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Mermaid Submariner SH Badges

Started by Brig , May 18 2010 06:52 PM

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#1 Brig

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 06:52 PM

these two sold recently, for a few hundred a pop. Apparently they're WWII Submariner sweetheart badges, and the seaweed is supposed to be a 'V' but I really have a hard time seeing how anyone would have known that. Nice though

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#2 Brig

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 06:53 PM

another

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#3 JLENG

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 08:42 PM

Hi Brig, You will find an example of this pin in "US Silent Service" by David Jones. It is probalbly the best, if not the only, reference book on Submarine badges and related material. You can find an example of the pin in question on page 187 stating that it was worn by a CPO during the war. I purchase the book a several years ago and have been looking for an example on eBay and elsewhere since then and have not seen one until the four listed over the last few weeks. For that reason I believe it is a bit on the rare side as reflected by the realized prices ranging from 225-409. I would suspect that these will not be seen again for a while as long as someone doesn't start making copies. This sweetheart piece also sold recently for a princely sum. It is identified to the USS Croaker. Frog or Mermaids and a sailor, you decide.

croaker.jpg

#4 USAFnav

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 07:01 AM

JLENG,
Now that is one cool piece. Is it sterling? Are there any marks? I've got to get that submarine badge book. I don't collect those badges, but I'm very interesting in the manufacture of these types of things. Thanks,
Pete

#5 JLENG

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 07:38 PM

Here's the reverse. The one in my collection has a rollercatch.
371613060_tp.jpg

#6 Brig

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 06:35 PM

312 on eBay...

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#7 horsa

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 06:48 PM

I agree with the skepticism regarding both the ID and authenticity of these pins.

First, Jones in his book states the mermaid pin was worn by a CPO. Right. He must have worn it on his "dress" uniform.

Second, these mermaid pins have been appearing with regularity on Ebay, and most lack the tarnish you'd expect from insignia from the period. In one description it was obvious a buyer returned a pin because the catch differed from the one in the book. That's a big hmmm in my book. It is possible that these are just mermaid pins or someone is reproducing them to cater to the interest generated by Jones' book. And why mermaids when dolphins are the submarine insignia and are on all other sweetheart items? Other than mermaids on deepdive certificates (or on postwar and unofficial DBF badges) you just don't see mermaids being used much by the Submarine Force.

The "Croaker" pin's ID is equally dubious, in my opinion. I think it's either a European item or an early American (unofficial) submarine or submariner sweetheart pin. I do think think it's genuine, but it's open as to what it really is.

Not to slam Jones' book, which is about the only game in town, and whose author is a swell guy.

#8 JLENG

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 08:51 PM

To be fair both these pins are listed as "sweetheart pins" in the book. The mermaid pins were offered by three different sellers in different parts of the country. As to the tarnish or lack there of, the gal I purchase mine from a dealer who dealt in costume jewelry which is almost always cleaned.

As to the regularity, the book was printed in 2001 and this is the first time I have seen the mermaid pin offered (I have been using ebay since the 56k modem days). Kind of reminds me of the short run of Blackington Officers full size dolphins a couple of years ago. Never seen one until the first came up for auction. After that sold a few more were listed and sold, have not seen on since.

I have only seen three of the Croaker pins. One in the book, the one that recently sold and the one I got a few years ago. All three have had different pin arrangements. I would think if they were being copied they would all have the same hardware. I don't think either of these pins are being made for the collector market "yet".

John

#9 Dave

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 10:42 AM

Can I ask a few basic questions?

1. Other than a comment in a book, how do we know that these were sweetheart pins for WW2 submariners?

2. Since these are a sweetheart pin, why do they command so much more than other WW2 "vintage" submarine sweetheart pins? Not that I collect them, but I have seen a few and these are selling for exponentially more than those.

I'm a cynic...I don't see how this pin is automatically a sweetheart pin or, for that matter, has anything to do with submarines...or even with the military at all.

If someone could enlighten me, I'd appreciate it.

Dave

#10 JLENG

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 06:14 PM

I will try to enlighten you to the best of my ability.

First, the mermaid seems to be a constant theme for the worlds navies throughout history. On a "Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep" certificate issued in 1943 has a picture of a mermaid on the left and the right sides of the certificate. As you know Victory pins were quite popular during the war to show support for a loved one or the effort on a whole. Since the mermaid is placed on a V of kelp as described by the author (I don't think kelp grows in a v shape but I could be wrong) it do not think it would be out of the realm of possiblity that this combination would be used for a submariner or any sailor sweetheart pin. The same could be said of the croaker pin. It has either a frog or a couple of mermaids, depending on how you look at it, sitting on a torpedo shaped device.

