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British made para wings.


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#1 Mr-X

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 11:02 PM

Hi everyone,

can I have some opinions as to the originality of these British made sterling wings please?
http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh145/leighm25a/2_4862_01_a.jpg
http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh145/leighm25a/2_4862_02_a.jpg
http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh145/leighm25a/2_4862_03_a.jpg
Thanks.
Leigh

#2 101combatvet

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 10:42 AM

Judging from what I see these appear original.

#3 Mr-X

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 05:29 PM

I saw a fake pair to the same manufacturer in epay yesterday.
Here's the pic to compare.
http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh145/leighm25a/fa64_1.jpg

#4 101combatvet

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 08:23 PM

Wow.... those are scary.

I saw a fake pair to the same manufacturer in epay yesterday.
Here's the pic to compare.
http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh145/leighm25a/fa64_1.jpg



#5 Gary Cain

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 08:35 PM

Anytime you see a English made wing (or any piece of insignia for that matter) with the word silver on it beware. There are indeed original examples of insignia marked this way but they are the exception. The English rules for silver marking are very old and rigorously enforced. There should be a series of 4 hallmarks that tell you who made it, the city of manufacture, the date, and the assayers silver stamp. The word silver is frequently but not allways stamped in addition to the hallmarks. Firmin made insignia is the most often seen with both marks.

The wing in question looks to be good (except for the marks which automatically render it suspect, the silver mark as an example is not a typical font seen during the war) but I would have to have it in hand to render a proper judgement.

Gary

#6 camopara

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 08:44 PM

I would agree with Gary and I would add that I would want to see the words Sterling Silver...I have an English made pair with that on them.

#7 pfrost

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 09:48 PM

I think it is a fake wing. It looks like one of the cast potmetal versions coming out of England. Here is an example from the old Insinge website. (http://www.insigne.o.../Gaunt-fake.jpg)

A number of things jump out. First, it doesnt look like it is die struck, but rather looks like it is cast of some sort of pot metal. The JR GAUNT is crooked on the back. The details are not crisp.

#8 Gary Cain

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 02:17 PM

The features you describe are actully common on commonwealth made insignia. JR Gaunt makers marks are almost allways found this way. Firmin is the only company that regularly marked their insignia with a good quality makers mark. All others were poor to non existent. I don't see casting bubbles, nor any of the muddiness in the corners that is associated with a casting anywhere on this piece so I don't believe it to be cast. The features are indeed soft but that is not uncommon with Gaunt insignia of this type. Gaunt aviators wings are generally of good quality but their other insignia oftimes was not as good a quality.


Gary

I think it is a fake wing. It looks like one of the cast potmetal versions coming out of England. Here is an example from the old Insinge website. (http://www.insigne.o.../Gaunt-fake.jpg)

A number of things jump out. First, it doesnt look like it is die struck, but rather looks like it is cast of some sort of pot metal. The JR GAUNT is crooked on the back. The details are not crisp.


Edited by Gary Cain, 28 February 2008 - 02:18 PM.


#9 101combatvet

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 05:12 PM

Checked over some of my foreign made jump wings and found two Gaunt that are stamped "sterling silver". None of my Firmin & Sons or Ludlow Co. are marked silver or sterling silver as far as I know. I did find one unmarked para-glider wing with a British style pin which is marked "sterling".

#10 Gary Cain

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 09:08 PM

I would like to see some pictures of your para wings. I am compiling a listing of all the foreign makers of US insignia and I have not seen that mark on Gaunt wings. I have four of them ad none have Sterling Silver as a mark. Also Ludlow rarely marked the insignia they made. To date I have not seen a Firmin Para wing.


Cheers
Gary

Checked over some of my foreign made jump wings and found two Gaunt that are stamped "sterling silver". None of my Firmin & Sons or Ludlow Co. are marked silver or sterling silver as far as I know. I did find one unmarked para-glider wing with a British style pin which is marked "sterling".



#11 101combatvet

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 06:01 AM

Hey Gary,

Alan Henderson has done a complete list of all the markers.... I think his list has been posted here:

http://www.wehrmacht...ead.php?t=84409

I can post a scan but I'm not sure how clear the stampings will come out. They are difficult to see with out a x8 loop.

