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opinion on ww1 wings

Started by blind pew , Feb 17 2018 06:56 PM

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#1 blind pew

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 06:56 PM

Thoughts on these wings? They are on ebay. Do they appear cast to you? Any help appreciated.

 

Eisenstadt is the presumed maker. I can find an observer badge of this maker in the Pandis flight badges book. That badge does not have the vertical strikes on the "US".

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Edited by blind pew, 17 February 2018 - 07:10 PM.


#2 doyler

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 07:24 PM

Look to be copy not period in my thinking.



#3 Jay V

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 08:17 PM

Doyer,i myself don't have any ww1 wings,and i'm interested in learning why this maybe a copy,so can you post a photo of a real one or point out the questionable points? Thanks  Jay



#4 Patchcollector

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 08:53 PM

I must say,these don't look too bad to me.I'm seeing what I think looks like some hand chasing and filework,but I'm not experienced with these WW1 pieces,so I'll defer to the more seasoned Wing collectors.Would be nice to see a full view of the back.



#5 doyler

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 10:20 PM

Doyer,i myself don't have any ww1 wings,and i'm interested in learning why this maybe a copy,so can you post a photo of a real one or point out the questionable points? Thanks  Jay

it looks poorly done from others posted on forum.I don't own any as the ones I have been abe to see at shows here and in shops are copies done by a guy who sets up at SOS.Not saying this is one of his but I see pits or indents on the upper wing



#6 blind pew

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 07:10 AM

it looks poorly done from others posted on forum.I don't own any as the ones I have been abe to see at shows here and in shops are copies done by a guy who sets up at SOS.Not saying this is one of his but I see pits or indents on the upper wing

Thanks for the evaluation!

 

It certainly looks different from the only example I can find in books (half wing for an observer). I will pass then. Thanks again!



#7 Steve L

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 08:37 AM

The wide rope style "US" is typically seen on this and another full size Eisenstadt pattern, and the thinner smooth style "US" on the observer and Eisenstadt's multi piece 'Dallas' style wings. Their small wings can be found wearing either style "US"; those are just my general observations and come with the acknowledgment of the possibility of multiple variations. Per the seller, this wing is being sold 'as is' with a 'no return' policy, so 'caveat emptor.'



#8 pfrost

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 05:07 PM

They could be ok, but it's very hard to tell with the pictures (from what I can see, they aren't castings).  Probably made by Eisenstadt (or Sweeny, they seem to have shared inventory), these are frequently called mustache wings.  They would have been hand chased and carved on silver planchet.  I'm not sure they were actually die struck.



#9 blind pew

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 06:38 PM

They could be ok, but it's very hard to tell with the pictures (from what I can see, they aren't castings).  Probably made by Eisenstadt (or Sweeny, they seem to have shared inventory), these are frequently called mustache wings.  They would have been hand chased and carved on silver planchet.  I'm not sure they were actually die struck.

 

 

So do you think that they are period wings? What further pics, if needed, would you need to make a determination?

 

Thanks!



#10 pfrost

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 10:24 PM

Maybe a few pics in sunlight. The whole back. A number of close ups of the front. It's just hard to say from what is shown. Sometimes you can get good pics. Some times you can't.

#11 pfrost

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 10:26 PM

They could be good. I don't see any obvious things that are bad. But not seeing isn't the same not being there.

#12 blind pew

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 06:28 PM

They could be good. I don't see any obvious things that are bad. But not seeing isn't the same not being there.

Seems kind of equivocal. But I 100% guarantee you that your opinon is far better than any judgement I could make on my own. 

 

I have been looking at other examples of the Eisenstadt wings and they are "all over the map" as far as the shape of the wings and shield. The only unifying theme is the 'chiseled" look of the feathers on the wing and the file chasing appearance. They all look as though they were intentionally "stylized" feathers. Some were maker marked, some were not. Some had "sterling"- some did not. All had a similar catch system. 

 

I sent the photos to Ron Burkley as well for a look. It will be interesting to hear his opinion. 


