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Unique WW1 Bley and Hornstein Wing


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#1 Croix de Guerre

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 07:51 PM

Hey have ya'll seen this?

EBAY #190269305700

The description - "All I can say is WOW! I've had flight wings before but none so beautiful and fine as these. This set of wings is 100% guaranteed to be an authentic WWI set. I picked them fresh from an estate this afternoon - never before offered for sale anywhere. They measure 3 5/8" long and as you can see are all hand made, right down to the last detail. Signed on the back by the jewelers "Bley & Hornstein, Chicago". They are sterling with the "US" being gold and to really set them off is the royal blue enamel backround! These are just stunning and in remarkable untouched condition as you can see. I would have to say that you would be very hard pressed to find a better example of period WWI wings offered for sale anywhere. these will be the highlight in the finest of collections. So...here they are, just in time for Christmas...offered here estate fresh with a low opening bid and NO RESERVE!!! Good luck and happy Thanksgiving!! "

What do you all think?

Reason for Edit: Changed title, Pinned -- cwnorma

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Edited by cwnorma, 02 January 2009 - 02:18 PM.


#2 John Cooper

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 08:26 PM

Interesting construction to say the least... hand made silver, rivited construction,... not my area so i will wait to hear from Cliff, Patrick, Paul, et al.

John

#3 CliffP

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 08:44 PM

http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/w00t.gif

Maybe "the-village-idiot" wore that monstrosity but no U.S. Army Air Service pilot ever did.

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#4 pfrost

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 03:05 PM

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/default/w00t.gif

Maybe "the-village-idiot" wore that monstrosity but no U.S. Army Air Service pilot ever did.


This is an interesting wing, and maybe should be discussed a bit.

First, some things not to like. The stars are wrong (should be 13, not 3)! The patina looks fake. The workmanship seems almost "over done", with all sorts of extra hand chasing and carving and what nots. The hallmark is engraved rather than stamped, and the engraving of the hallmark is not all the great, IMHO. Engraving the name of the company on the back of something that likely was not going to be seen, seems a bit of a waste of time. Actually, maybe the name isnt engraved. Hard to tell. A quick google search didnt turn up this company in Chicago, so who knows?

On the other hand, someone put a WHOLE lot of work on this thing. Rather than use a fabric or wool covering, the wing actually has enamel on the front. The enamel is not all that clear in the photos of the wing, but it looks to have the appropriate age and honest wear and tear as you would expect. The hardware is appropriate for the time period. Not only that, they riveted the wings onto the back plate, something that also seems extra extravagant for a faker.

The wing has a great deal of very fine workmanship. It is very high quality work, but unlike a previous "potential" fake wing we recently discussed (http://www.usmilitar...showtopic=28384), this workmanship does not seem to have been done by laser cutting, but rather by someone who really had some skills at engraving by hand.

Yet, on the other hand, this seems to be another totally unique and previously unseen style of wing...except for in Campbell's book, he shows an example of a Dallas-style wing (on the front cover and describes it in the text) in which the wing pieces are mounted on a silver base with black enamel. So, at least based on Campbell's description, we know that this was a process that was done at the time.

The seller says he has some history on this wing, as it came from an estate sale, so if I were so inclined to bid on this wing, I would likely check out his story.

I am still not sold either way, on this wing.

The thing is, if someone had the skill and equipment to enamel plate silver, hand carve and hand chase the wings, and do it with this type of skill, then one has to ask...why not make more, or why not make something more legitimate? Silver jewelry is very popular and if the person who made this did it recently, then why go to all the effort and time to make something that is a one shot deal and sell it for maybe a few thousand dollars. The same effort could have gone into making some legit items, and they could sell a lot of them? I once talked to a jeweler and he said with any skill a designer could make a lot of money with gold and gems at much less effort than it would take to make a small run of some faked WWI or WWII insignia. The reason most of the fakes are low endish cast or fantasy pieces is that (in general) it is easy to make a mold and churn out a dozen or so runs of something. As I said, I dont know what to think, but the amount of effort and costs needed to make this wing would seem to far outweigh the benifits of selling one on ebay.

