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WWI Observer wing

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#51 pfrost

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 12:22 PM

Great wing Cliff!  I think I made a pretty good call, back on post 4 or 5!


The reason why I liked the wing, even from the first few photos, was that you could see the really fine hand engraving/chasing and that made all the difference.  If you look at other examples of that manufacturer (Eisenstadt0 you will see those characteristic patterns--probably because it was done by the same person.  Because each of these wings were handmade, the variation in shape never really bothered me that much.  But getting that quality hand work isn't likely to be easily replicated by a faker.  The link to a real person is also pretty cool.  That it turned out that the family story actually turned out to be true is even better.


The findings were a little off-putting, I agree but sometimes I think that collectors can be TOO critical of a wing.

This has been an interesting

#52 cthomas

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 06:09 PM

Cliff -
I've been combing the photo collection for a portrait to display with the Eccles wing. No luck yet...
- Chuck

#53 pfrost

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 03:14 PM

This showed up on ebay recently!  I love it when photographic proof comes into play with a wing of some discussion. I also seem to recall a naysayer of some ill repute gloating that the Great Cliff had been fooled!  Apparently not...



Attached Images

  • halfwing.jpg

#54 pfrost

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 03:18 PM




I thought Lieutenant Eccles observer half-wing was a legitimate badge for three reasons.


(1)  I am fortunate to have in my collection two U.S. observer half-wings, two full-size Bombing Military Aviator (BMA) wings. . . plus one BMA in a smaller size, and one beautiful pilot wing badge - each of which were made by the same jewelry company; M. Eisenstadt Mfg. Co., St. Louis, MO.   All six of those badges came directly from the original owners or their immediate next of kin instead of a dealer.


(2)  Both the findings on the back and the material used to make the back plate on Lieutenant Eccles badge are an exact match to those on the two observer badges made by Eisenstadt that I have.


(3)  While Lieutenant Eccles badge with its uncommon upswept wing tip may have thrown a few folks a curve ball, the design really isn't that far fetched.  Let's remember that right after the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917 a number of military advisors were sent here by England and France to help the Air Service when it first started training many of the American airmen that would be needed during the war.  Therefore, the Eisenstadt craftsman who made Lieutenant Eccles badge probably came up with the idea for its design after seeing a British observer half-wing being worn on the uniform of one of the military advisors sent here by England.


Patrick, you also have a very nice U.S. observer half-wing in your collection which was made by another jewelry firm after its designer may have also seen an English officer wearing a British observer half-wing on his uniform (see below).


Merry Christmas,




This is as good a close up as I could wrangle.  Perhaps not EXACTLY like the Eccles badge, but pretty darn close.

Attached Images

  • halfwing2.jpg
  • post-4542-0-35099700-1450397976.jpg

Edited by pfrost, 03 December 2018 - 03:19 PM.

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