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An unusual Jump Wing on eBay


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#26 BROBS

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 08:58 AM

either that or you have a fake one as well?

 

-Brian



#27 Tonomachi

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 10:20 AM

Well I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that I am fairly certain that the wing on Ebay is a legit early Occupation piece for the 674th PFA Bn. I can't speak for the card it's on or the plastic box though, which are obviously much later. This is a local piece, I believe part of a estate that was broken up here about ten years ago. It was scattered to several antique dealers who had no idea of its value or significance. I have heard stories of a medal group, patches and other stuff popping up at flea markets and antique stores. I was able to find an identical pair of wings that may have been used and a very crude belt buckle that had a pair of these wings glued on it. While I have the vet's name, I haven't been able to track down any info besides enlistment date and such. I think that someone got a very good deal on Ebay.

 

I've got nothing to add as I too have been told that they are heaven to hell paratrooper wings associated with the 11th Airborne Division.  What is interested about your wing and the wing that just sold on eBay is the way in which the hinge side straight pin back is attached on a circular base.  I too thought that the wing that sold on eBay had been repaired after the hinge side pin back had broken off and been reattached by a jeweler.  Now I'm not so sure as what are the odds that both wings were repaired in the same manner with the same materials and possibly by the same jeweler?   Here are photos of one of these wings where a circular base is not utilized.
 

Attached Images

  • HeavenAndEarth GEMSCO (1).jpg
  • HeavenAndEarth GEMSCO (2).jpg


#28 Tonomachi

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 10:23 AM

Here is another one of these para wings on an artillery oval without the circular base piece on the hinged side straight pin. 

Attached Images

  • HeavenAndEarth Looks GEMSCO.jpg
  • Heaven to Hell GEMSCO STERLING (9).jpg
  • Heaven to Hell GEMSCO STERLING (10).jpg


#29 Patchcollector

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 10:53 AM

This thread is getting very interesting.I'm learning things about a subject that a few days prior I knew nothing about.Thanks to everyone for posting this info.

I have a theory about the "repaired/replaced'' hinge side straight pin back.Perhaps whoever worked on them first removed the pin assembly before modifying them as to make their work easier.I would think that attaching the pieces to the Wing would be less difficult with the badge sitting flat.Just a theory.

 

What I would like to see is a "Heaven to Hell" Wing that has provenance and is known to be authentic.Does anyone have a photo of one that can be posted here?Maybe from the HIOM book or perhaps Allan has one he can post?


Edited by Patchcollector, 21 October 2014 - 10:55 AM.


#30 BROBS

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 10:59 AM

This thread is getting very interesting.I'm learning things about a subject that a few days prior I knew nothing about.Thanks to everyone for posting this info.

I have a theory about the "repaired/replaced'' hinge side straight pin back.Perhaps whoever worked on them first removed the pin assembly before modifying them as to make their work easier.I would think that attaching the pieces to the Wing would be less difficult with the badge sitting flat.Just a theory.

 

What I would like to see is a "Heaven to Hell" Wing that has provenance and is known to be authentic.Does anyone have a photo of one that can be posted here?Maybe from the HIOM book or perhaps Allan has one he can post?

that's what I wonder... 

or is this a collector myth perpetuated through the years by a batch of fakes??

 

and about removing the pin to solder the items on... they more than likely were face down when soldered.

 

-Brian


Edited by BROBS, 21 October 2014 - 11:00 AM.


#31 trenchbuff

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 11:20 AM

I think its an interesting wing.  Pretty cool that it has crossed bones with Homer Simpson's head above it.



#32 triplecanopy

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 03:53 PM

I am inclined to believe that the eBay wing in question is quite possibly the real deal. The box is obviously from a later period and the pin back clasp must have been replaced or repaired. The compelling evidence is that the wings are almost identical in features as Allan's (except for the threaded post) and Tonomachi's. I like the "Homer Simpson" Skull moniker- that is a keeper. I also believe that these were most likely occupation pieces worn after the war. The 674th Field Artillery was part of the 11th Airborne Division stationed in Japan after WWII. A F.A. Battalion at that time was probably less than 500 soldiers (someone can research the correct number). So perhaps as many as 500 of these "heaven to hell" wings could have been made up on special order since all examples thus far have Gemsco markings.  Also the seller is not a military relic dealer. He looks to be in the jewelry business. I'll bet he is pleasantly surprized that his item brought so much. A lot of assumptions and guesses, but just perhaps some worth further discussion.

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  • 42100179.JPG


#33 Allan H.

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 12:35 PM

Again,

I will apologize to everyone for not being around here as much lately, but I've had a lot on my plate and coming to the site is "fun time" for me. I have told the story many, many times over the years, but I started collecting variations of the parachute badge as a kid- around the age of 15 or 16. I collected them because all of my collecting buddies collected WWII AAF wings by maker, so I decided why not do the same thing with jump wings and glider badges? One of the very first oddball wings that I put into my collection was the 674th PFA jump wing. This would have been in 1981. I believe that since no jump wing was more than $20, even the English made pieces, that the one that I have is an original.  Unfortunately, I have no provenance for the wing in my collection. I can tell you that for me, the skull and crossbones piece has to be the key. Where would these have come from? Sure, you can find earrings with a skull and bones, or other pieces of jewelry, but what about the specific look for the one on the wing? The one on eBay sure looks like it is die struck to me, so it can't be a one off casted piece.