I would like to see some pictures of your para wings. I am compiling a listing of all the foreign makers of US insignia and I have not seen that mark on Gaunt wings. I have four of them ad none have Sterling Silver as a mark. Also Ludlow rarely marked the insignia they made. To date I have not seen a Firmin Para wing.
Cheers
Gary


Edited by 101combatvet, 29 February 2008 - 06:04 AM.


#12 Gary Cain

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 03:45 PM

Hello again,

Yes I am familiar with that list. What I am focusing on now is commonwealth insignia and am trying to build a data base of known makers and their particular features. I have around 300 pieces of foreign made insignia and am allways looking to increase the data base.


Gary

Hey Gary,

Alan Henderson has done a complete list of all the markers.... I think his list has been posted here:

http://www.wehrmacht...ead.php?t=84409

I can post a scan but I'm not sure how clear the stampings will come out. They are difficult to see with out a x8 loop.



#13 camopara

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 07:24 AM

Firmin - I also have an early example of the 'chromed' variety with the 'safety pin' catch.

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#14 101combatvet

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 08:21 AM

I was speaking with a very well known British collector awhile back that claimed that the Firmin wings were of the worse quality when compared to the other english manufacturers. He told me that the quality was so poor that soldiers preferred Ludlow and Gaunt. Not sure how true this was but I've always thought that the SS Ltd B was the worse made. This may explain the reason why these wings are not as common as Ludlow and especially Gaunt.

I would like to see some pictures of your para wings. I am compiling a listing of all the foreign makers of US insignia and I have not seen that mark on Gaunt wings. I have four of them ad none have Sterling Silver as a mark. Also Ludlow rarely marked the insignia they made. To date I have not seen a Firmin Para wing.
Cheers
Gary



#15 Gary Cain

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 04:22 PM

Hello,

Excellent! Could you show the other as well? front and back of both?

Many thanks!
Gary

Firmin - I also have an early example of the 'chromed' variety with the 'safety pin' catch.



#16 camopara

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 06:47 PM

Actually, the collection is packed right now. All I have is what is on my thumb drive. I'll see what I can find.

#17 camopara

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 08:27 AM

Here's I pic that I had on the thumb drive....If there is any other makers you would like to see just let me know and I'll see if I have an example.

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#18 J_Andrews

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:56 PM

Back in the mid-1970s, an expert British insignia collector told me to beware any U|S or UK metal badges I might be offered that were GAUNT marked. Why? Because, as part of a housecleaning op engendered by needing storage for the dies for then-new Brit unit insignia (anodized and new stuff for reorganized and redesignated units), Gaunt had sold off its dies for OBSOLETE insignia.

Sure enough, maybe two yrs later a bunch of stuff appeared on the market. He also said that many wartime Gaunt-made emblems were UNMARKED, hence, if it was MARKED, be warned! He also said much the same as has been set forth here that "STERLING" was a warning flag, both because Brit custom was the hallmarks and as silver was in short supply during the war.

My favorite fake of that time -- and they still show up on EBay and elsewhere -- is the Para-Glider wing that is GAUNT marked. can anyone tell me why such a wing, invented by and associated with the 11th Abn Div, no earlier than when it was in the Philippines in 1945 and probably not nicely-manufactured at all until on Occupation duty in Japan, would have been made in ENGLAND?

#19 brian e

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 03:01 PM

Hi all i would have to agree with PFROST that this isn't an original wing the crooked hall mark, the silver mark, and the pin bend are all inconsistant compared to original gaunt insignia brian

#20 Gary Cain

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 07:55 PM

Actually, I consider Ludlow to be the lowest overall quality of them all. Firmin is mid to high range. Gaunt is all over the board, some is fantastic while some is barely usable. It depends on when the insignia was made. Their Pre WWI insignia for example is top notch. Of all the Commonwealth makers I would classify Theo Meyer of Auckland the absolute best and most rare(and rare is totally appropriate a term, in 20+ years of collecting I have only found 8 pieces of theirs. And this includes searching all over New Zealand for it as well!), Angus & Coote of Sydney I would place second in quality. I have never found a piece of theirs that I would consider of poor design or quality.


Gary

I was speaking with a very well known British collector awhile back that claimed that the Firmin wings were of the worse quality when compared to the other english manufacturers. He told me that the quality was so poor that soldiers preferred Ludlow and Gaunt. Not sure how true this was but I've always thought that the SS Ltd B was the worse made. This may explain the reason why these wings are not as common as Ludlow and especially Gaunt.



