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CAMPBELL Collection catalog online!


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#1 Paul C.

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 11:32 AM

"the Campbell collection catalog in available on our online site, www.bonhams.com. Just go the the Arms & Armor Dept. and you will find a link to the catalog on the left side of the page. The Campbell collection starts at lot 3410 with the military insignia, the wings are lots 3607 through 3683. All the best, James Ferrell "

Two, yes two, 1913 Aviator Badges!!! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/jeal0001.gif You have to put in the date 6/2 to get to the catalog!!

Paul


#2 JDK

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:45 PM

Definitely some nice items there. I wonder what kind of money it will bring?
JD

#3 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 05:50 AM

A remarkable collection - will likely break some records!

#4 none

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:50 AM

I just looked at the wings only and I hate to be the bearer of questions about Duncan's collection.

But the 1913 wings are questionable.
Item 3607 - 1913 Rock Island - I actually held Hap Arnold's original in my hand, and even took it home for a week to make a mold, and this one does not match. I have the exact copy mold of the real original. The Eagle is not the same and the real one did not have a T-Bar pin assembly. The real Eagle was cast and the back was more pronounced. I also held another Rock Island from Paul Beck in my hand. It was an exact match to Hap's. This is not a Rock Island.

Item 3608 - This is a 1940's restrike of the 1913 Blackinton wing. Also take a close look at the black you can see the hallmark is Blackintons 1940 style and in the center an area where a pin was removed. In the 1940's Blackinton's salesmen's board had the 1913 on the top to impress buyers. I have one.

I have not had time to look over all the others but be careful for example the BB&B Observer wing is not real. BB&B never made a Observer.

More details after I get the catalog.

Joe

#5 none

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 05:08 PM

You can order the catalog now, but it will not be release until mid May. Cost is $40.00 which includes postage.

To order call:
1 800 223 2854 ext. 3550

#6 FightenIrish35

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 06:23 PM

thanks for the link...some amazing items that he had..my dad was just telling me some stories of helping him and Jack Demers excavate certain items back in my fathers younger days lol. Should be interested to keep an eye on and hopefull come away with some things http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

#7 John Cooper

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 08:42 PM

I have to say there are some interesting items but... I am a bit dissapointed by the Eisenstadt wing... However I am looking forward to getting the catalog.

John

#8 none

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:48 AM

Would you all look at 17104, Airship Pilot - sure looks like a Meyer to me and not a BB&B. What do you think?

#9 pfrost

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 04:31 PM

As to fakes, I do not know. I do know that the individuals who are offering the wings in auction were in communication with at least one "expert" who was able to authenticate everything being offered. It does seem that some of the WWI wings were likely not vintage, but were actually made in Duncan Campbell's kitchen off of the original dies. These "fakes" were never intended to be sold as the real deal and in fact were given out as gifts by Mr Campbell to his friends. These wings were simply glued onto some felt backed forms. While examples of these are shown in Campbell's book (and examples of which were at one time up for sale in the Norm Flayderman catalog), it is not clear that these were ever intended to be anything other than gifts given out by Mr. Campbell. Once I get home, I can give you the number of those wings as illustrated in Campbell's book. I also believe that a couple of other wings may have been excluded from the auction due to some questions of authenticity, but don't know for sure.

According to my "expert" friend, much of Mr. Campbell's WWI collection came directly from the vets or the vets families. In fact, careful examination of the "fine print" in both Campbell's book and the auction descriptions indicate that provenance to the authenticity of the items is frequently available (such as letters and other correspondence).

Most importantly, the items in the auction seem to be the EXACT items in his book, a book that I believe goes back to the 1970's. Apparently, during his life time, Mr Campbell never felt the need to capitalize on his fame by selling off his collection, so I would argue that he clearly felt that they were good enough to "keep" to himself in his own collection.

