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WING COLLECTION


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#1 Guest_xqsme_*

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 04:59 PM

Hey Everybody,
Just signed on today. Really neat site. I am not a collector, but, I have just a few wings that were given to me when I was flying pipeline patrol out of San Antonio by some of the old guys that hang around the airport(then, no way to hang around now!)35 years ago!. Anyway, a "buddy" of mine that collects wings asked me if I had found some wings I told him I had. I found them. I showed them. I wanted to know what they were. These wings were given to me by WW2 pilots that had trained at Randolph Field.
So my buddy says, How Much?. I says, I thought you wanted to see 'em. He says, How Much?. Well, what are they? Still, no answer. Then, " They an'it much, I'll give you $150.00 for them. No, if's that's all they are worth I'll keep'em. Mean more to me since I knew all the old guys that give them to me.
Sorry to make a long story out of this, but I suspect my buddy an'it straight . So now he calls everyday wanting to know when I will let him have them. Well, if they are not worth much, why would he want them?
So, here's pictures front and back. What are they, and, are any worth anything?
thanks,

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#2 Gary Cain

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 08:00 PM

Hello and welcome to the forum. The pictures are very poor so the only wing I can comment on is the Luxenberg Aircrew wing(second from the top) as that is the only one I can see clearly. I believe it is a good wing(i.e. authentic) and worth between 175 and 250. Obviously with a better photo I can tell you more. The other wings are undecipheable at present.

Gary

#3 Bob Hudson

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 08:31 PM

Hello and welcome to the forum. The pictures are very poor so the only wing I can comment on is the Luxenberg Aircrew wing(second from the top) as that is the only one I can see clearly. I believe it is a good wing(i.e. authentic) and worth between 175 and 250. Obviously with a better photo I can tell you more. The other wings are undecipheable at present.

Gary


Agreed: some closeup detail of the marks on the back could make all the difference in price. I have lightened up your photos a bit, but if you havve some details on the marks, please post those:

wingsfront.jpg

wingsback.jpg

#4 Guest_xqsme_*

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 06:25 AM

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#5 Bob Hudson

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 07:09 AM

It will be nice to hear from the real wings experts today.

That one on the top right is, I believe a World War I officer's collar insignia. The one on the top with the circle with "US" in it is a 1920's pattern observer's wings: even a reproduction of that pattern sells for about $50. That one in the lower right intrigues me: it seems to have a circle in the center (actually an "O").

#6 DMD

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 07:15 AM

The gold wing (3rd from the top) is a Navy Aircrew wing. This wing was introduced in 1958, and yours is probably a mid-1960s piece. I can't make out the impressed lettering, but it probably reads "1/20 10K G.F.", meaning 5% 10 karat gold filled. Nice set of wings, but there is not much interest in these for some reason, and you may get $10 to $20 for them.

The pilot wing (4th from the top) was made by Vanguard, probably around 1960 plus or minus a few years. This one is for a US Air Force pilot. A sterling wing would fetch $25 to $40.

Dennis

#7 Paul C.

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 12:44 PM

The Luxenberg and the early Observer ( with the US) look good , at least from the pictures, although other will most likely disagree, both are very rare, and prices are up there. Big bucks!

Edited by Paul C., 04 September 2007 - 12:44 PM.


#8 squidres

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 03:48 PM

The Air Crew (Luxemberg) is actually harder to come by than the pilot, so it could be worth more than the $300, but they are not much in demand. The last 1920s US Observer sold for over $600-800. Meyers are heavily faked, but I concur yours looks real by the style of maker marks. Just check to see if the pins are silver soldered and not spot welded (i.e. heat marks versus a puddle)--you want the puddle.

#9 Bob Hudson

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 05:30 PM

So my buddy says, How Much?. I says, I thought you wanted to see 'em. He says, How Much?. Well, what are they? Still, no answer. Then, " They an'it much, I'll give you $150.00 for them. No, if's that's all they are worth I'll keep'em. Mean more to me since I knew all the old guys that give them to me.
Sorry to make a long story out of this, but I suspect my buddy an'it straight .


Now you know why he's bugging you: it looks like the low end estimate is about $800 and the high end is over $1,100 and that doesn't take into account whatever value the smaller ones may have.

What is that small one with the red white and blue shield? And I'm still curious about that one with the upraised wings.

#10 Paul C.

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 07:46 AM

The Air Crew (Luxemberg) is actually harder to come by than the pilot, so it could be worth more than the $300, but they are not much in demand. The last 1920s US Observer sold for over $600-800. Meyers are heavily faked, but I concur yours looks real by the style of maker marks. Just check to see if the pins are silver soldered and not spot welded (i.e. heat marks versus a puddle)--you want the puddle.