Patrick

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Edited by pfrost, 25 November 2008 - 03:35 PM.


#5 CliffP

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 05:27 PM

Adding to this discussion:

We are led to believe that the company which reputedly made the badge was named, Bley & Hornstein, Chicago. While not wishing to say that the company never existed, they are not listed in the very extensive Keystone Jewelers’ Index for 1918 which was the national trade organization listing of the time. In addition, I don’t know of any case when a manufacture actually engraved their name or backmark on the rear of a wing badge in 1918 … and I’m seen more than a few in my lifetime.

Another caveat to consider is that the particular pin and lock fastener seen on the back of the badge can still be purchased today ... and is frequently seen of many current fakes.

The badge is also of low quality workmanship and pales in comparison to the work done by most well known, established and highly skilled craftsman of the 1918 era whose wing badges were readily available for purchase in towns nearby or directly at the Base Exchange located on most any U.S. Army Air Service training field in 1918.

Therefore, other than being a contrived design never seen before, that is about all that makes this badge unique. Yes, it may have taken a little extra effort for the faker to complete it but with some bogus wing badges now bringing in excess of $1,000.00/$1500.00 or more, the temptation to commit fraud grows stronger and stronger with each passing day; therefore, for someone so inclined, it would be worth the risk and effort to produce it.

Oh, and the seller who calls himself the-village-idiot (no comment really needed here :lol:) ... only claims the badge came from an estate. No where in the description has he implied that he actually has a history on it.

Caveat Emptor! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbdown.gif

-cp

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Edited by CliffP, 25 November 2008 - 05:43 PM.


#6 pfrost

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 10:12 AM

With all due respect....but

First, I don't have any connection or vested interest in this wing one way or the other, AT ALL.

Second, I agree, their are a couple of things that raise flags of concern about this wing.

However, this wing is actually EXQUISITE in its workmanship and detail! If this is the level of craftsmanship that someone can produce NOW, then their is no way that these same people wont be able to reproduce a vintage wing in stunning detail. Basically, if this is a fake, then fear for the hobby.

The dealer has actually posted better and clearer photos. A couple of things worth noting.

The enamel work. This is a very rare thing for a US wing. Enamel, while not impossible to do, is not something one simple does in his garage. It requires some skill and specialized equipment (like a kiln to heat and fuze the ground glass).

I can't really tell if this wing was hand carved down from a single bit of metal, die struck and then further worked and hand chased, or built up by addition of layers, like some wings, but look at the detail feathering. Even a 1st pattern Luxenberg, which is likely one of the most heavily "feathered" wings, doesn't reach this level of detail. The shoulder is higher in relief than the wings, you have 4 layers of winglets, each wing with a series of fine striations and overlapping details.

This was done by a very skilled hand, not just some guy with a bit of metal and some dremel drillbits.

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#7 pfrost

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 10:27 AM

Even the shield is highly detailed.

Sure, the stars are wrong and it looks like they used another bit of braided metal along the shield. Not exactly like the normal run of the mill wings, but in no way a reduction of the quality normally seen.

You can see the fine enamel work underlying the wing in this picture as well. Also, notice the very fine detail in the stripes (pales?) of very fine and even hand etched striations. Notice the fine bevel that has been added along the edge of the whole shield, rather than just a straight side. The workmanship is beautiful.

The question still remains, is this something that was done about 80-90 years ago or a few years ago? This took some serious time and effort to put this baby together. This was NOT some fake cruddy wing churned out by some lowlife in his basement who just wanted to turn a fast buck off of the collecting community. IMO, this wing represents many many hours of work by a master craftsman, using specialized tools and equipment. IFF this guy is making fakes, than in light of his skills, how hard would it be for him to turn out an accurate representative wing of the Eisenstad style?