#21 101combatvet

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 02:39 PM

11th Airborne..... really? I always thought of it as a 17th Airborne thing.... many of the 193rd and 194th were both Airborne and Glider qualified before leaving the states. Gee, even some guys in the QM company were dual qualified. http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/pinch.gif But as of Holland some parachute units in the 82nd were also Gilder trained. I have a few paraglider badges some english made..... don't recall ever seeing a Japanese made one.... have you? Love to see one if you have it.

As far as Guant goes.... I was told that many unfinished wings were found in recent years.... they were pined and plated and then sold on the collector's market. Never heard about the molds be sold.... I'm sure it is possible.


Back in the mid-1970s, an expert British insignia collector told me to beware any U|S or UK metal badges I might be offered that were GAUNT marked. Why? Because, as part of a housecleaning op engendered by needing storage for the dies for then-new Brit unit insignia (anodized and new stuff for reorganized and redesignated units), Gaunt had sold off its dies for OBSOLETE insignia.

Sure enough, maybe two yrs later a bunch of stuff appeared on the market. He also said that many wartime Gaunt-made emblems were UNMARKED, hence, if it was MARKED, be warned! He also said much the same as has been set forth here that "STERLING" was a warning flag, both because Brit custom was the hallmarks and as silver was in short supply during the war.

My favorite fake of that time -- and they still show up on EBay and elsewhere -- is the Para-Glider wing that is GAUNT marked. can anyone tell me why such a wing, invented by and associated with the 11th Abn Div, no earlier than when it was in the Philippines in 1945 and probably not nicely-manufactured at all until on Occupation duty in Japan, would have been made in ENGLAND?


Edited by 101combatvet, 28 March 2008 - 02:56 PM.


#22 Beau-Brummel

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 04:27 AM

11th Airborne..... really? I always thought of it as a 17th Airborne thing.... many of the 193rd and 194th were both Airborne and Glider qualified before leaving the states. Gee, even some guys in the QM company were dual qualified. http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/pinch.gif But as of Holland some parachute units in the 82nd were also Gilder trained. I have a few paraglider badges some english made..... don't recall ever seeing a Japanese made one.... have you? Love to see one if you have it.

As far as Guant goes.... I was told that many unfinished wings were found in recent years.... they were pined and plated and then sold on the collector's market. Never heard about the molds be sold.... I'm sure it is possible.


Could be a little bit of confusion here.

As far as i am aware both Firmins and Gaunt divested themselves of a huge amount of dies in the late 70's early 80's. They were bought up by 2 gentlemen who then set about re-striking. I don't know If any members here have knowledge of the Bedford show in England but one of the gentleman in question stalled out at the far end of the big hall near the fire doors? I am now lucky enough to have inherited that pitch.

Before he passed away the owner offered all of his dies and accumulated stock to a friend of mine as an ongoing business venture, my friend Is rather elderly and infirm and he passed up the opportunity. As for their current location I am unsure.

I was lucky enough to see all of the wares he had to offer and US wings were not , to the best of my knowledge, part of his Reppetoire. It was mainly Corps, Infantry Of The Line and regimental cap badges with some RAf and Navy too. He would sell badges as fresh strikes and he also offered a line of "weathered" examples which were aged with some strange mixture of chemicals and household goods. I asked him what was in It once but all he would say was that soot and boot polish played a part :blink: I can't for the life of me remember the chaps name but will ask my friend when I see him.

Just realised that this post isn't very helpful but thought members would like to hear the story.

Yours, Guy.

#23 APO472

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 07:41 AM

Attached are 3 pictures of a WWII Gaunt wing with Veteran Provenance. This wing came directly from the Family and is ID'D to a Pathfinder from A/506th of the 101st Airborne. It is not hallmarked "sterling" nor marked with anything other than the Gaunt Maker's mark. Hope this helps...

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#24 APO472

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 07:41 AM

Attached are 3 pictures of a WWII Gaunt wing with Veteran Provenance. This wing came directly from the Family and is ID'D to a Pathfinder from A/506th of the 101st Airborne. It is not hallmarked "sterling" nor marked with anything other than the Gaunt Maker's mark. Hope this helps...

One more...

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#25 APO472

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 07:58 AM

Since the subject is British made wings...these wings were given to me by a Veteran of HQ 1/502 and were his personal wings that he obtained while in England. He fought in all the 101st Campaigns by the way. Obviously they are English made. Question is by whom? There are no markings on it that I can find.

Jake Powers

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