Jump to content


VFW National Headquarters Badge

Started by Kevin Beyer , Feb 01 2008 08:14 AM

  • Please log in to reply
27 replies to this topic

#1 Kevin Beyer

Kevin Beyer

    MODERATOR

  • Moderators
    • Member ID: 276
  • 627 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Aurora, Illinois

Posted 01 February 2008 - 08:14 AM

Hello, All,

I recently picked up this badge issued by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Its only markings are "V.F.W. NATL HDQTS." both on the suspension bar and on the reverse of the pendant. I am uncertain of the meaning behind the red background as well as what the four stars represents. It is my assumption that this badge would be for a high level officer within the organization, perhaps a Commander in Chief. But, without any concrete information, this is just speculation on my part.

VFWNationalHeadquarters.jpg

Does anyone have any other VFW officer badges they wish to share?

Kevin

#2 Kevin Beyer

Kevin Beyer

    MODERATOR

  • Moderators
    • Member ID: 276
  • 627 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Aurora, Illinois

Posted 01 February 2008 - 08:15 AM

Here is a close up of the above badge:

VFWNationalHeadquartersBackClose.jpg

Kevin

#3 Chukpike

Chukpike
  • Members
    • Member ID: 2,228
  • 94 posts

Posted 03 February 2008 - 06:52 AM

Look and see if on the reverse it says KS or Missouri. I am in KC now and would go by the headquarters and check if it is a commanders ribbon. Sometimes merit ribbons are given out with stars for things such as membership recruiting, community service, and of course service to veterans. Knowing whether it is marked KC, Ks or KC, Mo will give info on age.

#4 Kevin Beyer

Kevin Beyer

    MODERATOR

  • Moderators
    • Member ID: 276
  • 627 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Aurora, Illinois

Posted 04 February 2008 - 05:20 AM

Look and see if on the reverse it says KS or Missouri. I am in KC now and would go by the headquarters and check if it is a commanders ribbon. Sometimes merit ribbons are given out with stars for things such as membership recruiting, community service, and of course service to veterans. Knowing whether it is marked KC, Ks or KC, Mo will give info on age.


Chukpike,

I just re-examined the back of the suspension bar. Underneath the ribbon there is a mark of "RG" in letters that are about 3/16 in height. I had not noticed them before now as the bar through which the ribbon passes had been pressed flat against the main part of the hanger.

Of significance would be to understand what the red background color represents as well as the meaning behind the four stars.

Thanks!

Kevin

#5 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 05 February 2008 - 11:09 AM

Kevin,

With no conflicting evidence to the contrary, I would assume your badge is a Past National Commander-in-Chief. We know that many veteran groups copied the bar style and colors of other groups. For example, the USWV used the same type of Rank Strap and colors as the GAR. With early 1900s groups, it is more "iffy" who copied who. Have seen VFW rank strap bars in blue, white and red similar to the American Legion where Blue is Post level, White is Department level and Red is National level. (Although I have only seen American Legion badges with written Title Bars. Do not believe they ever used Rank Strap bars.)
My only problem with that comparison is the white rank strap bars I find all have a Colonel's Eagle on them. Why so many of one type? Is it possible the VFW had bars similar to the Army & Navy Union (A&NU) where A&NU current officers from Garrison to National use White background? Only Past Officers of the A&NU have different colors (Garrison/Naval Unit=Red; Dept.=Purple; Nat'l=Blue.)
Have attached illustration of VFW badges with Blue Rank Strap bars and the ever popular White Eagle bar (that turns yellow with age or exposure to sunlight).
Hoping someone has definite info on VFW bars.

Frederick

Attached Images

  • VFW_1.jpg


#6 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 05 February 2008 - 11:30 AM

I just re-examined the back of the suspension bar. Underneath the ribbon there is a mark of "RG" in letters that are about 3/16 in height.