For me, one of the biggest things against this wing is that is almost overdone. To me, it really lacks the subtle detail and quality of many of the WWI vintage wings I see or have owned. It is almost TOO good.

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#8 pfrost

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 06:53 PM

The bidding is sure interesting. You have two guys who have basically driven the price up to this level at this time, with almost 2 days left. One guy has only a feed back of "9". It is hard to know what type of stuff these guys are buying now that ebay has hidden the identity of the bidders. Maybe something fishy, maybe no? Hard to tell. I have heard of guys putting a big bid on these type of things early on to keep it from being sold "off auction".

Talking to some of the other collectors, I get the feeling that this wing is sort of undergoing a "wait and see" strategy, but I would not be shocked if some of the deep pocket collectors kick in at the last moment and drive this sucker into the $3000+ range. Or not, it is also hard to know who is around during the holiday weekend.

On the other hand, I wonder what type of email this guy is getting--such that he actually is complaining about it on his listing. I have heard some interesting horror stories about some wing "experts" emailing sellers trying to get the guy to stop the auction (the old "I know it is a fake, because I am an expert, but I'll do you a favor and give you 100$ so you dont embarass yourself" ploy). Sometimes, I hear it can be very aggressive and confrontational.

It ought to be fun to watch,though!

P Frost

#9 Belleauwood

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 06:53 AM

'
I'm a little reluctant to chime in here and open myself up to a barrage of critique, but I think they are good. The detail is beautiful - The rivets appear to have the same degree of aging and coloration. The fact that the enamel finish is blue / black instead of the black finish that is described in some publications is comforting. It makes no sense to me for anyone to spend this amount of time and effort to produce a fantasy piece. Three stars , or 30 stars, in my opinion, makes no difference the effort to decide if they are real or not. Most if not all of these aviators wings were privately purchased and there were tremendous amounts of creative license when it came to the interpretation of government regulations. You can see it on almost any uniform that are in collections today. It wasn't until AFTER WW1 that the branches of our armed forces started cracking down and enforcing these written regulations.

So come on guys; let me have it!!! - If wings were my thing, I would be buying these wings will everyone else debates their validity. In the end, my criteria for spending MY money for items in my collection, comes when you have to sell it. ------------- If you have to explain to the potential buyer why it's real, then it shouldn't be in my collection. ------------ No exceptions. - I like the wing - everyone has made mistakes, but I'll take the chance on this one. ----------After all it's my money.

Dennis

#10 CliffP

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 08:05 AM

http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/think.gif

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO DOING A LITTLE BIT OF GOOD SOLID RESEARCH?

While $1500.00 to $3000.00+ would not be too great a handicap for some collectors to risk ... if they truly must own the badge, there are two things that would help to better determine whether it is truly authentic:

1. Was Bley & Hornstein - Chicago a legitimate firm? The name is not among the 5400+ jewelry manufacturers and allied manufacturers listed in The Keystone Jewelers' Index for 1918; however, the firm might be listed in the 1918 Chicago City Directory or Telephone Directory. Those directories should exist somewhere and it would not be an impossible task to confirm that via a check in the Stacks Section at the Chicago Main Library. While hardly an easy task if living in other sections of the country, an inexpensive telephone call to the library Help Desk/Research Section could answer the question.

2. The seller does say he purchased the badge from a Pennsylvania estate; therefore, if it was a legitimate purchase he should not be bound by any legal restrictions to prevent him from releasing the name of that estate. The fact is that 99.9% of the 12,500+ United States Army Air Service Pilot Officers who received their commission prior to 12 December 1918 are a matter of public record; therefore, a simple telephone call to the Order of Daedailians (Society) in San Antonio, TX could confirm the name.

Good hunting!

-cp ;)

#11 Belleauwood

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 08:34 AM

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/default/think.gif

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO DOING A LITTLE BIT OF GOOD SOLID RESEARCH?