I only corresponded with Mr Campbell a few times, but found him to be a true gentleman. With me, he was always humble and quick to acknowledge what he did not know as quickly as what he did know (a rare trait shared by only a few true scholars, IMHO). He seemed to ENJOY wings and be happy to look at what you had and share what he knew and offered that knowledge freely and with pleasure, especially if you were a novice collector trying to navigate the minefields of fakes.

As to the collection itself, I guess the real measure of the items are in what you want to believe is true and the source of the information that you apply to your choices. Mr. Campbell's book is and has been a bible for WWI collecting and collectors. It is not perfect, but it has withstood criticism and time very well, a task that many a pontificator of expertise has found to be difficult. I doubt that Mr Campbell would mind a fair and critical examination of his collection, but I suspect it would bother him if said discussions were to boil down to "they dont look the way I expected them to look".

Patrick

#10 John Cooper

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:07 PM

Would you all look at 17104, Airship Pilot - sure looks like a Meyer to me and not a BB&B. What do you think?



Here is the wing in question which is item lot number 3664. The top wing is a Meyer Restrike.

http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/2821/campbellairship.jpg

#11 pfrost

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:40 PM

And they are not the same pattern wing.

#12 pfrost

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 09:49 AM

READ the two books by Campbell and Morris. In Duncan's book, he actually references 3 1913 badges, the first one illustrated on page 9 is a photograph of a badge from the Smithsonian Institute (perhaps even a photo of Hap Arnold's badge).

Next, he shows (Figure 2 page 13) his example. In the text of his book, he specifically says that this badge (from the Joseph Copley collection) "differs significantly in that the silver coloration of the signal flags was achieved by completely removing he gold where silver was indicated and solid silver inlays were skillfully applied". This badge is the one being offered as lot 3607 in the auction and never calls it a RIA badge while it does make the point of attributing it to the Copley collection.

Item 3607 and figure 3 of Campbell's book are also the same. In the text, it is noted that VH Blackinton Company were the only known manufacturer authorized to make these badges and that they used different dies and the wings were not hand chased. I guess only Mr. Campbell will know if these were bought off a Blackinton salesman display or from original stock. Still, I would ague it is exactly what it says it is, a 1913 badge made by Blackinton dies. No where is it attributed to any of the original group of aviators nor is it argued that these wings were made between 1913-1917.

As a side note, both the badges in Campbell's book are illustrated in Morris' book (WB-1 and WB-2). It seems that Morris may have misrepresented WB-1 as being a badge from RIA, but I am willing to believe that that may have been an honest mistake.

In Duncan Campbell's book, it seems that badges 7, 8, 19, 20, and 21, and 22 were badges made from the original dies by Campbell himself. As I have heard the story (and this is only via second or third hand story telling, so feel free to take it with a grain of salt), vintage examples of these wings are very rare and may not actually have been made during WWI. Supposedly, Duncan Campbell would use some soft metal and a mallet and made "copies" on his kitchen table by hitting the metal into the die. He then GLUED the pieces onto a bit of felt covered forms and gave them to some of this friends. Examples of this showed up in the Norm Flayderman auction and were pulled. Campbell never intended these to be sold as originals and apparently only gave a few of these to friends and collectors.

In his book, he notes for wings 7 and 8 "are examples of two patterns made by Dan S Dunaham" (page 12), number 19 and 20, "are the two styles made and sold by Dan S. Dunham" (page 14) and number 21 and 22 are "Dunham's designs for junior and reserve military aviator" (Page 14). He does not say that these are vintage pieces nor does he attribute them to any particular person. He simple says that these are examples of the design or style of this companies wings. Perhaps an individual would not feel inclined to so carefully parse Mr. Campbell's words, but it doesn't seem that he actually tried to sell or market these wings. Also, apparently, he also didn't feel the need to mark his reproductions as such. An irony I find vastly amusing. In any case, these wings are not being offered for sale in the auction, best I can tell.

