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True JR Gaunt Bombardier Wing


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#1 mtnman

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 07:48 PM

I want to present this wing to you this evening US military aviation wing collecting community, because this area of collecting has taken a huge hit
with the reproductions that were produced over the years. This is a named JR Gaunt bombardier wing which I have cleaned over the course
of 2 days because of the residue extant on the wing surface. There was a brown, black as well as a bronze-ish tan coating which pervaded
this wing's surface but perseverance and a gentle hand removed the layers of grit and revealed a beautiful wing which in certain places
has lost portions of its silver plating but for the most part it is in place. As I have heard over the years, the layers of tarnish
generally defined, act as a protective layer as well as the potential destructive characteristics as well.

I want you to know that in general, you will find JR Gaunt wings at 3 3/16 as well as Ludlow. I have handled several Firmin wings over the years
but have not taken consistent measurements over multiple wings so I must ask that those of you who have named Firmin wings, please contribute the
length of the wing. Please notice where the Maker's Mark sits in the upper half of the shield roundel instead of in the very center where most of
the fakes set the JR Gaunt maker Mark. These are the wings of a first Lieut. from the 8th Air Force was a bombardier beginning in 1944 and flew til the end of the war.

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  • IMG_1849_tn.jpg


#2 mtnman

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 07:49 PM

Another shot of the front

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Edited by mtnman, 22 April 2016 - 07:52 PM.


#3 mtnman

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 07:49 PM

Side angle

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#4 mtnman

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 07:55 PM

Rear shot and please notice the aiming target so that the Maker's Mark can be set exactly as desired it is a small squiggly U shape with a tale
just beside the L in London to the left and above the pin catch and beside the pin hinge. You will not see these on the fakes and the re-strikes.

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#5 mtnman

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 07:56 PM

Better shot of the centering Mark beside the L in London and please take notice of the pin catch, you will not find this exacting squared off perfect
U shape pin catch in the restrikes

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Edited by mtnman, 22 April 2016 - 07:59 PM.


#6 mtnman

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 07:57 PM

Superior view

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#7 mtnman

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 08:01 PM

Upside down view of the roundel and bomb section

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#8 mtnman

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 08:05 PM

Another shot of the front close-up

Anyone add some named and precisely measured Firmin wings if you have them. These JR Gaunt and the Ludlow wings of authentic origin
which I have procured, measure at 3 3/16 with the ends of the wings sitting over the measured lines. I guess some may tend to push that to 3 1/4
but I will stick with 3 3/16.

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#9 manayunkman

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 08:13 PM

Great wing great text.

 

A wonder to behold.



#10 LuftStalg1

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Posted 23 April 2016 - 02:49 AM

A real beauty of a find!   Do you have any before pictures of what you started with?



#11 mtnman

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Posted 23 April 2016 - 02:52 PM

The only pictures from prior to 2 days of cleaning that I have are from the sales pics and I was so flustered when I received the wing
that I did not even think of taking pictures at that point. The sales pictures had absolutely no proper representation of the condition
of the wing, showing bronze-ish patches with silver covering the rest of the wing. When I received the wing it looked absolutely nothing like the sales pics.
I was a little upset at first because I thought the wing had been stripped of its silver plating totally but as I cleaned gently and diligently over the course of 2 days,
I began to discover that the brownish yellow coating on some portions and the pitch black and gray coating on other sections of the wing,
might be what they speak of when a wing comes from a home that is in a high pollution environment or a smoker's home. After I got the
thickest layer of buildup I have ever seen on a wing, off the surface of the wing, things began to be revealed as to the true condition of the wing.
First there was a brownish mostly yellow coating over the wing which I thought was the silver completely stripped but then I realized after
a little further cleaning, it began to fade and the actual silver plating come to fruition with the extra soft sponge and a very gentle touch. I am glad
I did not ask for more pictures in the wing purchase process because I am not sure I would have purchased it from what I saw when I opened
the box a couple of days ago. But as it is there was a hidden treasure beneath the layers of pollution. This wing was the most fully covered
and thickest covered insignia I have ever dealt with as a person who cleans their wings. It was a challenge and there are areas
where the silver is lost but for the vast majority of the wing surface, it turned out to be a labor of good return.

Don't be afraid to ask for extra pictures when you purchase a wing, in different lighting, you may find something very different from the first pics!

#12 tomcatter

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Posted 24 April 2016 - 04:05 AM

Wow, these wings are a real beauty! Thanks for sharing them.



#13 firefighter

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Posted 24 April 2016 - 12:33 PM

Beautiful wings. Im not a wing collector, to hard to tell real from remake, but i love them.



#14 5thwingmarty

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 11:25 AM

That is a beautiful wing, but there is one detail you have called out that I think is incorrect.  The mark just to the left of the L would not have been there as a locating indicator for the hallmark.  These wings have raised letter hallmarks which would have been part of the die used when stamping out the wings.  The hallmark is not something that would have been struck into the wing later.  I also have a J.R. Gaunt bombardier wing and it does not have the little raised u next to the L.  Other such wings shown on this forum also lack that little u.  There is a J.R. Gaunt bombardier wing on the Flying Tiger Antiques site that looks like it might have an incised hallmark, but I don't see the little u next to the L on it either.