While $1500.00 to $3000.00+ would not be too great a handicap for some collectors to risk ... if they truly must own the badge, there are two things that would help to better determine whether it is truly authentic:

1. Was Bley & Hornstein - Chicago a legitimate firm? The name is not among the 5400+ jewelry manufacturers and allied manufacturers listed in The Keystone Jewelers' Index for 1918; however, the firm might be listed in the 1918 Chicago City Directory or Telephone Directory. Those directories should exist somewhere and it would not be an impossible task to confirm that via a check in the Stacks Section at the Chicago Main Library. While hardly an easy task if living in other sections of the country, an inexpensive telephone call to the library Help Desk/Research Section could answer the question.

2. The seller does say he purchased the badge from a Pennsylvania estate; therefore, if it was a legitimate purchase he should not be bound by any legal restrictions to prevent him from releasing the name of that estate. The fact is that 99.9% of the 12,500+ United States Army Air Service Pilot Officers who received their commission prior to 12 December 1918 are a matter of public record; therefore, a simple telephone call to the Order of Daedailians (Society) in San Antonio, TX could confirm the name.

Good hunting!

Cliff,

I certainly knew that I would show my lack of knowledge about aviation collectibles by interjecting my opinion about these wings on this public forum. Research into this realm is also a short coming of mine as well as others that are not so knowledgeable about early aviation. In the future, I will leave any commentary as to the authenticity of military aviation collectibles, especially in the department of "wings", to the sapient wing collectors / researchers on this fine forum.

All the Best!

Dennis

-cp ;)



#12 CliffP

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 09:22 AM

]
Cliff,

I certainly knew that I would show my lack of knowledge about aviation collectibles by interjecting my opinion about these wings on this public forum. Research into this realm is also a short coming of mine as well as others that are not so knowledgeable about early aviation. In the future, I will leave any commentary as to the authenticity of military aviation collectibles, especially in the department of "wings", to the sapient wing collectors / researchers on this fine forum.

All the Best!

Dennis


Dennis,

I found your earlier statements to be very helpful ... in that they caused me to think twice about the lack of validity for this particular badge; therefore, except as truth that there was nothing posted in my previous comments which was meant to discourage anyone, least of all you, from voicing an opinion on this unique forum. I am a new member here and only wanted to provide a few helpful hints to anyone who might be seriously interested in confirming the authenticity of this particular badge but if anything said by me should prevent anyone from expressing their opinions regardless of the subject matter in this forum then it is I who should refrain from posting any future comments. Please accept my apology.

Sincerely,

Cliff

#13 Mark

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 09:49 AM

Another angle to consider is that these could have been a one off privately commissioned artisan wings from a wealthy family. It is not uncommon for families to use one jeweler for all their jewelry needs, and if those people were good customers, ask for something special like this would not have been uncommon at all.

As for the company not being listed in an index from 1918, what about a later date? I agree that they should show up in some type of Chicago city index from 1918-1925 even if they existed for a short time.

#14 IMPERIAL QUEST

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 10:32 AM

'
I'm a little reluctant to chime in here and open myself up to a barrage of critique, but I think they are good. The detail is beautiful - The rivets appear to have the same degree of aging and coloration. The fact that the enamel finish is blue / black instead of the black finish that is described in some publications is comforting. It makes no sense to me for anyone to spend this amount of time and effort to produce a fantasy piece. Three stars , or 30 stars, in my opinion, makes no difference the effort to decide if they are real or not. Most if not all of these aviators wings were privately purchased and there were tremendous amounts of creative license when it came to the interpretation of government regulations. You can see it on almost any uniform that are in collections today. It wasn't until AFTER WW1 that the branches of our armed forces started cracking down and enforcing these written regulations.

So come on guys; let me have it!!! - If wings were my thing, I would be buying these wings will everyone else debates their validity. In the end, my criteria for spending MY money for items in my collection, comes when you have to sell it. ------------- If you have to explain to the potential buyer why it's real, then it shouldn't be in my collection. ------------ No exceptions. - I like the wing - everyone has made mistakes, but I'll take the chance on this one. ----------After all it's my money.

