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a couple of new WWI wings.


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#1 pfrost

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 04:17 PM

This has been perhaps one of the most productive WWI wing collecting month that I have ever had. I actually added 4 (FOUR!) new WWI wings. Some of the other posts on WWI wings inspired me to share.

A Dallas-style wing, a 2 piece metal wing likely made by Haltom, a super rare bullion military aviator wing (with the star), and perhaps one of the nicest reserve/junior wings in bullion that I have seen. It is rare to add one WWI era wing to a collection but I must have burned through close to a life-time of luck and karma this July.

Here are a few photos with more to follow later.

First a 2 piece Haltom wing. The wings are one piece with the shield added between them. The hallmark was either not put on or is covered by the wings. This wing also is sometimes seen as a 3-piecer with the individual wings attached to either side of the shield. The Haltom style wings have a characteristic "bell" shaped shield. Die struck with exceptional detail in the wings. This one is a bit worn and was clearly worn. These wings are frequently seen with screw-post fasteners, but this one has a pin--I suspect a modification of the wing made by the owner.

These are not in the once in a lifetime rare, but they are pretty scarce.

Patrick

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  • haltom.jpg

Edited by pfrost, 31 July 2008 - 04:19 PM.


#2 pfrost

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 04:25 PM

Second, here is a very nice set of bullion wings that I think may be English made. In fact, a couple of very similar wings are illustrated in the Morris book. I counted about 6-7 different types of bullion thread used in this wing. It is rather large (about 3.5 inches). you cant see it here, but from the side, the shield is padded and sticks up almost an inch from the wing. Later, I will try to get some side on photos.

I got this one because I think it is one of the nicest bullion wings I have ever seen.

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  • bullion1.jpg


#3 pfrost

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 04:27 PM

Here is a closeup of the shield. I can count in the shield alone about 5 types of bullion thread! Some serious SERIOUS workmanship went into this baby.

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  • bullion2.jpg


#4 Belleauwood

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 05:31 PM

Second, here is a very nice set of bullion wings that I think may be English made. In fact, a couple of very similar wings are illustrated in the Morris book. I counted about 6-7 different types of bullion thread used in this wing. It is rather large (about 3.5 inches). you cant see it here, but from the side, the shield is padded and sticks up almost an inch from the wing. Later, I will try to get some side on photos.

I got this one because I think it is one of the nicest bullion wings I have ever seen.


I posted several photos of the wings on my identified aviation groups some time in the recent past. There is a photo of one of my pilots that flew with a Britsh Squadron and was shot down and taken prisoner. The wings a very similar to yours. Your English Made is most likely correct as he was breveted with the British.

Great Wings - Can I see the back of the Halthom's? - DJ

#5 pfrost

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 06:12 PM

Hi DJ,

I saw your beautiful wings and was going to post but didnt want to steal you thunder....as if I could with that fantastic collection of items.

The two wings are very similar and I suspect they were made either by the same individual or at the very least the same company. Mine has a kind of brownish canvas backing like you see on some early RAF/RFC wings.

Here is the back of the Halthom wing. I have seen these with the screwback posts, but these have a nice vintage pinback. I dont know if they were made that way, or a modification made later, but the pin has been on there a long time. You can see the type of construction with the wings and then the shield added on the "bridge" region between the wings.

On the scan, you cant really get a good idea of the detail in the feathering, but I assure you it is there.

P

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  • halthomBack.jpg


#6 cwnorma

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 08:32 PM

Patrick,

Remember back in March when you said you hated me? Well it is my turn to return the favor! :P

Great wings!

Congratulations.

Chris

#7 pfrost

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 09:59 PM

Here is another bullion wing. This is the military aviator (MA) wing (as opposed to the much more common reserve (RMA) and junior military aviator wings). The pictures don't really show how nice this wing is on the uniform. Very fine bullion work.

I think this is a very very rare wing, as their were not many military aviators. Originally, the full size wings were intended for the MA and the 1/2 wings for the Junior and RMA pilots. That changed sometime in 1917 or so, and the RMA took the full size wings, the MA added a star over the wing and the observers took the 1/2 wings as their badges.

Basically to become a military aviator, it was intended for pilots with at least 3 years experience or significant aviation expertise to have this wing, but by 1919, the requirements for wings changed again.

This wing is nicely sewn on a uniform and while isnt as padded as my other WWI bullion wing, it still has a very nice 3D feel to it as I tried to show.

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  • bullion3.jpg


#8 pfrost

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 10:03 PM

here is a side on view.

No idea of who owned this wing, but after having fussed with it for some time, I think it is good. But, that is the problem with bullion wings, you kind of have to decide http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif or http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbdown.gif and then live with it as you see fit.