Edited by blind pew, 19 February 2018 - 06:37 PM.


#13 mghcal

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 07:25 PM

blind pew, with these type of jeweler made ww1 wings it's tough. If they're not die struck they're not exactly the same as other known authentic examples. That means they can be faked with a lot better chance of passing as an authentic wing. To be clear I'm not familiar with this style of wing at all apart from the examples shared on the forum and Schwartz's site.

 

  My concerns are the light sterling hallmark which to me should be crisper. The other concern is the weird scratches that are actually underneath the US meaning that whoever finished this wing did so with damage already done to the shield. When I think of the early 1900s jewelers I think quality, why would a craftsman who had pride in his work sell a wing that had damage to the shield?

 

 Again, I haven't looked at any other examples recently and was just hoping to hear others opinions on the shield damage. It could be a perfectly authentic wing? My luck with ww1 era wings isn't great as I recently bought an expensive fake and thanks to the help of more experienced forum members telling me it wasn't good I was able to get my money back. This "mustache" wing having no return policy would make me a bit nervous. In the end you will be taking a leap of faith on it and may never get a consensus on whether it's jeweler made in 1918 or made by one of the scoundrels in his garage last year. That's just the nature of collecting ww1 wings that don't have provenance and aren't die struck.



#14 pfrost

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 09:56 AM

I can only comment on what I see.  But first, I usually ask myself is this likely a "museum copy collectable" made by HeWhoShallNotBeNamed?  In this case, I don't think that is the case.

Second, is it made the way that I would expect, but the devil is in the details.  If I had to guess, I would say it is ok.  But that is just based on what I can see.  I certainly wouldn't drop significant amount of $$$ on something that I couldn't return. 

 

But MG raises some valid points as well. 



#15 KurtA

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 04:02 PM

The seller appears to be knowledgeable about wings. Given that, the wording in his description sends up a big red flag for me.  Far too crafty and slick - nibbles around the edges of full disclosure. 

He did list the wing in the "original" category, but he does not specifically state that it is "original"anywhere in the listing.  He does state that it is in "original untouched condition." But that does not mean it's "original"- just means it hasn't been altered since being manufactured (whenever that may have been - 1995?).  He also states "all aspects of the wing look to be accurate for this era of wing."   Then he instructs you to study, ask questions and  "do your homework"  as there are no returns.

 

 

To me, he's clearly looking to unload what he knows to be a questionable wing  (and possibly knows it to be fake) for the price of an original. He lulls the prospective buyer into believing it is original by subtly implying originality and using, what he thinks is, air tight language to preclude a return.  

 

 

https://www.ebay.com...=p2047675.l2557



#16 Patchcollector

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Posted 20 February 2018 - 05:10 PM

It's been relisted,and the seller has "WW1" all over the description:

 

Original WW1 Mustache Wing Eisenstadt Style

 

Condition:Used
“Exquisite and beautiful WW1 wing.”

 

Exquisite and beautiful WW1 mustache wing. This World War 1 wing is in the Eisenstadt style and classically called a "mustache wing". Measures approximately 3 1/8" in width and 1/2" in height. Marked "Sterling" and has gold US on center shield. All aspects (clasp, pin, hinge, etc.) look to be accurate for this era of wing. I've tried to include as many photos as possible to show all details (including pin, clasp and hinge). If you want something more specific, just let me know.

 

 

It's also listed in the " Collectibles>Militaria>WW I (1914-18)>Original Period Items>United States>Medals, Pins & Ribbons" category.

 

He also has some new photos,including one showing the full back view.

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#17 blind pew

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 06:40 AM

It's been relisted,and the seller has "WW1" all over the description:

 

Original WW1 Mustache Wing Eisenstadt Style

 

Condition:Used
“Exquisite and beautiful WW1 wing.”