Yes, the Aircrew is MUCH rarer than the Pilot, I have heard of one (mint) selling for almost $600.00 years ago!

#11 Bob Hudson

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 08:03 AM

Yes, the Aircrew is MUCH rarer than the Pilot, I have heard of one (mint) selling for almost $600.00 years ago!


I just found one for sale: a European militaria dealer has a Luxenberg Air Crew Wing for sale for 400 Euros which equals $546 US dollars. And that one was "was a screwback which have been converted to a Pin back." So an original pin back would be worth more to the right collector.

This could raise the value of the above collection to perhaps $1,200-1,500. Makes you wonder how much the "buddy" knew when he offered ten percent of that?

#12 squidres

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 08:23 AM

The red shield one is from a boys organization, and no big deal. Your two biggies are the Air Crew and AC Observer. The Vanguard wing on the bottom is post-war and in really rough shape. Not much there.

#13 Bob Hudson

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 08:19 AM

And I'm still curious about that one with the upraised wings.


Well I answered my own question. Something about that one looked familiar:

aircorpswings.jpg

It is apparently a WWII sweetheart pin and probably worth about $35-40. These don't seem to be nearly as common as the ones with horizontal spread wings

#14 Jeremiah

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 07:39 PM

This has been an informative thread for me! I had no idea that early AC wings were that rare. My dad and grandfather both have some from the late 50s and early 60s that were theirs. Very informative.

Looks like you erred on the side of caution and it paid off, not too bad a turn around on a free membership! Might want to rethink your "buddy" though.

Jeremiah

#15 pfrost

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 01:06 PM

The 1920 pilot observer wing is likely a fake. Made in large quantities in the early 80's--they appear with many hallmarks, including NS Meyer. I have discussed this pattern wing with a number of the major wing collectors over the years, including Art Griegg and J. Duncan Campbell. Most have agreed that this is a fake wing. If you have the Campbell's book "Aviation Badges and Insignia of the US Army 1913-1946", wing number 59 (on page 22) is what the real McCoy looked like. I know that many people want to believe that these wings are good, and frequently argue about small little variations between individual wings as being diagnostic for the good and the bad ones.

BTW, I did see a real US pilot observer wing (#42B in Campbell's book, pg 88) sell for well over 2,000 dollars at a recent militaria show. Once you have seen the real deal, its hard to accept the others as being ok.

The Luxenberg aircrewman wing is a 300-600$ wing based on recent eBay sales. Nice wing!

The WWI collar wing is nice, but would get more as part of a matched set. I see them sell from 20 up to 100$ depending on condition and hallmark.

Finally, I believe the little wing with star is from the AFA (air force association).

Patrick

This has been an informative thread for me! I had no idea that early AC wings were that rare. My dad and grandfather both have some from the late 50s and early 60s that were theirs. Very informative.

Looks like you erred on the side of caution and it paid off, not too bad a turn around on a free membership! Might want to rethink your "buddy" though.

Jeremiah



#16 squidres

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 01:52 PM

Don't worry about your being a fake Meyers. Yes they were faked, but most did not follow the proper marking pattern. Also check what I wrote earlier, that it is silver soldered. It is extremely rare, but check the pins and if soldered, you are probably ok.

#17 squidres

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 01:53 PM

Don't worry about your being a fake Meyers. Yes they were faked, but most did not follow the proper marking pattern. Also check what I wrote earlier, that it is silver soldered. It is extremely rare, but check the pins and if soldered, you are probably ok.

I.e. I compared yours to a known original, and it matches in every respect

#18 pfrost

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 03:15 PM

I.e. I compared yours to a known original, and it matches in every respect


May I ask what known original?

Maybe I am wrong but I know for a fact that I can go on to ebay right now and find at least one or two of this 1920's pattern wing right now. I also know for a fact that I can go to any one of the ASMIC or other militiaria shows and buy another 2 or 3 of these same wings this weekend from the same numer of different dealers. Trust me, I have looked at a lot of these wings over the years.

Yet, when I look through the major WWI and WWII books (such as Campbell's, Terry Morris, and the Silver Wings and Greens books), I cant find a single example of this wing. Yet, Morris and Campbell both illustrate other super rare wings, such as the fighting observer and WWI bombardier wing. You would think that one of these books would have at least one attributed wing of this pattern. Remember, this wing was authorized for wear less than a year Nov of 1920 to Oct of 1921 for those pilots who could no longer pass the physical examination for pilot. It was likely only worn by a very very small number of pilots, if any. But, we say it "looks good" based on what? if all the wings were restruck from the same dies, then they will always look the same. So, how do you tell the difference? Why EXACTLY is this one better than all the others that are just the same?