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  • bullion2.jpg


#9 Brian Keith

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 04:47 AM

Nice Wings!
I enjoyed seeing them.
BKW

#10 KurtA

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 12:29 PM

Here is another bullion wing. This is the military aviator (MA) wing (as opposed to the much more common reserve (RMA) and junior military aviator wings). The pictures don't really show how nice this wing is on the uniform. Very fine bullion work.

I think this is a very very rare wing, as their were not many military aviators. Originally, the full size wings were intended for the MA and the 1/2 wings for the Junior and RMA pilots. That changed sometime in 1917 or so, and the RMA took the full size wings, the MA added a star over the wing and the observers took the 1/2 wings as their badges.

Basically to become a military aviator, it was intended for pilots with at least 3 years experience or significant aviation expertise to have this wing, but by 1919, the requirements for wings changed again.

This wing is nicely sewn on a uniform and while isnt as padded as my other WWI bullion wing, it still has a very nice 3D feel to it as I tried to show.

Patrick-
I like the construction and the unique style of thin upswept wings this badge has. The fake badges tend to have the more "conventional" style of wings. Looks good to me!
Kurt

#11 pfrost

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 01:06 PM

Patrick-
I like the construction and the unique style of thin upswept wings this badge has. The fake badges tend to have the more "conventional" style of wings. Looks good to me!
Kurt


Thanks Kurt,

This wing is actually worth some serious discussion because it is such a rare wing.

First the pros:
The scan really doesnt give a good impression of these wings, but the bullion work is very "tight", the toning to the bullion thread is about what one would expect, and the general "look and feel" of the wings looks like it has been on the coat for a long time. Also, the wings were sewn on the jacket under the lining and the lining was then put back in place likely at the time of the purchase, as you can not tell where the seams were undone. So, basically you have a very well done wing that looks like it has the proper age and wear that was professionally added to the jacket. Also, perhaps one of the most advanced wing collector out there has a similar wing in his collection. Also, I have yet to see what I consider a fake MA wing done to this level of detail.

Now the cons:
On the other hand, the rank on the jacket is for a LT, but in fact, the guy should have been at least a Capt. to warrent a Military Aviator wing. It was possible that a person of lower rank (with less than the 3 years of experience) would have been made a Military Aviator IF he had significant aeronautical experience or flight expertise, such as a person with extensive civilian aviation training or aeronautical engineering. According to my reading, the Junior and RMA were the guys being trained to go out and fly combat while the MA were for more advanced pilots involved in training, administration and development of the Air Corps.

On the other hand, the jacket does have a Boston-maker tag, suggesting that the original owner may have been with MIT or Yale, two early sites of American military aviation engineering and training. Interestingly, the rank insignia are also bullion and they closely match the wing (both in aging, toning, style of bullion and thread that was used to attach the wing). The rank insignia and the wings look to have been from the same source and put on the jacket at the same time.

So, this is a very rare wing that seems right in all respects to an american made bit of bullion. It seems to have been on a uniform for a very long time (and perhaps be original for this uniform when it was tailored) for a guy who was located in the Boston area at some point, but who never made it overseas and was too low in rank to have normally been rated as a military aviator. Just speculating, I think that this guy may have been an instructor or aeonautical engineer at one of the Schools or bases in the Boston area and thus was awarded the MA wing. Of course, the other analysis is that this is all a fake put-together.

Bottom line, the more I look at the wing and compare it with other WWI vintage bullion wings, the more I like it in my collection. To be honest, I think I paid a pretty good price for it, and am more than happy with it one way or the other.

Patrick

#12 trenchbuff

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 01:34 PM

Great Posting! Love seeing the WWI wings.

#13 Belleauwood

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 02:54 PM

Thanks Kurt,

This wing is actually worth some serious discussion because it is such a rare wing.

First the pros:
The scan really doesnt give a good impression of these wings, but the bullion work is very "tight", the toning to the bullion thread is about what one would expect, and the general "look and feel" of the wings looks like it has been on the coat for a long time. Also, the wings were sewn on the jacket under the lining and the lining was then put back in place likely at the time of the purchase, as you can not tell where the seams were undone. So, basically you have a very well done wing that looks like it has the proper age and wear that was professionally added to the jacket. Also, perhaps one of the most advanced wing collector out there has a similar wing in his collection. Also, I have yet to see what I consider a fake MA wing done to this level of detail.

Now the cons:
On the other hand, the rank on the jacket is for a LT, but in fact, the guy should have been at least a Capt. to warrent a Military Aviator wing. It was possible that a person of lower rank (with less than the 3 years of experience) would have been made a Military Aviator IF he had significant aeronautical experience or flight expertise, such as a person with extensive civilian aviation training or aeronautical engineering. According to my reading, the Junior and RMA were the guys being trained to go out and fly combat while the MA were for more advanced pilots involved in training, administration and development of the Air Corps.