I guess I will have to press the I believe button when the author says the were used during that period as he interviewed the sailors to write the book. If anyone knows him, maybe he could elaborate on this matter. As to whether or not to believe it to be so just because its in a book I will have to direct to another discussion on the forum dealing with a "Green Banana" pin. Until I saw that forum I had only seen a picture of one in "More Silver Wings, Pinks and Greens" and there was a lenghty discussion on them.

Supply and demand would dictate the price. As stated earlier, I have only seen a handfull of the pins offered over the years and in typical ebay fashion the seem to appear in a short period of time.

#11 Brig

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 01:31 PM

I can see the mermaid tails on the croaker, but what of the torsos? are the eyes heads?

as for them, it's kind of like early EGAs. a whole lot of people will bash them just because they've never read about them, but it's up to the buyer to feel comfortable with his purchase

#12 Dave

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 02:37 PM

I will try to enlighten you to the best of my ability.

First, the mermaid seems to be a constant theme for the worlds navies throughout history. On a "Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep" certificate issued in 1943 has a picture of a mermaid on the left and the right sides of the certificate. As you know Victory pins were quite popular during the war to show support for a loved one or the effort on a whole. Since the mermaid is placed on a V of kelp as described by the author (I don't think kelp grows in a v shape but I could be wrong) it do not think it would be out of the realm of possiblity that this combination would be used for a submariner or any sailor sweetheart pin. The same could be said of the croaker pin. It has either a frog or a couple of mermaids, depending on how you look at it, sitting on a torpedo shaped device.

I guess I will have to press the I believe button when the author says the were used during that period as he interviewed the sailors to write the book. If anyone knows him, maybe he could elaborate on this matter. As to whether or not to believe it to be so just because its in a book I will have to direct to another discussion on the forum dealing with a "Green Banana" pin. Until I saw that forum I had only seen a picture of one in "More Silver Wings, Pinks and Greens" and there was a lenghty discussion on them.

Supply and demand would dictate the price. As stated earlier, I have only seen a handfull of the pins offered over the years and in typical ebay fashion the seem to appear in a short period of time.


I appreciate the info!

Here's my thought (and this is just my thougth in general on the piece, so please don't take offense, as none is meant).... I've been collecting for a long time. I've been ADD enough with my collecting to switch from one thing to another every couple of years...from German to Soviet to Czech Legion....pre-1900 to modern...I've collected quite a bit of varied genre of militaria. I've been lucky enough to throw some serious dough at my interests as well...and to peddle through hundreds of fine uniforms and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medals and unit flags...so I've gotten to see and know a lot of areas pretty well.

And I've seen a lot of "hype" go with one area of collecting or another. Some of the hype on some things is legit. Others have "manufactured" hype. One of the best ways to manufacture hype is to include something with a good story in a published book. We all know of things in so-and-so's book that are fake, or questionable, etc... BUT, to the vast majority of collectors, because something is in a book gives it an aura of undeniable provenance. Thus, the best way to double the value of your collection...write a book!!!

Back to the piece in question...we've got a pin with a mermaid (a symbol of the sea used for hundreds of years) and some pieces of kelp. The kelp happen to be in a "V" shape. Well, kelp grows vertically, and, as it flows in the sea, will often form a "V" shape (I've include a basic photo of kelp below, so you can see how it grows). Obviously, it would be a bit uneven to make two pieces of parallel kelp and put a mermaid on them to form an "H", so the jeweler made them touch at the bottom...overall, much better looking for the eye.

And it just so happens that some Chief who happened to be on a submarine in Hawaii during WW2 happened to walk into a jewelry store and out of the hundreds (if not thousands) of available maritime-esqe pieces, bought this as a sweetheart pin....and now this pin is a "GENUINE WW2 SUBMARINER'S PIN".

Unlike the croaker pin, that legitimately has a torpedo with it, and the green banana pin in "More Silver Wings..." that legitimately has wings with it (and the provenance of a letter from the original wearer), the mermaid and the kelp has nothing about it remotely related to the military or the Navy. The fact that the kelp forms a "V" really doesn't mean much of anything other than that's what the jeweler's eye thought looked pretty good to frame the mermaid.

