The white stuff around the hinge/pin is old silver polish.

I recall Les Hughes (I believe that is his name, he had a webpage called Insigne) selling off part of his collection a few years ago on ebay and his BB&B jump wing has also just like the one shown by Tonomanchi. I noted that auction because the wing sold for around 1000$!

Patrick

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#14 Allan H.

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 01:53 PM

Let's see if this puts the question to bed.
Here is the image of Yarborough's patent for the Army Parachutist Badge which I stole shamelessly from the Quartermaster Foundation's website. http://www.qmfound.c...chute_badge.htm
Take a good look at the image of the front of the wing. Compare it to the image of the wing shown by Tonomanchi. They look EXACTLY the same don't they? Now compare the patent drawing to the "questionable" wing. There is no comparison. Perhaps Patrick can add an image of the front of his wing and I will eventually add images of my wings. Perhaps Leif can add his as well.
I am betting that what we will see is a lot of similarity between Patrick's, Tonomanchi's referenced example, Leif's and my own.
Will there be any need to discuss the issue further after that?
Allan

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#15 pfrost

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 02:17 PM

I dont have a really great scan of the front, because the wing doesnt live with me any more, but here is a scan from my webpage of the wing.

You can go here (http://pfrost.bol.uc...u/airborne.html) and scroll down to see the other jump wings in my collection. As I recall, all the WWII wing are all pretty much alike from the front...with some small variations (with the English/Australian made wings being the most variable). To me, none of the jump wings from my collection look like the one posted to start this thread.

As I said, mine looks exactly like the one Tonomachi posted except for location of hallmark. I will let the people who are much smarter than me debate legitimacy.

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#16 Sparky

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 03:09 PM

I don't know if ANYTHING can be done to put this one to bed Allan.

Yes, I did get one of these wings to Mark Bando. Not trying to pull anything by mentioning that fact. If you felt so, sorry for that. I know he likes them and was very happy to add them to his fabulous collection. Does that make them real? No.

I will tell you that I got these wings from a person that worked for BB&B back in the late 30's through until around 1950. They also had the original catalogues, which I found out later are quite collectable in their own right, as well as other military wings of BB&B manufacture which I did not see. Due to this fact, I believe that my wings are WWII original.

Another thing to add is that when I contacted BB&B about making me the set that I have shown, I asked if they still use the original dies. The reply was YES, they still use the original dies but they stamp the manufacturers mark and sterling in a different location as well as marking it with a date of manufacture.

You are right Allan, the drawing does look like the front of the one Tonamachi has posted here. I have looked at this page many times in the past. Is it not possible that BB&B followed it as a guideline? Maybe they added the fine feather detail? Maybe they made the top of the chute slightly different? Maybe they have used different dies at some point in the manufacturing process during the time frame my person worked for them? Maybe the ones I show here are original and the others not? Maybe they both are original? The thing is, I don't know if we will ever know for sure. I do think that a jeweler of the caliber of BB&B would make a nicer set of wings than what is shown in Tonamachi's post.

There IS also an undercurrent that is running beneath here that we both know about. I will not go into here as it is not the place or the time. Allan, I have ALWAYS appreciated your assistance and have respected your experience and your knowledge regarding Airborne items and continually mention that in conversations that I have with others, ALWAYS. Due to this occurance, you now seem to have an axe to grind with me.

So, there you have the facts of the matter.

#17 VMI88

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 03:30 PM

I don't have a dog in this fight, but isn't it possible that BB&B used more than one set of dies, or purchased wings from another manufacturer to be sold under their own trade name? If I'm not mistaken this is exactly what Luxenberg did, which is why some Luxenberg wings are very high quality while others are just average wings with the Luxenberg logo.

I agree that the first set of wings pictured (the ones Sparky has on eBay) are different -- and seemingly higher quality -- than the other set pictured, but that doesn't necessarily mean one is right and the other is wrong.

Bill

#18 101combatvet

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 03:57 PM

So General Yarborough the designer of these wings was handing out originals in the early to mid 80's without even knowing this? When did BB&B start dating their wings? In 1942.... 1946... or 2003? General Yarborough was as sharp as a tack until his death.... sorry but I find this all very hard to believe.


Another thing to add is that when I contacted BB&B about making me the set that I have shown, I asked if they still use the original dies. The reply was YES, they still use the original dies but they stamp the manufacturers mark and sterling in a different location as well as marking it with a date of manufacture.



#19 Sparky

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:21 PM

So General Yarborough the designer of these wings was handing out originals in the early to mid 80's without even knowing this? When did BB&B start dating their wings? In 1942.... 1946... or 2003? General Yarborough was as sharp as a tack until his death.... sorry but I find this all very hard to believe.


101, I don't think you are tracking fully on this.

I am not sure when BB&B started date stamping their wings. I doubt that the wings he handed out were date stamped as I also am sure that he would have noticed it.

#20 nkomo

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 04:26 PM

I own two pair of WW2 jump wings and one of those wings is made by BB&B. My set is the same as the second set of wings that Tonomachi posted. Certainly not an expert, but just making an observation.