Dennis


Dennis,

Although my opinion on WWI wings means nothing here (but it does to me, and that is all that matters), I would take a chance on them as well if I had the funds right now. The construction, detail, and quality is superb...I believe these characteristics are often referenced as necessities for classification as a "good" wing. As far as patina, some will claim that it can be faked - well sure it can but it cannot be duplicated with absolute 100% perfection, and duplicate the age on a piece the same exact way that time does. Duncan Campbell cites several occasions in his book where he had come across wings never before seen, and he doesn't automatically dismiss them because they didn't fit comfortably into his comfort zone of collecting. If I am not mistaken, Campbell is often cited as THE source for accurate knowledge because of the fact that he started collecting wings in 1926. It never ceases to amaze me how conveniently regs are used or dismissed to advantage, according to an individuals collecting interest in a certain variant or piece. The regs clearly stated that wings were to be "embroidered" and on a BLUE background. How many WWI wings that we encounter actually have blue as a background? In the short time I have been studying them, a high percentage seem to have black as a background; I guess those are all fakes since they don't conform to that portion of the reg.

Quoting from J. Duncan Campbell in "Aviation Badges and Insignia of the United States Army 1913-1946" pg. 16:

"The total number of design variations may never be know, each year, one or two come to light that have not been seen by our generation."

Note, he did not say - when variants come to light, dismiss them as fakes because we haven't ever seen them before.


Another quote from Campbell:

In reference to a wing in his book- "Number 28 is an example of one manufacturer's effort to make a beautiful wing badge with no regard for regulations. The shield is improperly shaped, the wing outline bears no similarity to official drawings, and the stars in the shield are incised rather than embossed."

Note, he did not dismiss it as a fake.



The actual 1917 drawings of wings by Maj. Henry H. Arnold don't conform to some collectors opinions of how large the "US" should be. In the original drawings, they are very small and centered high on the shield, yet time after time, I have heard "the US isn't proportion correctly" or " the US is too big" or "the US is too small"....so the wing is "suspect". Never mind period photographs that show ill-proportioned "US" renderings. Further, the very wing that Arnold wore, had the alternate vertical bars in the shield removed with a jewelers saw before the "US" was applied - non-regulation.

Dennis, you posted a wing here not long ago with a question of originality. There were one or two replies that categorically stated that they were BAD. - why...because of the lack of detail and quality -they didn't fit the criteria of what is original from a collector's point of view. Those wings were in fact proven to be good period wings with period photographic evidence - hmmmm. There seems to be a lot of opinions that have developed over the years as to what is bad, and taken as absolute gospel simply because of word of mouth renderings that have been passed down from generation to generation like a well spun tale.

I do not see how it is possible to categorically dismiss one variant over another when WWI wings have more variants in type, size, quality and construction than most other US badges of the time. The very drawings that created these wings left so much detail out, that it is nearly impossible to automatically discount a wing because there is not really a hard, firm foundation - only general guidelines. This is the point that I have been unsuccessfully trying to drive home for a long time, but when the question of reference is posed, that is a line not to be crossed - why?. Why can't we just say there is NOT a hard and solid foundation provided for so many of our questions? There are other misnomers concerning cast WWI wings that collectors automatically dismiss, but Campbell does not. That is however another topic for another day.

In the end, all that matters is what the individual buying the piece thinks- that is all-nothing more. If you decide to go after it, good luck to you.

Edited by IMPERIAL QUEST, 30 November 2008 - 10:46 AM.


#15 pfrost

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 02:52 PM

Dennis and Steve,

You raise some good points, as does Cliff.

First, with WWI aviation collecting, it is not so much a question of being an "expert" as much as having experience in the field. But on the other hand, much of the same common sense rules and criteria that are used for collecting other types of militaria are just as valid.

This morning, I spent an hour or two talking with a couple of the most experienced West Coast wing collectors and many of the points brought up here by the different members were also discussed in our conversation. The enamel, rivits, and quality of workmanship are clearly positives. The apparent patina, the funky stars, and the novel manufacturer who no one seems to be able to find records of, raised flags with us.