On the other hand, the jacket does have a Boston-maker tag, suggesting that the original owner may have been with MIT or Yale, two early sites of American military aviation engineering and training. Interestingly, the rank insignia are also bullion and they closely match the wing (both in aging, toning, style of bullion and thread that was used to attach the wing). The rank insignia and the wings look to have been from the same source and put on the jacket at the same time.

So, this is a very rare wing that seems right in all respects to an american made bit of bullion. It seems to have been on a uniform for a very long time (and perhaps be original for this uniform when it was tailored) for a guy who was located in the Boston area at some point, but who never made it overseas and was too low in rank to have normally been rated as a military aviator. Just speculating, I think that this guy may have been an instructor or aeonautical engineer at one of the Schools or bases in the Boston area and thus was awarded the MA wing. Of course, the other analysis is that this is all a fake put-together.

Bottom line, the more I look at the wing and compare it with other WWI vintage bullion wings, the more I like it in my collection. To be honest, I think I paid a pretty good price for it, and am more than happy with it one way or the other.

Patrick



#14 Belleauwood

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 03:33 PM

Patrick,

I have in my collection the uniform of Capt. Maurice Smith, Commanding Officer, 5th Balloon Co. AEF. The uniform's tailor label is named to him as a Lt. and dated 1917. Smith commanded his Co. from its' inception in 1917 as a Lt. to the demobilization of the unit as a Captain at wars end. I would not discount that your guy could have been overseas as a MA or in the very least a senior pilot as a Lt.. In my humble opinion, the wing is 100% real and would be OK in my collection on a Lt's. uniform. The bullion rank insignia is more commonly seen on overseas pilot uniforms (at least what I've seen and own) than I see on stateside uniforms. I have a Majors uniform that is fully Id'ed (bullion rank) and was an instructor of Aerobatics at Issodoun, France and has a beautiful wing but is not wearing a MA or command pilot's wing. I have a studio photograph of him in the very uniform In my collection.

Well, after confirming that I really know very little about what I'm talking about in the above diatribe, I think we try to split hairs too often. The nomenclature that was used to describe our aviators of this period changed too frequently to get bogged down in it (at least for me) . At the end of the day, we have to like what we have without having to explain it to our peers. Next time you find another Lt's uniform with a wing as nice as the one we've been discussing, send it on over to me!!

Best, Dennis

#15 cwnorma

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 11:25 AM

Pat,

Ok, you said four...

I count three so far; quit holding out!

Thanks for sharing though...

Chris

#16 IMPERIAL QUEST

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 11:40 AM

Patrick:

Bottom line, the more I look at the wing and compare it with other WWI vintage bullion wings, the more I like it in my collection. To be honest, I think I paid a pretty good price for it, and am more than happy with it one way or the other.



Dennis:

At the end of the day, we have to like what we have without having to explain it to our peers.


The educated outlook of two very experienced and knowledgeable collectors IMHO. This is the frame of mind that I have only recently learned to acquire (after 20+ years of collecting). I think a lot of collectors get so wrapped up in what others think, and obsessed with proving an item is real to everyone else, that they forget to even think about what their own gut and opinions tell them. If the person in possession of the item is happy based on their own knowledge...what else matters?


BTW, these are some incredibly beautiful wings. The craftsmanship is wonderful.

Edited by IMPERIAL QUEST, 02 August 2008 - 11:41 AM.


#17 pfrost

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 12:27 PM

Ok Chris,

Here we go with wing No4. I was a bit hesitant to post this because in the past, discussion of this type of wing always lead to a few people insisting that it is fake.

But, having spent not some small amount of time researching and comparing this wing with others and having shown it to not a few "experts" who I feel have the ability AND collection to back up their opinions, I am 100% certain that it is good.

Here is the back story. About two years ago, I picked up a pretty beat up WWI Dallas style wing. It was missing the pin and some of the covering cloth. At the time, I was first hesitant that it was real, but the more I looked, the more I became convinced. Then, as I said, I ran the wing past a few expert collectors, and eventually decided it was good (more on that in the next post). At the time, I was concerned that this wing was badly damaged and hoped to find one in better condition. Also, I was counting on the fact that some people may feel this wing was bad, and if one showed up on ebay, I could get a sleeper.

About 6 months ago, a nice wing showed up on ebay just like mine, but it went for pretty big money, and was much more than I wanted to spend. A few weeks ago, another wing showed up again on ebay, and I managed to get it at a fraction of that price.

The top scan is of the original wing I bought at the flea for almost nothing, the bottom wing is its brother that I just got.

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  • newdallas1.jpg


#18 pfrost

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 12:34 PM

Here is the back. As you can see, the top wing was pretty beat up, while the bottom wing is in "better" shape.