Edited by nkomo, 07 January 2008 - 04:28 PM.


#21 KASTAUFFER

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 06:43 PM

I am no wing expert, but I know medals. The BB&B hallmark on the wings Tonomachi posted is consistant with early Society medals made by BB&B I have seen that date from the turn of the century through the 30's. ( For what that is worth ) .

Kurt

#22 ehrentitle

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 06:47 PM

Let's see if this puts the question to bed.
Here is the image of Yarborough's patent for the Army Parachutist Badge which I stole shamelessly from the Quartermaster Foundation's website. http://www.qmfound.c...chute_badge.htm
Take a good look at the image of the front of the wing. Compare it to the image of the wing shown by Tonomanchi. They look EXACTLY the same don't they? Now compare the patent drawing to the "questionable" wing. There is no comparison. Perhaps Patrick can add an image of the front of his wing and I will eventually add images of my wings. Perhaps Leif can add his as well.
I am betting that what we will see is a lot of similarity between Patrick's, Tonomanchi's referenced example, Leif's and my own.
Will there be any need to discuss the issue further after that?
Allan



Allan, Thanks for crediting the QM Museum, you are one of the few to do so. It's nice to know my work is appreciated, Here is a larger version of that scan. It's based on a photocopy I made at the Institute of Heraldry several years back. Kevin

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Edited by ehrentitle, 07 January 2008 - 07:01 PM.


#23 Allan H.

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 11:05 PM

You are right Allan, the drawing does look like the front of the one Tonamachi has posted here. I have looked at this page many times in the past. Is it not possible that BB&B followed it as a guideline? Maybe they added the fine feather detail? Maybe they made the top of the chute slightly different? Maybe they have used different dies at some point in the manufacturing process during the time frame my person worked for them? Maybe the ones I show here are original and the others not? Maybe they both are original? The thing is, I don't know if we will ever know for sure. I do think that a jeweler of the caliber of BB&B would make a nicer set of wings than what is shown in Tonamachi's post.


The thing is that patent drawings are followed EXACTLY when prototypes are made. After all, the finished item has to mirror the patent drawing in order to be covered by the patent. So, why would there be so many examples posted here of legitimate wings that very closely match the drawing and then your wing which is so different?
I have tried to take some detailed images of my BB&B marked pieces but just can't get a good enough image to post them right now. I will try again tomorrow when I can get a better camera out to take the photos. The reason I am having such a tough time is that the markings are so small! The wing you offer has HUGE lettering by comparison. Also, you would think that one of the most respected jewelers in the country in 1941 would have bothered to have finished the wing by removing the excess metal out of the recesses on the shoulders of the wings. You seem to want to represent this flaw as some sort of unique aspect of the BB&B wing, while any jeweler worth his salt would cringe at the thought of an unfinished piece leaving his place of business with his hallmark on the back.
I will attach an image of the front of one of my BB&B wings for now and will try to follow up with a detailed photo of the markings on the backs of my wings later.

There IS also an undercurrent that is running beneath here that we both know about. I will not go into here as it is not the place or the time. Allan, I have ALWAYS appreciated your assistance and have respected your experience and your knowledge regarding Airborne items and continually mention that in conversations that I have with others, ALWAYS. Due to this occurance, you now seem to have an axe to grind with me.


Why would I have an axe to grind? We both know why. Do you really want me to publicize it here?

I mentioned in my first post that I was going to stay out of this conversation until I had to call foul on your reference to Bando owning a pair of identical wings. He only has them because they came from you and not because of provenance from a veteran. I feel that you were being deceptive and that it could potentially cost a member of this forum a lot of money to make a mistake on these wings.

For all of the "appreciation" that you have had for my assistance, you never bothered to give me credit for my words which you posted directly to your website, having lifted them directly from my e-mail response to you. You seemingly have made my experience, expertise and work product your own. Legally, that is called PLAGERISM.
Allan

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Edited by Allan H., 07 January 2008 - 11:16 PM.


#24 Allan H.

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 11:08 PM

Allan, Thanks for crediting the QM Museum, you are one of the few to do so. It's nice to know my work is appreciated, Here is a larger version of that scan. It's based on a photocopy I made at the Institute of Heraldry several years back. Kevin


Kevin,
I actually have a vintage copy of the patent in my personal files, but wanted to allow the information to be viewed in a public forum. I do hope that my attribution was accurate. I firmly believe that one should ALWAYS quote a source when the information presented is not your own.
I want to thank you for the fine job that you have done on the QM website. It is an EXCELLENT reference.
Allan

#25 John Cooper

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 11:29 PM

I no zero about jump wings... but in my experience with wings in general my gut tell me to be carful with the set in question. The makers mark font and size seemd to be different and does the finish (of the backs looks polished). THIs is not to push this either direction but just a point.

I wonder if you can have the seller post the weight & dimensions and then match that to the others posted just to get this back on track with the technical details.

Additionally since I can not see this in the photo and it was suggested the set in question might be cast I think if seller can show some photos of the typical marks left but the die stamp process that might clear things up on that question.


Regards,

John


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