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#26 KurtA

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 12:34 PM

Here's my W. Link wing. Sorry that my photography skills are not on par with the others. The U.S. letters are each separately applied and appear to be sterling (same as the wing itself). The letters have just a hint of their original gilt plating.
Kurt

Wing_WW1_Front.jpg
Wing_WW1_Rev.jpg
Wing_WW1_cu.jpg

#27 mshaw

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 01:59 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 didnít 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 Duncaní 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 salesmanís 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 salesmanís 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 doesnít look like the ones I have seen beforeÖhere 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.



I have found over the past couple of decades that auctioneers need to be watched carefully. I collect Civil War and prehistoric Indian Artifacts as well as wings and have attended sales of famous collectors in these fields where items have been added to the sale that were not in the collection to begin with. It is not hard at all to throw in some extra lots from here and there and mix them into a famous collection to boost their value.

#28 John Cooper

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 06:58 PM

Here's my W. Link wing. Sorry that my photography skills are not on par with the others. The U.S. letters are each separately applied and appear to be sterling (same as the wing itself). The letters have just a hint of their original gilt plating.
Kurt


You can always sent the wings to me I can takes some photos for you! ;)

John

#29 John Cooper

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 07:05 PM

What is your opinion on the following wing? The photo of the reverse looks mis-matched too me...


Lot No: 3637
A World War 1 Pilot's wing by Shreve
Hollow silver construction, the back with three vent holes for soldering. Pinback attachment with rotating catch. Marked "SHREVE & CO - STERLING" at bottom of shield on reverse

John

#30 none

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 07:23 AM

What is your opinion on the following wing? The photo of the reverse looks mis-matched too me...
Lot No: 3637
A World War 1 Pilot's wing by Shreve
Hollow silver construction, the back with three vent holes for soldering. Pinback attachment with rotating catch. Marked "SHREVE & CO - STERLING" at bottom of shield on reverse

John


I wish they had the correct back picture. Then I could tell for certain. I have e-mailed them about the error on the picture. If they sent it to me I will post it or if they tell me they have fixed their site I will post the note. The real Shreve would have three vent holes. The wing was hollow with a flat back. The front section was die struck and then a back plate was soldered over the entire wing. The vent holes where in place to allow for gases to escape while soldering and then as the wing cooled to allow air in so that it would not buckle.

BTW- Next to the "U" it looks like a little bit of solder flow from when the US was applied. This is a good sign.

Joe

#31 Gary Cain

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 12:51 PM

Hi Joe,

I for one agree with your sentiments on why this forum exists and appreciate your continued input. I have learned a great deal from your posts and as I too am a scientist I appreciate your methodology.


Cheers
Gary

Edited by Gary Cain, 30 April 2009 - 12:52 PM.


#32 John Cooper

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 09:20 PM

I wish they had the correct back picture. Then I could tell for certain. I have e-mailed them about the error on the picture. If they sent it to me I will post it or if they tell me they have fixed their site I will post the note. The real Shreve would have three vent holes. The wing was hollow with a flat back. The front section was die struck and then a back plate was soldered over the entire wing. The vent holes where in place to allow for gases to escape while soldering and then as the wing cooled to allow air in so that it would not buckle.

BTW- Next to the "U" it looks like a little bit of solder flow from when the US was applied. This is a good sign.

Joe


I recently had a conversation about Imperial Pilots Badges with Imperial Quest and he talked abou the construction method which is how I learned about the reason for the holes.

Thanks for the info Joe.
John

#33 none

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 04:10 AM

I got an e-mail last night that the correct picture will be posted to the catalog today.

Joe

#34 none

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 03:05 PM

Well Bonhams instead of showing the back of the Shreve as they promised in an e-mail have just removed the incorrect back from there web site and have not shown the back, I hope they will. I have two more wings for all of you to look closely at and for discussion.

First is 3634 which looks like the Meyer & Wenthe design which we have discussed in the past on the forum. What brothers me is that the hallmark is just the word Sterling and this wing should have Meyer & Wenthe Chicago in a circle to be correct. It is a much reproduced die struck wing and the reproductions are just hallmarked Sterling. Any more comments?

Next is 3636. Look at the back and you will see two circles. To me those were at one time where screw backs were soldered to the wings and they have been changed to a pin back. You can even see the poor solder marks under the clasp. It would be easy to restore this to the original configuration but you have to wonder why this was changed and if by the original owner or later.

