Fellow collectors, I am on a quest to determine when GEMSCO used the hallmark GEMSCO AGO G2 on their insignia. We have all seen these markings on numerous badges. Curiously I have never seen just G2 used by itself which should be correct for GEMSCO in the 1960-1965 timeframe. Also GEMSCO used G22 after 1965 and examples of that marking are numerous. G2 always seems to be proceeded by GEMSCO AGO. Some have placed this marking on badges that date to the early 1950’s.
The name GEMSCO goes back to the 19th Century originally located in New York.
GEMSCO was an abbreviation for General Embroidery & Military Supply Company . Their hallmark was a wreath surrounding the name, GEMSCO. As far as I can tell that is the earliest hallmark for this company. That symbol continued to be used on papers and cards up until the time they went out of business. Other hallmarks used were GEMSCO N.Y. and GEMSCO STERLING. These are seen on WWII period insignia. Sometime after WWII GEMSCO began using GEMSCO AGO G2 as their hallmark on some insignia. Oddly GEMSCO AGO G2 and STERLING are rarely seen together on the same badge. I have only seen one example and that is on a Navy Parachute Rigger badge.
I have two questions:
- What does AGO mean? Some have suggested Army General Order. Another one is Adjutant General’s Office. And lastly perhaps a combination of business mergers like Amico, GEMSCO and Orber? The last is just a guess. So what does AGO really stand for?
- When was the hallmark GEMSCO AGO G2 used? It looks to me that it was well before 1960 and could have been used as far back as the early 1950’s.
GEMSCO was a prolific manufacturer of insignia. So some of you collectors out there may be able to shed some light on this issue.