So based on just a simple analysis of the item itself, you have some positive items and negative items and that has to be weighed with other factors such as....

No one seems to have ever seen this type of wing before. Examples of it do not appear in any of the usual reference material. It is not in Campbell's or Morris' book on WWI wings. Nor does it show up in the limited section of WWI wings shown in either of the Silver Wings books. Finally, I could not find any images of a wing like this in any of Russ Huff's publications. Of course, each reference has gaps and holes and weakness and biases, some greater than others, BUT, when one is thinking about spending a big chunk of change, it is always nice to have that backup of another one in the books, so to speak. Heck, on a recent thread related to a bullion wing of Steve's, we were able to find 5 or 6 examples of the pattern in 3 or 4 independent venues. This wing on the other hand seems to be a total one-of-a-kinder, which would be a very real detriment when someone tries to resell this wing--especially of more start to crop up (as were to be expected if they were fakes). I am not saying because it is not in the book, it isn't any good. Just that is a caveat that is not trivial (IMHO).

The ebay dealer doesn't seem to be one of the usual suspects of fake peddlers. Its always hard to know for sure, but he seems to be what he says he is, a picker and consigner of estate items. He has shown very clear pictures of the item, and has been very upfront about the item. No one is perfect, but I would be more concerned if this wing was being sold by some of the more unsavory types that can be found on ebay.

The research on the family and the hallmark, as Cliff correctly pointed out, should and could be done. I tried to search for Bley and Hornstein on the internet and came up empty. That is as far as I went, but Cliff is correct, finding that this company actually existed would go a long way towards ending the hand waving. The name of the pilot is a little less clear. That can be easily faked or added post hoc to the wing.

Finally, Dennis is also correct, you go to buy for yourself. You should never collect based on someone else's opinion. Still, it is foolish not to listen to the input of someone like Cliff who has years and years of experience and is well respected in the collecting community as some one who knows his stuff.

Patrick

#16 John Cooper

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 08:54 PM

The recently added photos look to me to show that each wing is made up of several parts each i.e. shoulder... the large feathers appear to even be individually attached. If this is correct they this wing took lots of work.

John


I asked the seller the seller about the construction of the wing and here was his reply.

John

In my opinion, no. The wing portion actually seem to be "carved" out of solid pieces of silver. The feathers are deeply carved under each other and under the shoulder but it is all one piece. I am going to add more photos this morning to show that detail. Also, it looks like the shoulder sticks out over the feathers but it does not...the wings are curved and the middle feathers actually are higher than the top and bottom. Look for photo updates today. very best,E



#17 Garth Thompson

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 04:39 PM

I saw these on ebay and I believe this wing was made in the late 70's by a man in Boca Raton, FL. He had a metal shop and was a master craftsman. He was also a minor level militaria collector/dealer and hand made a few sets of wings just to see if he could fool the experts. He had the place, skill and equiptment to do the job. I knew him fairly well and saw his workmanship. Without actually handling them I'm pretty sure this is one of his sets.
Garth

#18 IMPERIAL QUEST

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 07:10 PM

Something tells me that this thread is going to get very interesting...

#19 John Cooper

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 09:14 PM

A major part of the debate is centered around the fact that the jeweler Bley & Hornstein is not listed in the Keystone jewelers index which is true... however.

My information shows that Bley & Hornstein did in fact exist and was doing business in the City of Chicago in 1917. According to a trusted source the FACTS are as follows:

1)
1917 Chicago City Directory has the following entry: Bley & Hornstein 29 E Madison CENtral 5762

2)
1917 Chicago Telephone Directory has the following entry: Bley & Hornstein (Harry L. Bey & Samuel Hornstein) mnfg Jewelry 1514 29 E Madison

3)
Chicago Daily Tribune has and Ad for 1917, November 8 for a jewelery repairman Bley & Hornstein 1514 Heyworth Bldg Central 5762 (see photo below)

I think this proves the company did in fact exist.