All I'm saying here is that until someone can produce one of these with the provenance from the veteran that says something about the fact that "everyone on my boat, the USS Sails-a-lot bought these to be our unit pin during WW2..." I'm not buying the story about it being anything related to the submarine service or really the Navy at all. I think it's simply a pin that has gotten hyped because someone put it in their book and put a story with it...and now people are falling all over themselves to buy one for their collection.

Of course, people are free to buy whatever they want and if they're happy spending a pile of dough on a pin with no real provenance other than a good story, more power to them. But, I won't be adding one of these to my collection by paying through the nose for it....

My two cents...

Dave

#13 Dave

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 02:38 PM

Oh, and here's a picture of kelp I found on the 'net... http://www.orgs-evol...pestry/Kelp.jpgPosted Image

#14 Brig

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 06:46 PM

mmm...kelp

#15 ADMIN

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 08:09 PM

For those curious about the "Green Banana", please see this link:

http://www.usmilitar...showtopic=40674

#16 horsa

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:13 PM

Can I ask a few basic questions?

1. Other than a comment in a book, how do we know that these were sweetheart pins for WW2 submariners?

2. Since these are a sweetheart pin, why do they command so much more than other WW2 "vintage" submarine sweetheart pins? Not that I collect them, but I have seen a few and these are selling for exponentially more than those.

I'm a cynic...I don't see how this pin is automatically a sweetheart pin or, for that matter, has anything to do with submarines...or even with the military at all.

If someone could enlighten me, I'd appreciate it.

Dave


I'm with you Dave. What amazes me is someone puts something in a book and suddenly it becomes gospel. The caption in Jones' book reads "Reported to have been worn by a CPO during the war." Huh? CPOs running around with a brooch on their uniform? Did Jones mean to say "worn by a CPO's sweetheart?"

I'm also with you that we don't have anything other than Jones' book to say they are military-related. The mermaid design looks art nouveau to me, which places its style before WW2. I think it's a woman's brooch from the 1920s or so, lately reproduced, which somehow made it's way into Jones' book. Anyway, all genuine sub sweetheart items I've seen have dolphins, not mermaids.

One seller has listed many of these on Ebay. Which begs the question...

As for the "Croaker" pin, I'd also say it's design (torpedo looks very early, before WW1) looks to predate USS Croaker's commissioning by about 30 years. I've seen a number, including some from Europe, which may be their point of origin. In fact, they may be a European insignia of some sort; one I saw had a European-style attachment.

I would caution all submarine collectors to be extremely wary of anything submarine-related today. Flags, Launch Buttons, Pins....they are all being faked on a large scale. And while Jones' book is an excellent reference, it's a starting point but certainly not the last word. It's also obvious that those faking items often cite his book in an effort to "authenticate" their bogus items.

#17 silversides son

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:38 PM

Hi,

I am new here and know very little, so forgive my 2 cents if I am out of line.

As I see it, my Fathers Biggest & Only "Sweetheart" EVER, was my Mom. Both Mom & Dad were in Hawaii from before Pearl, and Mom was here after the end of WWII(Dad may have been on the mainland after 1944).
Anyway with that said, if their was ever a chance for Dad to have given Mom a Beautiful set like you show of of a Mermaid Sweetheart pin Mom would have had it , and I could show you one.
My Dad bought this little set of Dolphins for my Mom so I guess this was her Sweetheart pin. Measures 3/4"x1/4" screw-back 1/20th 10k GF
Thanks, John

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#18 CROC

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 01:22 AM

Hi

I found this badge, supposed to be from USS Croaker ? in Paris last week, unfortunatly I haven't additional informations about

Couleur0001.JPG

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Best
Croc

#19 horsa

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 10:38 PM

Hi

I found this badge, supposed to be from USS Croaker ? in Paris last week, unfortunatly I haven't additional informations about

Couleur0001.JPG

Couleur0002.JPG

Best
Croc


As stated earlier, these "Croaker" pins are European. The only ID for them as US is Jones' book, an excellent reference but not infallible.

As for everyone saying these Mermaid pins as being submarine-related (again, only because of Jones' book), there has been an endless supply on Ebay for some time by primarily one seller. I think they are recently made items and from the UNCAS jewelry company, which has a large catalog and makes "vintage" type designs in Asia for sale in the US.

#20 Brig

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 10:17 AM

I think it's safe to safe a REPRO has hit the market...cruder, golden, and not marked 'Sterling'...on eBay item 310319833999

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