So, I had achieved one of my goals to find a better condition wing for my collection.

This is an interesting point that Mr I Quest raised. Sometimes, you have to decide to buy the ITEM not the opinion of the great unwashed masses. While I respect the opinion of someone like Gary Caine who has frequently challenged these wings as vintage to WWI, I have the buggers in my hand and they fill all my requirements for a WWI wing.

1) They are die struck, not cast.
2) They have great detail, superior workmanship, and artistic merit that appeals to me.
3) They have all the proper hardware and material for a vintage Dallas style wing.

More on that next.

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  • backdallas.jpg


#19 pfrost

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 12:54 PM

I dont mind a critical analysis of these wings (we have had this analysis previously in other threads).

First, the point that some critics would raise about these wings is that the small beads that go along the top do not extend beyond the edge of the wing tip.

To address this I have put together a small study of 4 UNIQUE types of Dallas wings (Panel A-D) and examples of the known fakes to these Dallas style wings (Panel E). I have primarily focused on the wings tips of these wings, but similar analysis could be done with the shields.

First, if you look at each of the first 4 wings, the patterns and shape are all unique. My wing on top (panel A ), a multi-feather shouldered classic Dallas style observer 1/2 wing and pilot wing (panel B ), the 3-feather shoulder style Dallas pilot wing (panel C ), and a 4th Dallas style wing attributed to Dunham (via Campbell's book) (panel D ).

In these 4 cases, ONLY B and C have the beads extending beyond the tip of the wing. Since these wings are all die struck, they were made from different dies. It should also be pointed out that the beading on the top 3 wings is very fine and regular. Each bead is about the same size, shape and equidistance from the next bead. Most importantly, clearly all 4 of these wings are uniquely different and while they share the "Dallas style construction" they are NOT the same wings. So you have to analyze each based on its OWN merits.

THe bottom panel E shows 2 examples of the known Dallas style wings (sometimes I hear it is a House of Swords fake). These wings are clearly based on the 3 wing pattern in panel C and are totally different from the style of Pattern A, B, and D. The fakes seem to have been made by making a cast of wing C and then using this to make the fakes. But the detail in the feathering, the quality of the beading and the fact that the beading does NOT extend past the tip, are all diagnostic of this fake wing. In fact, there are a number of other differences between the fakes and the real things and those who have actually been lucky to handle both at the same time will be quick to see how these differences are obvious.

So that being said, I think that almost all fake Dallas wings lack the detail and extension in the beads, BUT not all Dallas style wings that lack the extension in the beads are fake.

I am sure this will ignite more discussion, but I would urge that some sort of information will come to light other than "I heard that this person told that person that this was rumored to have been a fake made by that guy sometime ago".

Patrick

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  • Dallaswingstudy.jpg

Edited by pfrost, 02 August 2008 - 12:58 PM.


#20 pfrost

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 01:11 PM

The fun just seems to keep on rolling. Added 2 new wings this weekend.

Another nice bullion pilot wing and another very rare wing, a military aeronaut (ie balloon pilot) wing.

First, the bullion pilot wing. Very nicely toned with a highly padded shield.

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  • bullionwings2.jpg


#21 pfrost

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 01:14 PM

The balloon wing is also another rare wing, you do see them very often. Interestingly, this one has been highlighted with brown thread as well as the bullion.

Man, no one stand next to me, 'cause after adding 6 WWI wings to the collection, I know I am due for a lightening strike!

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  • balloonist.jpg


#22 IMPERIAL QUEST

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 06:38 PM

Man, no one stand next to me, 'cause after adding 6 WWI wings to the collection, I know I am due for a lightening strike!


Patrick, I don't want to see you get hurt. Quick, go out and buy lucky number 7 to drive away the impending doom...and then post it here please for us all to enjoy. :unsure: :D

#23 Gary Cain

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 08:00 PM

Some nice wings you have picked up there Patrick. You know my opinion on the Dallas wing allready, but the new additions are real corkers!

Gary

#24 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 03:59 AM

The balloon wing is also another rare wing, you do see them very often. Interestingly, this one has been highlighted with brown thread as well as the bullion.

Man, no one stand next to me, 'cause after adding 6 WWI wings to the collection, I know I am due for a lightening strike!


Patrick, I just want to get some of that karma that surrounds you... that is a great find and a beautiful bullion wing!

#25 pfrost

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 03:13 PM

Here is a new one. Pretty sure this is a French-made wings (as it was on a French made uniform with French made insignia).

A tiny bit of damage to the bullion and the "US". What I find neat is that some of the bullion has really tarnished to a nice dark (almost blue) collor that is really obvious in the light. It gives the wing a nice two-toned look.

Patrick

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  • AC2.jpg



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