#15 mtnman

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 12:07 PM

Excellent research and logic Marty! I was trying to give the little squiggly a potential path of meaning on the wing but if it is not repeated on other confirmed true JR gaunt wings, then it just is what it is. This bombardier came in to duty in England in 44 for the Eighth Air Force in April. I have seen little anomalies show up in the die of wing companies overtime that were very tiny changes, even cracks in the die. Maybe this was something that developed in one of the Jr gaunt dies for the base Observer wing being utilized for as a foundation for the icon roundels attached to the central escutcheon on the Observer platform wing, be it Bombardier, aircrew or Gunner Etc. I don't know if it's as complex as that or a simpler explanation but I've seen it happen.

Edited by mtnman, 25 April 2016 - 12:13 PM.


#16 5thwingmarty

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 12:43 PM

In comparing your wing with mine, I think it is clear they used more than one rear die to press them.  On my wing the J.R. Gaunt London hallmark is more centered from top to bottom, appearing more completely between the folded pins from the attached bombardier device.  The alignment marks on the wings for the pin and catch on mine also look to be a bit closer to the bottom edge of the wing than on yours.

 

I am far from an expert on these wings and would not have a Gaunt wing if a friend who is a true expert had not found one for me.  He examined the wing I bought and verified it was good so that was good enough for me.  Anyhow, here is a photo of the back of my wing:

 

 

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  • Gaunt.JPG


#17 firefighter

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 01:02 PM

Are the GAUNT wings the most faked wings?? MARTY comparing yours to MTNMAN's the maker name is much sharper on yours.



#18 mtnman

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 01:31 PM

No, firefighter, I would give the distinction of the most faked wings to Meyer and then Angus and Coote. But what you
are seeing is a difference in the actual die that the JR Gaunt wing maker used to stamp the wings, as Marty was emphasizing.
There are multiple dies that are used by wing makers typically, because something may happen to one of the dies and they need a backup
always available to the main dies utilized daily. This particular foundation wing would've probably been the most used die form to accommodate gunner, bombardier and aircrew
wings so they used multiple dies clearly. One of the things that drew me immediately to this wing, on top of the fact that it was
a named wing straight from an estate of an 8th Air Force bombardier along with his named uniform, and various other accoutrements
of his life in the 8th Air Force, was the fact that this Maker's Mark was exactly where it was. It is high compared to the restrikes of JR Gaunt
which I have held repeatedly. The sharpness of a relief Maker's Mark is not an indicator that you want to rely on for overseas wings especially
firefighter. If you relied on the sharpness of Angus & Coote Maker's Mark's for instance, you would go wrong every time and choose the fake. Also,
just FYI, if you get a JR Gaunt pilot wing, either silver plated brass or sterling silver pilot wing from the Birmingham Assayer's office as I have in my collection
or flight surgeon wing such as the one I have in a grouping, you will see a varied thickness in the actual Maker's Mark from each different die.

#19 LuftStalg1

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 01:44 PM

What I find interesting about the Angus & Coote fakes is that the hallmark is much more clear and crisp then on the originals which have a weaker/softer appearance to the hallmark.   The edges seem to be sharper and cleaner.  Basically the fakers made them too good!



#20 mtnman

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 01:47 PM

I copied one of the sales pictures to look at the back of the wing when I was considering the purchase which will give you an idea of the
condition of the wing in general but like I said earlier, the silver reflection from the flash you are seeing is TOTALLY misleading. The wing had
had grayish bronze patches like on the bomb and upper wings that was viscous almost, when some moisture was applied (I think that is what the "smoker's house" can leave)....but mostly there was a pitch black color that which reflected the flash as silver.
I could make out where the Maker's Mark was and its veracity but not much else. ALL the silver-gray that you are seeing was a grayish bronze in places but mostly
flat black.

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  • JR Gaunt bombardier pre-clean 2 BKnet.jpg


#21 firefighter

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 02:28 PM

MTNMAN & LUFTSTALG thank you for the information. Were the attached devices maker marked as well? i.e.: the bomb(bombardier), aircrew, etc..



#22 mtnman

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 02:40 PM

The only Wing that I have seen by JR gaunt which has an additional Maker's Mark on the accoutrement is the flight surgeon Wing caduceus upon the rear of the wings of the caduceus. Great question firefighter, you're coming along just fine

#23 firefighter

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 03:02 PM

The only Wing that I have seen by JR gaunt which has an additional Maker's Mark on the accoutrement is the flight surgeon Wing caduceus upon the rear of the wings of the caduceus. Great question firefighter, you're coming along just fine

 

LoL!!! You have learned well Grasshopper.  :D


Edited by firefighter, 25 April 2016 - 03:02 PM.


#24 mtnman

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 06:40 PM

I wanted to give you all another example of the die used for this observer type platform/base wing just like mine. This was a wing sold long ago when it was posted for sale on the excellent MAA site.

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  • IMG_8775.JPG


#25 mtnman

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 06:45 PM

Rear... SAME DIE...look at the height of the maker's mark. NOT centered but ABOVE CENTER AS MINE.......there is more...

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