Kevin,

Believe the "RG" stands for Rolled Gold; a version of VFW bars available to members. The attached illustration for membership badges in the Oct, 1930 issue of Foreign Service magazine shows that bars and pendants came is several mfg version, and these versions could be interchanged. I do not know the exact meaning of Rolled Gold, but suspect it is a fancy name for gold plate.

Frederick

Attached Images

  • VFW_bagde_list_2.jpg


#7 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 06 February 2008 - 07:07 AM

I just re-examined the back of the suspension bar. Underneath the ribbon there is a mark of "RG" in letters that are about 3/16 in height.

Kevin,

Believe the "RG" stands for Rolled Gold; a version of VFW bars available to members. The attached illustration for membership badges in the Oct, 1930 issue of Foreign Service magazine shows that bars and pendants came in several mfg version, and these versions could be interchanged. I do not know the exact meaning of Rolled Gold, but suspect it is a fancy name for gold plate.

Frederick


Edited by frederick, 06 February 2008 - 07:10 AM.


#8 Bob Hudson

Bob Hudson

    Forum Co-Founder (Ret)

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 2
  • 21,876 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 06 February 2008 - 07:41 AM

This is an interesting thread: there doesn't seem to be a lot on the web about these VFW badges.

There was one source which said the officer's badges were carried over from the GAR and in the GAR, four stars was for "National Commander in Chief." The GAR badges mostly seem to be on blue backgrounds including the ones for Col.

I notice the advertisement shown above has a two-star badge on white.

#9 Kevin Beyer

Kevin Beyer

    MODERATOR

  • Moderators
    • Member ID: 276
  • 627 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Aurora, Illinois

Posted 07 February 2008 - 02:23 PM

Frederick,

You suggested that the badge I have shown is for a PAST officer. It has been my observation that past officers for the G.A.R. and the U.S.W.V. placed their rank straps in the middle of the ribbon and that current officers had their rank strap at the top. It would be my belief that all of the badges you have shown would also represent current officers at the various levels.

What do you think?

Kevin

#10 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 07 February 2008 - 05:06 PM

Kevin,

Agree with your observation, but believe I am approaching this bar thing from two ends. One, from the GAR and USWV where present officers wore the bar at top of ribbon and past officers wore it centered on the ribbon; and two, from modern day use (mostly printed title bars) where present and past officers wear a corresponding present/past title bar at top of ribbon only. These two groups meet somewhere between 1910 and 1930. And, of course, it varies with the society.
Also think that pre-1900 societies had a decorative top bar with their badge because the pin for attaching the badge to a coat had to be attached to something. After 1900 the development of the hidden pin attachment at the top of the ribbon eliminated the need for a decorative top bar. Most societies after this time reduced the size of the top bar and/or eliminated it altogether.
Life would be much simpler if these groups continued to put present officer bars at top of ribbon and past officer bars in middle of ribbon, but subtracting and adding the hidden pin bar at top of ribbon probably lead to the single bar at top idea in use today.
My hope in bringing this matter to the Forum is that some of the readers of this section know the answer and will add it to this subsection. What is simple and straight forward to them is a vast puzzle to someone on the outside like me. It is like trying to guess the actions of a sporting event while standing outside the arena and listening to the crowd reaction.

Frederick

#11 ADMIN

ADMIN

    ADMINISTRATOR

  • Administrators
    • Member ID: 1
  • 3,445 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 February 2008 - 08:10 PM

I unfortunately know nothing when it comes to these issues. But, I did want to say that I this thread (as well as the other threads in the VET ORG forum) is really fascinating! I have learned so much from what is posted. Great job guys! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/twothumbup.gif

#12 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 09 February 2008 - 04:18 PM

This section on VFW badges began with Kevin's posting of a red enamel four star badge. Have believed this style was used by VFW until 1934 when replaced by Printed Title Badges. Have an interesting, engraved set from this time period which illustrates the change. The attached photo shows a badge from a Post Commander (White enamel with eagle) and the same individual as Dept Commander (Blue enamel Printed Title Badge). While there may be several possibilities for exact dates of the change being other years (phase out of old badges; phase in of new style), I will presently use these dates as the date of change. The older White enamel eagle on the first badge is only reinforcing my belief in this being a current officer style. It also implies that each present Commander of a post had his own badge (i.e., the badge was not passed on to the next Commander). This would help explain why there are so many of this style available.