 

I'll add one other tidbit here- several years ago, I was able to pick up two Japanese made 674th PFA patches- one was the silk shoulder patch. The other was a much larger back patch.  These pieces are also photographed in the Keller Brothers' airborne patch book. When I got these two pieces, directly from the vet, I showed him my "heaven to hell" wing.  His eyes lit up like a Christmas tree as he hooted "That's the one!" It seems that a number of these pieces were made for unit members, but they were not widely available.  The veteran only served in the 674th during the occupation and said that other guys had the wing, but he did not because he had gotten to the unit too late. Maybe another batch was made? I can't say. I can say with a great amount of certainty that these wings did exist in the immediate post war era and that every one that I have ever seen that I believe to be a real one was Gemsco marked.  I'm sorry that I cannot be any more authoritative than that folks.

 

My opinion- the one on eBay was a real one- but might have been a later order from Gemsco. I also feel that the ones that Joe W makes look like garbage compared to the Gemsco pieces, but they do make for a cheap alternative to finding an original.

 

I will TRY to get home early enough that I can take photos of the piece in my collection and get them posted here. 

 

Allan



#34 firefighter

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 03:30 PM

HIOM = Heros in our Midst, Great book by John Angolia. The Heaven to Hell wings are featured on page 157 and as Allan stated, it is marked GEMSCO. I am still wondering if Gemsco actually made up these modified basic wings or was there a local Jeweler who did the work?

 

 

Thank's. Thought it was a typo.



#35 BROBS

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 05:00 PM

Again,

I will apologize to everyone for not being around here as much lately, but I've had a lot on my plate and coming to the site is "fun time" for me. I have told the story many, many times over the years, but I started collecting variations of the parachute badge as a kid- around the age of 15 or 16. I collected them because all of my collecting buddies collected WWII AAF wings by maker, so I decided why not do the same thing with jump wings and glider badges? One of the very first oddball wings that I put into my collection was the 674th PFA jump wing. This would have been in 1981. I believe that since no jump wing was more than $20, even the English made pieces, that the one that I have is an original.  Unfortunately, I have no provenance for the wing in my collection. I can tell you that for me, the skull and crossbones piece has to be the key. Where would these have come from? Sure, you can find earrings with a skull and bones, or other pieces of jewelry, but what about the specific look for the one on the wing? The one on eBay sure looks like it is die struck to me, so it can't be a one off casted piece.

 

I'll add one other tidbit here- several years ago, I was able to pick up two Japanese made 674th PFA patches- one was the silk shoulder patch. The other was a much larger back patch.  These pieces are also photographed in the Keller Brothers' airborne patch book. When I got these two pieces, directly from the vet, I showed him my "heaven to hell" wing.  His eyes lit up like a Christmas tree as he hooted "That's the one!" It seems that a number of these pieces were made for unit members, but they were not widely available.  The veteran only served in the 674th during the occupation and said that other guys had the wing, but he did not because he had gotten to the unit too late. Maybe another batch was made? I can't say. I can say with a great amount of certainty that these wings did exist in the immediate post war era and that every one that I have ever seen that I believe to be a real one was Gemsco marked.  I'm sorry that I cannot be any more authoritative than that folks.

 

My opinion- the one on eBay was a real one- but might have been a later order from Gemsco. I also feel that the ones that Joe W makes look like garbage compared to the Gemsco pieces, but they do make for a cheap alternative to finding an original.

 

I will TRY to get home early enough that I can take photos of the piece in my collection and get them posted here. 

 

Allan

Great info as usual, Allan.

 

B)

 

thanks. 

-Brian



#36 Allan H.

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 06:32 AM

I assume that the horse has been beaten to death by this point, but since I said that I would try to post photos of my wing, I figured that I ought to go ahead and do it.  You will note that the wing is secured with a single screw post.  Please also note that the wing has not been modified; it was made that way.

 

One of the other things about this wing is that you can see that there is a stabilization stud on the back side of the skull. As you look at the front of the wing, you can clearly see that the skull and cross have been silver soldiered to the wing.  The modification doesn't detract as the wing is a uniform color throughout, but I want to make sure that everyone sees the result of the modifications.

 

Allan

Attached Images

  • 674A.jpg
  • 674R.jpg


#37 Allan H.

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 06:35 AM

Here is a detailed photo of the maker's mark.  You can see the " GEM" portion of Gemsco pretty plainly, but the dark patina makes the remaining letters harder to read.  The wing is not sterling marked, but I believe that this is a sterling wing.  This view also gives you better detail of the stabilization stud on the back of the skull and the screw post fastener.

 

My gut feeling is that this wing was probably worn on a helmet liner, but I really don't have any definitive evidence to that assumption.

 

Allan

Attached Images

  • 674C.jpg


#38 tarbridge

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 07:03 AM

OK...I have owned this one for quite a few years. ..

rps20141024_105637.jpg rps20141024_105706.jpg rps20141024_105746.jpg rps20141024_105829.jpg rps20141024_105901.jpg rps20141024_105940.jpg

#39 Patchcollector

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 07:55 AM

Great stuff!Thanks for posting these guys!



#40 Allan H.

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 11:15 AM

Robert-

I think your skull looks exactly like the one on my wing and I also notice the silver solder slopped on the front of the wing much in the same manner as my example.  I think we can agree that they're both original? B)

 

Allan



#41 tarbridge

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 11:21 AM

Robert-

I think your skull looks exactly like the one on my wing and I also notice the silver solder slopped on the front of the wing much in the same manner as my example.  I think we can agree that they're both original? B)

 

Allan

Allan,

I never was scared of it...but it is always good to hear and see others...but when you broke out the sunglasses dude...I knew it would be OK. :)



#42 triplecanopy

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 04:07 PM

Great examples. The producers of Homer Simpson must have been inspired by the skull as it is a "dead" ringer.


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