As to his other wings, the question about the airship wings first. Outside of maybe one or two of us (such as Cliff Presely) the ability to recognize a good airship wing based on the experience of actually handling one is rather limited. However, in both of Campbell's examples, he apparently got them from the vet or the vet's family and this fact seems to be supported by the addition of letters and other correspondence about these pieces. I guess the old chestnut "I would only believe them to be true if I got them directly from the vet himself" could apply here.

As for the BB&B observer wing, one wonders what is the proof that this company never made this badge, or if the statement should really be "I have never seen this badge made by this company"? The wing itself is a very unique, beautiful and high quality pattern and the hallmark and hardware is exactly what one would expect for that company. However, the whole point of offering criticism in such a sneering and cynical manner (clearly it is implied that the "Great Duncan Campbell's Collection" is flawed by the presence of numerous fakes) cheapens this discussion. In fact, while I am not that cynical, I do sometimes wonder if the purpose is to educate people about the auction or poison the process to remove competitors who may be involved in the bidding..... http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/think.gif

Other things to consider. As collectors, we all depend on 3 sources of information. What our actual experiences are by handling and studying wings, what our "buddies", mentors, dealers and co-collectors tell us is true, and what we read and gather from other scholarly sources and references by people who have gone before us in the hobby. As novice collectors, frequently the first source is sorely lacking, the second source of information is usually from people with less experience and knowledge than we have (and not infrequently some evil intent to defraud or cheat us), and the final source is really all that we have--books and references. It is not rare for someone to say "I have never seen something like that, so I think it is a fake". I have also seen much being made about what we EXPECT things are supposed to be like. We all like to assume that brave handsome flying men carefully picked out exquisite and well made badges to wear on their impeccably tailored uniforms. We expect high quality detail to the wings, perfectly symmetrical "US" on the shield and well crafted hinges and pins to hold the wings to the uniform. Without a real shred of proof that this is actually true. Yet, here we have before us, the life's work of a well known and well respected man. His integrity has never been impugned as far as I know, and I wonder how many people will use this opportunity to challenge their own beliefs about what a WWI wing should look like?

IMHO, any novice collector, any mid level dabbler of wings, or any advanced practitioner of aviation badge accumulation fails to study this collection of wings, then you are missing out big time.

Patrick

Edited by John Cooper, 22 May 2009 - 01:43 PM.


#13 CliffP

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 06:37 AM

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Dear Patrick,

A wonderful tribute to both the man and his legacy:

We've always enjoyed reading your threads and posts related to wing badge collecting but today's remarks about Duncan Campbell and his collection will be a classic. The values he lived by, his honest scholarly approach to wing badge collecting, and his deep love and respect for this hobby which he so enjoyed should set a standard for all of us to follow.

Keep up the good work.

Sincerely,
Cliff

.

Edited by CliffP, 26 April 2009 - 06:40 AM.


#14 John Cooper

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 09:48 AM

And they are not the same pattern wing.


Well at least to my eye they look different which is why I posted the photos for other to comment on... :)

#15 cwnorma

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 09:56 AM

All,

I thank you for keeping this potentially emotional thread on an even keel. I have said it before, and I will say again, it is a pleasure to moderate in this part of the forum.

Chris

#16 Paul S

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 01:02 PM

Thank you Patrick for your well thought out comments about the substance of this collection and about the man to whom it belonged. I especially like your comments regarding whether the young airmen spent as much time pondering the qualities of their wings as do today’s collectors. The answer I would propose is a resounding, NO, they did not.

For a little perspective, my father had four of the full-size wings in his accumulation from WWII service. For nearly 60-years he took them out for cleaning now and then. I clearly recall watching him linger over them, lost somewhere in thought, as he polished. Three of his wings were simply marked, “sterling” while the fourth was not marked at all, except for the scratched-in date of his graduation from navigation school.

Collectors today would turn their noses up if offered these simple wings, yet they accompanied a 21-year old lad on the greatest adventure of his life, waiting patiently in a Quonset hut for him to return from missions over fortress Europe.