The CITATION 3rd CL bar on the first badge is the only one I have seen and do not know how long such attachment were in use.

Frederick



[FORUM NOTE: WE REPLACED THE PDF IMAGE FILE WITH JPEG PHOTOS TO MAKE IT EASIER TO SEE THESE PIECES]

vfw1.jpg

vfw2.jpg

Edited by Forum Support, 09 February 2008 - 05:36 PM.


#13 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 09 February 2008 - 05:02 PM

Look and see if on the reverse it says KS or Missouri. I am in KC now and would go by the headquarters and check if it is a commanders ribbon. Sometimes merit ribbons are given out with stars for things such as membership recruiting, community service, and of course service to veterans. Knowing whether it is marked KC, Ks or KC, Mo will give info on age.


Chukpike,

Thanks for the info. Was unaware of the different marking on VFW badges until your note. Was aware many are marked VFW NATL HDQRS on back side of lower arm, but did not know other marks existed. Check my only national level badge (red enamel with two stars) and reverse is marked VFW K.C. KANS. Assume the HQ moved at some date (and think it is only across the river to be in Missouri). Do you have dates for these markings?

Frederick

Attached Images

  • VFW_8a2.jpg
  • VFW_8a.jpg


#14 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 25 February 2008 - 04:33 PM

Gentlemen,

Although this attachment will add to the length of the VFW inquire, the general census of opinion is to keep these things in one group.

This attachment illustrates the Past Officer badges of Post, County, District and Dept. of the VFW. Note they are all blue. Spoke with the National Sales office and they say all current officer badges are Blue enamel. Past office badges have the word PAST in them, but use Blue enamel. Assume this may be post-1934, but it may also be post-WWII. Have seen references to use of two colors in 1946 Military Order of Cootie Constitution and Bylaws. This, however, may be an old reference. The specific reference says Cootie officer badges will have the opposite color of past and present officers of the VFW. Assumption: we are talking two colors; do not know what the opposite of three colors may be.

Attached Images

  • VFW_5_P_Comm.jpg


#15 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 25 February 2008 - 05:12 PM

If things are not complicated enough, look at this attachment.

Left Badge: has a clear bar with slide-in slot on side. Reminds me of most convention badges where name is printed on rectangular piece of paper then inserted in side-slot. Only have one of these so cannot be sure of this is actual issue or made up by a very frugal member.

Middle Badge: Believe it or not, that is an official title printed on what appears to be a faux leatherette strip glued to the bar. Appears official, but have no idea when used and how long used.

Right Badge: Post Surgeon badge. Wanted to include this badge because of the wide, thick lettering. Upon closer examination, found the bar to have what appeared to be a thin brass metal plate inserted into bar. The Blue enamel portion is probably a thin blue paint (which may qualify as enamel when baked).

Checked the most recent VFW catalog I have (2005-2006) for badges. Between the Post, County, District and Dept. officer titles (plus one CAPTAIN title for Navy Posts), there are 85 different titles for present officers. Double that for Past Officer titles and you get 170 titles. When speaking with National Sales office, I asked about the use of thin brass insert titles. Short answer: Yes, that is what they are using now. Regulation size badges are still popular with the VFW (they no longer stock a miniature badge) and with 170 titles (not counting National Officers) it is only economical to keep a stock badge, stock title bar (without title), and a drawer full of thin brass titles which are inserted into the title bar and mated with a stock badge if requested (title bars can be purchased separately without badge on ribbon).

It is my assumption (guess) that all these variations in title bars are post-WWII. May have to isolate this study for future consideration. We have not exhausted the variations in pre-WWII badges.