 

Exquisite and beautiful WW1 mustache wing. This World War 1 wing is in the Eisenstadt style and classically called a "mustache wing". Measures approximately 3 1/8" in width and 1/2" in height. Marked "Sterling" and has gold US on center shield. All aspects (clasp, pin, hinge, etc.) look to be accurate for this era of wing. I've tried to include as many photos as possible to show all details (including pin, clasp and hinge). If you want something more specific, just let me know.

 

 

It's also listed in the " Collectibles>Militaria>WW I (1914-18)>Original Period Items>United States>Medals, Pins & Ribbons" category.

 

He also has some new photos,including one showing the full back view.

I ran them by Ron Burkley (Flying Tigers Antiques) who has handled many Eisenstadt wings. He says that they are good. I have bought things from him and he is nice enough to take a look at some items for me occasionally. Of course, opinions are just that, not facts; however, I really value Ron's opinion. 



#18 Steve L

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 07:53 AM

I also have been doing business with Ron for years, and he has a longstanding reputation earned through his shared passion and knowledge within but certainly not limited to the wing collecting community. If Ron gave this wing his approval that's great, and I too thought it might 'pass' albeit, imho the somewhat sloppy workmanship. This really doesn't matter to me because this is a high dollar item that the seller does not stand behind with a return policy...no thanks, don't need a wing that way. 



#19 KurtA

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 02:38 PM

I've never cared for metal WW1 wings where the U.S. letters weren't perfect. The S is noticably larger than the U on this one.  Perhaps it's ok with this hand-finished wing, but I'll stick with textbook die struck wings that I find "in the wild."  Found 3 in many decades of hunting, but even though by applying my standards, I'll never have a large collection of WW1 wings, I don't have to worry about what I have bought. 

When I see the high quality  perfect fakes that are being made of German medals, I just don't trust high dollar US militaria anymore that doesn't have provenance or identically match other examples that do.  It's not just the German stuff being faked....



#20 LtDan

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 06:56 AM

I recently saw these similar wings at auction.   The auction company listed them as "Sweetheart" wings but they are full size.  Their description is as follows:
"Very nice, finely-detailed pair of American pilots' "sweetheart" wings, 3 1/4" wide and in sterling silver, not often seen of this quality."   They also state "shows every sign of being die-struck".

 

Any thoughts/opinions regarding these wings would be appreciated.

Thanks.

 

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#21 pfrost

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 07:54 AM

Really hard to say without better photos.  I liked the one that started this thread, and I see nothing obviously "heart burn-inducing" in this badge either. 

The devil is in the details, as these were hand made and should show a fair amount of skill.



#22 Patchcollector

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 10:56 AM

Maybe it's the images,but in comparing the OP one with this Wing I'm seeing differences,which in and of itself isn't earth shattering news considering the amount of hand work with these pieces.What I noticed is what appears to be a lack of file marks around the feather areas.Could be just a closer detail image is needed,or perhaps the result of heavy polishing?But getting beyond that difference I also see many shared traits with the OP one so I like this one too.

I really think this unusual "handlebar moustache" pattern is quite handsome. :)



#23 LtDan

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 06:34 PM

Maybe it's the images,but in comparing the OP one with this Wing I'm seeing differences,which in and of itself isn't earth shattering news considering the amount of hand work with these pieces.What I noticed is what appears to be a lack of file marks around the feather areas.Could be just a closer detail image is needed,or perhaps the result of heavy polishing?But getting beyond that difference I also see many shared traits with the OP one so I like this one too.

I really think this unusual "handlebar moustache" pattern is quite handsome. :)

Thanks Pfrost & Patchcollector for your observations/comments.    I don't have any more photos but I did try to zoom in a little on the wing, hoping it might pick up some file marks.  I think I may see some on the top of the wing and some light marks among the feathers......maybe ??

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#24 cwnorma

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 04:25 PM

Dan,

 

With respect to the wing at the very top of this thread, I noted in a different thread (referring to this style wing):

 

...the recent mustache wing discussed here on the forum.  It is a fence-sitter.  That is to say that it has good points and, if not actually bad aspects, points that might give some collectors pause.