Class has a way of showing through…and so does the lack thereof.

Edited by John Cooper, 22 May 2009 - 01:44 PM.


#17 John Cooper

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 08:01 PM

...and now for something completly different... ;)

There are a few items that have my interest... I really like lot # 3641 the WC Link Co. wing which has simple yet elegant design. The US appears to be hand cut... can anyone confirm that and if the US is gold plated or solid?

John

#18 KurtA

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 01:36 AM

...and now for something completly different... ;)

There are a few items that have my interest... I really like lot # 3641 the WC Link Co. wing which has simple yet elegant design. The US appears to be hand cut... can anyone confirm that and if the US is gold plated or solid?

John

John-
Based on the one I have, I would say plated.
Kurt

#19 John Cooper

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 01:49 PM

John-
Based on the one I have, I would say plated.
Kurt


Thanks Kurt! is the one you have the same type construction and fittings or a variation?

John

#20 none

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 03:04 PM

I was always under the impression that this forum was to discuss and learn. I have a sense that because I make reproductions some of you have a very hard time accepting that I do know a lot about wings. John Cooper originally asked me to join in the discussion because as a mechanical and aerospace engineer I bring a different perspective to the discussion. I do know a lot about manufacturing and about casting and die striking. In fact one of my eleven US Patents is for an investment casting technique. Working for the Air Force in R&D I had free evenings and starting making jewelry over 40 years ago. That grew into items for the Air Force Museum Gift Shop including wings. That is how I was able to have Hap Arnolds 1913 wing in my home for a week to make a mold for reproductions to be sold in the gift shop. My casting abilities are considered so good I made miniature turbine blade models for wind tunnel tests for the Air Force. My 4 inches wingspan casting of the Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer is cast in one piece and has been cited in engineering journals as impossible to make.

Now to the Campbell collection-

I don't recall anyone mentioning that any of the wings were fakes, only questionable. I didn’t see in the auction my wings Duncan asked me to send to him. Maybe they are in the ones not yet shown in photos. Yes, Duncan had some of my reproduction wings in his collection. Not only mine but others he had wings for comparison and study that were not pristine. That is the way you learn and study.

One, I am not questioning Duncan’ integrity al all. I have spoken to him many times on the phone. In fact he gave me advice about my business on making reproductions. This is does not have a thing to do with Duncan. It has to do with wings that are at auction. It has to do with an auction house and those that selected the wings for auction.

I have a Blackinton Military Aviator. It has the same script, and it came from a 1940's salesman's sample board. That is their 1940 hallmark. The wing was attached to the salesman’s sample board. This one had a pin added, and they person who did the soldering job only used lead solder and not silver solder. Blackington would never have used lead solder on a silver wing. Any sterling manufacturer would tell you it does not hold. But a wing from a salesman’s sample would not have a pin and someone tried to fix it up. As I said before I have had the honor of holding two Rock Island 1913 badges and the one in the auction does not match either.

As to Duncan not selling any of the wings that is not true I purchased the WWI Pilot wing that was glued together to copy and make a mold. And by the way the wing was professionally die struck and no one could take metal and hammer it into a die to make a wing. Did Duncan have a 100 ton press in his kitchen? A die has two parts. And it would be impossible to make anything by hammering metal into a die that looked professional. By the way if you go to my web site www.1903.com and do a search on P-1750 you will see my copy of the glued wing. You may want to do that as another one of these glued wings is for sale as another web site for a lot of money as if it is a real WWI wing and from a big collection.