Joe

#35 John Cooper

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 09:56 PM

I knew I had seen the wing 3634 for sale by another maker. I just found it - go to the follow link and look up product M15, it's $54.00 in sterling die struck.

http://www.historica...m/militaria.htm
Joe



So Joe you are saying that there is a reproduction of 3634 or are you suggesting the historical reproduction wing is the same? To my eye they are two different wings.

BTW Looks like Tim got the back of the Shreve posted take a look.

John

#36 none

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 03:44 PM

John

Shreve wing is a beut. You should buy it. Then pass it around to everyone to look at it.

On 3634, I am still not sure about the wing. The only wings with the badly cut US were the Meyer & Whente and they were copied a lot by different people over the years. The original ones had a circle hallmark with their name on top and Chicago on the bottom of the circle.

The various copies were just hallmarked Sterling. That is why I posted this for a discussion.

Joe

#37 John Cooper

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 09:22 PM

John

Shreve wing is a beut. You should buy it. Then pass it around to everyone to look at it.

On 3634, I am still not sure about the wing. The only wings with the badly cut US were the Meyer & Whente and they were copied a lot by different people over the years. The original ones had a circle hallmark with their name on top and Chicago on the bottom of the circle.

The various copies were just hallmarked Sterling. That is why I posted this for a discussion.

Joe



Fair enough not sure too many folks have one like 3634... as for the Shreve I think the one I now have is sufficent ;) I have my sights on another now.

John

#38 flyingfortress

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 05:33 PM

It appears the Shreve wing (lot no. 3637) has a replacement pin on the back. I don't know if the original fastener was a pin back or 2 screw pins.

George

#39 John Cooper

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 06:09 PM

It appears the Shreve wing (lot no. 3637) has a replacement pin on the back. I don't know if the original fastener was a pin back or 2 screw pins.

George


George - I thought the same thing when I looked at the wing. Here is an example of one that I am sure have not been changed.

http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/8148/shreve2.jpg

#40 none

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 04:47 AM

The pin back on the Streve is a replacement but so what, if any of you buy it, I would be happy to fix the pin back for you. Some others in the collection also have had the pin backs replaced. I know one collector who buys as many wings as he can with broken pin backs, he gets them cheap and I restore them for him. Maybe Duncan got the wings at a big discount because of pin back damage and then fixed them.

On 3634 I have gotten more information from the Tim and I now feel it is real.

Joe

#41 John Cooper

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 04:33 PM

Only a few more days... I hope someone here is lucky enough to obtian at least one wing!

#42 CliffP

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 04:56 PM

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..... :think:

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


This post has been edited by John Cooper: May 22 2009, 05:43 PM



Now that the auction has come and gone I though some folks might like to see a few pictures of Duncan other than the one on page 129 in the Bonhams & Butterfields cataloque. Picture quality isn't that great but I don't think he would have objected, it is the wonderful legacy he left us with that is important.

Picture #1 is of Duncan at age 13 showing off some of the manufacturer's sample boards given to him by Colonel Luttringer commander of the Pennsylvania State Arsenal in 1927. This gift started his interest in collecting, and as Duncan fondly recalled, "This was all I could hold, not all that he gave me.

Picture #2 was a public exhibition in 1949 of Duncan's insignia collection in Snellenberg's Department Store window in conjunction with the National Convention of the American Legion held that year in Philiadelphia. It did not represent his entire collection at that time because he was limited by the space in the window. Note if you can, that in the third row from the bottom, third case from the left are some wing badges. Barely visable at the top of the case on opposite corners are two (2) U.S. Military Aviator's badges, 1913 pattern, by Blackinton that he got at the factory. The one on the left was gold plated on silver and the one of the right was sterling silver. Years later he gave the sterling silver badge to a friend but the gold badge was #3608 on page 183 in the cataloque.

Picture #3 was taken at the Civil War & Antique Arms Show held at Gettysburg, PA in July 1996.

;)

Cliff

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#43 IMPERIAL QUEST

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:00 PM

What a fantastic and very fitting addition to the conclusion of the auction. I have never seen Duncan before this posting; it is very nice to finally see him. Thanks for sharing these Cliff.

#44 bschwartz

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:29 PM

A fantastic tribute to a great man. Thanks for posting it Cliff. As Duncan always said to me "I don't own a confuser and never will." but if he had I think he would have enjoyed some of the give and take of this forum. Every time I was lucky enough to talk to him I could tell how much he loved the hunt for more information and not just the hunt for more wings. I'm honored to have one piece from his collection.