Frederick

Attached Images

  • VFW_11b.jpg


#16 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 07 March 2008 - 10:40 AM

MORE VFW BADGE INFO:

This section contains some of the less appreciated markings on badges, but a valuable source for dating an item. Unfortunately, data on manufacturers marks is not well documented unless the maker was involved in the jewelry trade. Few badge makers are in that area. So I will simply show the different marks appearing on my group of VFW badges and hope some viewer has a similar badge that is dated to a group or engraved with a date.

Photo #1:

First image--two printed title bars illustrating the back side which shows two different size ribbon suspension bars.

Second image--back of printed title bar Past Post Commander with current VFW logo and 1/20-10K Gold Filled Stamping.

Third image--back of printed title bar Past Post Commander with VFW logo and 1/20-10K R.G. (rolled gold) stamping.

Fourth image--back of printed title bar Past Post Commander without VFW logo but stamped 1/20-10K R.G. The sterling stamp on the pin device, I am told, means the pin device is sterling, but not the item to which the pin device is attached.

Attached Images

  • VFW_36.jpg


#17 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 07 March 2008 - 10:47 AM

Photo #2:

First image--back of a bronze badge with NH VFW logo stamped into lowest arm.

Second image--back of printed title bar Past County Commander with VFW logo and number 5. Have two other such bars, both with number 5, indicating some production or order number. Not a serial number.

Third image--back of printed title bar Past Dept. Commander (engraved with presentation date of 1934-1935 on pendant) with current VFW logo and RG stamp,

Attached Images

  • VFW_35.jpg


#18 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 07 March 2008 - 10:57 AM

Photo #3:

First image--back of rank strap bar (Captain) with makers logo ROBBINS CO ATTLEBORO. Believe at this time the rank strap bars were made by a different supplier and sold to company making and assembling the membership badge. The name appears on all of my rank strap bars shown in earlier illustrations.

Second image--back of rank strap bar (Eagle on white enamel) with Sterling stamping Above the sterling mark are three mfg marks. Such three marks are characteristic of English silver (a legal requirement in England for several Centuries), but not used by all American silver makers.

Third image--back of rank strap bar (Eagle on white enamel) where the pendant is engraved Past Commander 1931-1933 (illustrated earlier). Believe this to be early use of VFW NATL HDQTS logo with at least a working date of introduction.

Attached Images

  • VFW_34.jpg


#19 frederick

frederick
  • Members
    • Member ID: 1,633
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indiana

Posted 07 March 2008 - 11:36 AM

Since we are discussing markings, thought I would include this photo of three membership badge pendants with different organizational name titles.

Photo #4:

Top image--Badge with title VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS.

Middle image--Badge with title VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS OF U.S.

Bottom image--Badge with title VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS U.S. where the U.S. is upright in the 6 o'clock position.

The first two versions seem to be used interchangeably on pre-WWII badges. Have enameled rank strap badges with both titles. Have an engraved 1937 presentation badge with first title. Believe (just a guess) the second title is more common if not exclusive to all post-WWII badges.
Have only one of the third title badge. It is the Past County Commander badge illustrated earlier. It is also the only plain brass badge with a clear, smooth back surface for engraving usually found on enameled and rolled gold or gold filled badges.

NOTE: Combining several images onto one posting is convenient for me and uses less Forum memory, but the pixel count restriction per posting also reduces the clarity of some images. If anyone wants or needs a better quality image, send me a private note and I will try to get one to you.

Attached Images

  • VFW_39.jpg


#20 Kevin Beyer

Kevin Beyer

    MODERATOR

  • Moderators
    • Member ID: 276
  • 627 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Aurora, Illinois

Posted 07 March 2008 - 07:43 PM

Francis,

I have noticed that some of the ribbons have a center stripe that is white while others have a yellow one. Can you comment about that?

Kevin


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


In Memory of Co-Founder GREG MILLS ROBINSON, a.k.a. "Marine-KaBar"
(February 17, 1949 - March 5, 2011)