I also know someone with all the BB&B die cards, and die envelopes from BB&B. I called and checked on the Observer wing before I made my statement. Based on the production records they never made that wing. Fox Militaria has been known to sell various wings with the BB&B hallmark. About the BB&B Airship, it doesn’t look like the ones I have seen before…here is the one on Bob's website, and the BB&B that's on Bonhams is not the same wing. But it does look like ones sold by Fox.

http://www.ww2wings....irshipbbb.shtml

Back to the wings at the auction. What is wrong with someone saying they don't look like way a wing looks, something is just not right? Especially a wing that is from a known maker, who advertised, and made them in batches. I am not talking about one of a kind wings. I think it's a good point to bring out and then have a discussion especially on very rare expensive wings. This is a discussion forum and should have "scholarly debates", but for anyone to jump in and say it is real, and offer no proof, and then state that it came from a collection, and therefore should not be questioned. Is inconsiderate and does not allow for others to speak and in fact scares away people who would like to ask questions. We should ask questions and get opinions and get facts without fear of someone pouncing on their statement. Or to state this is being done to discredit and drive down prices is the height of hypocrisy.

A few of you are the first to judge a wing on eBay or other sources, and say it is good or bad. Why not now, why the exception here? And many times without any back up proof, etc. It is almost as if a good wing is a good wing no matter whose collection it comes from. As long as it comes from a collection. If it came from a vet it has to be good. Do you have any clue how many vets have purchased replacement insignia from me or Medals of America, etc. Do you have any clue how many museums have purchased insignia from me to fill a hole or for a display on a uniform. I doubt it. Yet some of you would pronounce it good because it came from that collection or museum.

Look at my web site I have almost all the originals of the wings that are for sale as reproductions and even a couple of hundred more that I have not molded. A nice collection of US Wings. Opps I do have that glued Duncan Wing. I guess my collection is no good. No wait its from Duncan so it must be good. We must view each item without regard to where it came from, who owns it, etc. We are viewing a wing and need to view that wing and leave off anything else.

You assume that Duncan himself is offering this collection for auction, sadly that is not true, it is an auction house and while a good one, they may not be experts in every field and on every wing. The real expert is no longer with us and we all need to learn from each other.

The reason I posted so we could have a scholarly debate. Which is great for leaning. If you wish to discuss a wing or item from the Duncan collection please do so. If you want to make sarcastic comments please start a new thread elsewhere.

#21 none

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 03:19 PM

John-
Based on the one I have, I would say plated.
Kurt

John

I also have an original of this wing and on mine the clasp is a center drop in and the US are 14k gold die struck that have been soldered onto the wing. See picture.

wclink.jpg

#22 KurtA

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 05:42 PM

Thanks Kurt! is the one you have the same type construction and fittings or a variation?

John

John-
My wing appears to be the same construction. The gilt plating on the US is very weak on my wing. The US coloring on the wing in the auction has a much richer look. Possibly they made them both ways - plated and real gold.
I'll try to dig my wing out and post a photo in a day or so.
Kurt

#23 none

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 04:55 AM

John-
My wing appears to be the same construction. The gilt plating on the US is very weak on my wing. The US coloring on the wing in the auction has a much richer look. Possibly they made them both ways - plated and real gold.
I'll try to dig my wing out and post a photo in a day or so.
Kurt



John and Kurt

It is my understanding they were only made with solid gold letters. Kurt when you look at yours do it from the side and insure that your letters were added later.

Joe

#24 John Cooper

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 06:56 PM

The one currently available @ Bonhams looks to have exactly the same US as yours Joe... What I find interestest is the reverse shows what appears to be some coating lacquer? Anyone care to comment if this was done in the WW1 time frame of did Duncan clean it up and then coat it himself to keep it nice?

John

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 06:39 AM

If a lacquer was used it would be brown by now. Duncan always believed that all wings should be polished as if the Airman would put it on his uniform right now. That is why most of the insignia in his collection looks new. I am willing to bet he polished them. If it has a coating it would be hard to tell without holding it in your hand and it could be a spray. For example, DecoArt Triple Thick Glass Glaze will give you a WWII frosted look. It is an oil based spray so very close to a lacquer of WWI and WWII.

Joe


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