#45 John Cooper

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 06:13 PM

I agree with both Steve and Bob some great inside information you posted Cliff. As for the MA badge I wonder if that was originally without the pin or if it was repaired. Additionally there appears to have been something else attached on the reverse which is very evident in the photo..?

John

#46 CliffP

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 07:55 AM

A fantastic tribute to a great man. Thanks for posting it Cliff. As Duncan always said to me "I don't own a confuser and never will." but if he had I think he would have enjoyed some of the give and take of this forum. Every time I was lucky enough to talk to him I could tell how much he loved the hunt for more information and not just the hunt for more wings. I'm honored to have one piece from his collection.


Hi Bob, :bye1:

Interestingly, Duncan was more than just a wing badge collector as was evident by the other unrelated items from his vast collection sold at auction by Bonhams & Butterfield. He also pursued a lifelong interest in the badges, buttons, and buckles of the American military dating all the way back to the Revolutionary War ... and was a highly skilled archaeologist.

The picture below was taken of Duncan in 1955 while digging at the location of a forgotten lakeside dump site at Sacketts Harbor in upstate New York on Lake Ontario. From 1812 until 1815 there were about 2,000 soldiers stationed at Sackets Harbor, plus about 200 sailors and marines. Well, right after World War II Duncan obtained the 1813 and 1814 site maps for Sackets Harbor from the National Archives and in 1947 on his first trip to the village he saw a lady in her garden, which was located right on the site of where the largest military barracks had been. He and a companion walked into the garden, politely introduced themselves and asked her if she had ever seen any coins or military buttons while she tended to the vegetables. "All the time," she said. They then asked her if they could see them and to their amazement she replied, "Oh I don't pick them up." She then gave them permission to look around the garden for as long as they wanted to and the next morning they set up a wire mesh sifting screen on a card table and went to work. Before the summer had ended, they had thoroughly searched the garden and literally mined military buttons. And that was only the beginning, Duncan would continue going back to Sacketts Harbor for the next 45 years.

The picture is of Duncan as I like to remember him best. He was happiest when knee deep in dirt or surrounded by a stack of research books and papers on the dining room table were he preferred to do his research ... and until about a year before his death in 2007 he refused to slow down. Admirable yes? I think so. :wink2:

Best wishes,

Cliff

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Edited by CliffP, 20 June 2009 - 07:58 AM.


#47 IMPERIAL QUEST

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 08:18 AM

Sounds like Duncan actually lived the life of being the collector/historian that most of us only dream about.

#48 CliffP

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 05:23 PM

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.

Joe


Having owned three biographical 1913 Rock Island badges I must disagree. Of those three, two are late production examples (Winter 1913) and have the T-bar pin assembly exactly like Mr. Campbell's, but the earliest produce example (Fall 1913) has an open loop catch. Number 3607 in the catalog is a 1913 Rock Island badge.

Cliff

Edited by CliffP, 06 February 2010 - 05:38 PM.


#49 FightenIrish35

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 11:18 PM

Im very glad I stumbled back across the forum and to see the information Cliff shared about Duncan. I sadly never meet Duncan,yet in the early 70's when my father was getting into collecting and history in general a good man down the road named Jack Demers took notice and mentored my father with endless amounts of information. Jack was very very good friends with Duncan.Many times Jack spoiled my dad by giveing him the privelage and pleasure to go with Duncan and Jack to Sackets Harbor to do excavating. And though me and my father didnt go for any items at the auction my dad has one of his most treasured posesions that reminds him of Duncan,an 1810 US belt buckle that was found on the one of the days with Duncan that Duncan stood there a explained to a young boy exactly what he was now holding and the soldiers who wore the item. The few stories ive heard of Duncan I can simply say without meeting him that he was one hell of a person and a very big part of out community. Thanks Duncan for the moments you shared with my father. :salute:

#50 hawk3370

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 06:53 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..... :think:

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


Patrick,
Very well stated. Duncan was the most honorable gentleman that I have ever met. Each and every one of us could take a lesson from him as to what a mentor should be. I have stated on numerous accasions that "there are no experts, just very knowledgable people", however Duncan came as close to being an expert as there ever has been. He once told me that his collection of wing badges was just a secondary interest, his true love was the early Federal and Militia cap and belt plates. And I venture to say that he was the formost authority in that area. If he had any major fault it was leaving us to soon. His passing was a tremendous loss to the military history community.
Terry


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