John

Posted Image

According to the Chicago Landmarks website the following is also a known fact.

This building was built by Otto Young, a wholesale jeweler and real estate investor. Named for Young's son-in-law, Lawrence Heyworth, who supervised the building's construction, the Heyworth historically housed jewelers, watchmakers, and related businesses.


#20 pfrost

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 10:04 PM

No doubt it is a nice wing. I think someone got a very nice deal as I have seen Dallas-style wings sell for more, and this beauty was clearly a rare one of a kinder. I still have some doubts, but they far outweigh my feelings that this was a very nice and very very rare wing. John's information is pretty strong evidence that this is a vintage wing. Not conclusive, but still very strong.

Patrick

#21 trenchbuff

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 03:40 PM

A major part of the debate is centered around the fact that the jeweler Bley & Hornstein is not listed in the Keystone jewelers index which is true... however.

My information shows that Bley & Hornstein did in fact exist and was doing business in the City of Chicago in 1917. According to a trusted source the FACTS are as follows:

1)
1917 Chicago City Directory has the following entry: Bley & Hornstein 29 E Madison CENtral 5762

2)
1917 Chicago Telephone Directory has the following entry: Bley & Hornstein (Harry L. Bey & Samuel Hornstein) mnfg Jewelry 1514 29 E Madison

3)
Chicago Daily Tribune has and Ad for 1917, November 8 for a jewelery repairman Bley & Hornstein 1514 Heyworth Bldg Central 5762 (see photo below)

I think this proves the company did in fact exist.

John

Posted Image

According to the Chicago Landmarks website the following is also a known fact.

This building was built by Otto Young, a wholesale jeweler and real estate investor. Named for Young's son-in-law, Lawrence Heyworth, who supervised the building's construction, the Heyworth historically housed jewelers, watchmakers, and related businesses.


Very nice detective work John!

Mark

#22 IMPERIAL QUEST

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 07:53 PM

Great detective work indeed. The fact that this firm was so obscured and off the radar of long time collectors, further increases the possibility that this wing is indeed a very rare one of a kind piece commissioned by a wealthy aviator. A faker with this level of expertise and craftsmanship would NOT be foolish enough to devote countless hours in such a work of art only to gamble on "sticking it" to someone by placing a nearly forgotten jeweler/artisans name on the piece...just doesn't make any sense. The only thing about this wing that I DON'T like, is that I did not win it.

#23 John Cooper

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 09:11 PM

BTW I can not take credit for this as I had help... the person who helped me knows who he is and I greatly appreciate the fact he took the time to help.

John

#24 trenchbuff

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 07:52 AM

No doubt it is a nice wing. I think someone got a very nice deal as I have seen Dallas-style wings sell for more, and this beauty was clearly a rare one of a kinder. I still have some doubts, but they far outweigh my feelings that this was a very nice and very very rare wing. John's information is pretty strong evidence that this is a vintage wing. Not conclusive, but still very strong.

Patrick

I agree! The only really big thing missing is "who wore this beauty". Clearly not the "village idiot" and maybe with some prompting from the buyer the seller might be able to lead them in the right direction.

Mark

#25 IMPERIAL QUEST

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 08:09 AM

...and maybe with some prompting from the buyer the seller might be able to lead them in the right direction.

Mark


Wouldn't that be great. Hopefully, more information will be forthcoming. I wonder if the seller has been following this thread. I know that he received quite a few e-mails during the auction, pro and con. I sent him a message with my support for his item and I think one or two others here on the forum made contact with him as well. There was some expressed frustration in his words on the auction concerning some criticism or detracting comments concerning the wing, but I hope that will not hinder his passing information to the collecting community because I think there is a lot of interest in this fascinating piece. Perhaps he will be kind enough to forward/post any other information (not as justification for the legitimacy of the wing, but as informational) as it would be sad to lose ANY known history associated with this beautiful piece.


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