 

One thing I always try to stress to new collectors is the asset-like nature of collectibles.  If you are looking for an investment, look elsewhere; the collectibles marketplace is far too unpredictable--frankly, there are much better investments.

 

Collectibles, on the other hand, are a pretty sound asset.  As such, collectors should always try to de-link their emotions from the hobby [hard, I know!] and keep a thought to the eventual liquidity of the asset.  That is; how quickly, if required, can the item be turned back into cash--at the same value?  Fence-sitters, may be just as real as their slam-dunk counterparts, but because they have lower demand,  supply and demand laws kick in and they end up being less liquid; harder to quickly turn into cash--unless sold at a discount price.

 

Much of that also applies to the wing you asked about.  Looking at the auction results, The Dallas wing, at the same auction, sold for about normal market value (considering the missing leather back piece, additional ancillary material, and accounting for the 28% commission) so some knowledgeable collectors were apparently watching the various lots.  The results for this particular wing could thus be interpreted as instructive.  However, I happen to believe that the purchaser got a pretty good bargain.  Like Patrick, I feel that this is likely a period wing, but I also believe it to fall in the category of; "fence sitter."

 

The  auctioneer's comments of: "it shows every sign of being die struck..." notwithstanding (its not), the construction techniques (cut silver sheet and hammered details) and findings are generally representative of what could be expected to be found on a WW1 era wing of this style.  Stylistically, the badge does exhibit certain design elements that put it squarely at the tail end of the Art Nouveau (pre Art Deco) period--also to be expected.  However, where this particular badge loses points is in the skill of its execution.

 

Patrick noted that these (any WW1 wings, really) should show; "a certain amount of skill."  I concur!

 

The artists plying their trade in the jewelry business after the turn of the last century had normally apprenticed for a decade or more in pursuit of their trades.  The almost crude workmanship of this badge is not generally what one would expect to see from such craftsmen.  To paraphrase a question often asked by Duncan Campbell; when they could easily, and inexpensively, buy this:

 

Dallas BBB 002 obv.jpg

 

does the badge in question measure up?  To me, in the case of these two very similar moustache-badges, the workmanship is just crude enough to give me pause.  Would a WW1 pilot spend a significant portion of his monthly salary on this wing?

 

If you go to a "Dollars now, versus Dollars then" calculator on the web, you can approximate that some of these silver pilot wings cost a 2nd Lieutenant in 1918 the equivalent of about $200 in 2018 money.  So following Duncan's line of reasoning; "Does this badge measure up?"  For this one, its a tough call.  Were these semi-crude, mustache-badges made to be a cheaper option to the more expensive wings made by jewelers such as Eisenstadt or Sweeney?  We'll likely never confidently know the answer to that question.

 

So, like Patrick, I have some comfort that this happens to be a period badge...  Or, perhaps, in my assessment, the positives slightly outweigh the negatives.  It is not a slam dunk--by any means.  There is just enough going for it though to lead me to that conclusion.  But I also think that its status as a "fence sitter" impacted the price that it sold for and, importantly, will sell for--at some future date.

 

Chris

 

 

 



#25 LtDan

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:04 AM

Thanks Chris.  I appreciate your comments and information.   I did bid on those wings and happened to win them......so I feel a little better knowing that I may not have paid too much.  I certainly did not want to pay too much and felt I was  cautious in my bidding.  After reading what I could find on these wings, I was still uncertain.  I guess seeing an actual set pictured in Terry's book and confirmation from several forum members that these appear to be period wings......I decided to bid.   I recently acquired a set of BB&B Dallas Wings.....otherwise I may have bid on the Dallas wings in this auction.   I understand what you mean by "fence-sitter" ......I think without provenance these wings may always have those "pro-con" aspects.  I just liked them enough that I thought I'd take a chance as I build my collection.  

Also......I was thinking that since they were identified as "sweetheart" wings......they may have been overlooked by some collectors.   I'll take some better photos to post once I receive them.  

Thank you for your comments and thoughts on these wings.

Dan


Edited by LtDan, 19 April 2018 - 08:15 AM.



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