We also know that NS Meyer wings, including the balloon pilot series and airship series were restruck from original dies and that the markings and hardware are the same for those few original wings that are out there....because if you use the same die, that means you get the same badge. So how, exactly, can you tell the difference between one made 30 yeas ago for the collectors trade vs one of the very few that was made for an actual pilot in 1920?

So, the fact that large numbers of this 1920s US pilot observer wing exist, and that this one is marked with the NS Meyer hallmark, a company that was also known to have restruck wings from its original dies, doesn't give people pause? Doesn't the fact that his wing isn't shown in the main books on WWI wings, exists in a photograph (please proove me wrong here) or is directly attributable to a pilot, also make you wonder? What about some of the other big collectors out there? The ones who have been collecting for years who will drop 2K on a good WW1 wing but not on this particular pattern wing? I could be wrong, but...in my mind, iif so few of this 11-month authorized wings were made compared to the thousands of restrikes floating out there, then isnt it more reasonable to assume that, percentage wise, this one is likely also a fake?

Finally, the issue with electro-solder is that if a wing has been electro-soldered, it was likely made that way post 50s when many companies automated manufacturing processes and is one way to sometimes tell post vs war time soldering of clutch back posts. An electo-soldered clutch back is post war, but because a wing isnt electo-soldered doesnt mean it is of war time manufacture.

But hey, that is just my opinion.

Patrick

#19 squidres

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 01:28 PM

Gee what did I write, if electro soldered IT IS BAD. bad, bad!!!!! I own a documented set, and I have an extensive archive of restrikes. There is also a Meyer stamp that is on the restrikes and another vartiation that appears on 20s vintage wings, I will see if I can photo that detail. The only copy that worries me are AB's because some of his earlier ones were silver soldered, but if I am not mistaken, he did not have the original male die.

#20 DMD

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 02:00 PM

Could I make a suggestion?

It would be informative to all if squidres could post some detailed photos of his good wing as well as his restrikes. Patrick, maybe you could show some photos as well. I would like to know more about what to look for in an authentic observer's wing.

Dennis

#21 pfrost

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 05:33 PM

Could I make a suggestion?

It would be informative to all if squidres could post some detailed photos of his good wing as well as his restrikes. Patrick, maybe you could show some photos as well. I would like to know more about what to look for in an authentic observer's wing.

Dennis


Hello Dennis,

You make a very good suggestion. The problem is multifold. First, I have only seen two or thee of the authentic observer's wings. One was in the Norm Flaydeman's auction about 5-6 years ago in San Francisco. Those wings were identical to the ones shown in Campbell's book (wing number 59 on page 22) and I did go to the preview and studied them, along with the other wings being auctioned off. Somewhere, I have the Flayderman's catalog, but I don't recall if those wings were shown specifically. A similar wing to the one shown in Campbell's book and in the Flayderman collection is shown here (http://www.ww2wings....sobserver.shtml).

The second 1920's observer wing I saw was sold at Bob Chat's militaria show a year or two ago. That wing is also shown in Campbell's book (#42B pg 88). This particular wing was exquisite, and made much more like a WWI wing. It was, in fact, very similar to a Shreve-made pilot wing that I have in my collection (http://pfrost.bol.uc.../WWI_pilot2.jpg). It consisted of 3 parts (the wings and center device), it also had a large drop in catch, and was beautifully detailed, with the "US" carefully and very finely carved out of the center "O". In both cases, both of the 1920's observer wings were significantly different than the one in this thread.

The wing in this thread seems to use this 30's-WWII observer wing pattern as a base. This is a relatively common observer wing pattern, and I frequently see it used as a base for the gunner wing, flight surgeon wing, etc. Importantly, this wing does not seem to be a NS Meyer pattern wing. The early NS Meyer observer wing was similar to this NS Meyer pilot wings. You have to study them carefully, but you will see differences in the wings of the shoulder. I don't have an example right now of an NS Meyer observer wing of this pattern, so I show the pilot. Importantly, I have never seen any of THIS observer wings marked with the NS Meyer hallmark---unless it is the 1920's observer wing. This observer wing pattern was also made as a Technical/Observer wing, and that this has been frequently faked as well. In fact, I urge people to spend a few minutes on ebay and search for 1920's observer wing and/or technical observer wing. These wings WILL show up in at LEAST one or two auctions a week.

Finally, it is hard to "prove" that this wing is in fact a fake. As mentioned before, this particular wing is NOT illustrated in Campbell's book, despite its relative apparent abundance. Of course, Campbell didnt show every wing made, but you would think that if attributed wings in this super rare pattern existed, he would have shown it. Second, I believe that this wing is discussed once or twice in Russ Huff's "Wings and Things" magazine articles that came out in the 1980's. Periodically these show up on ebay and are an invaluable reference. Finally, I have never seen or heard of these wings actually being shown in a period photo being worn or as part of a legitimate and attributed grouping.

I am sure plenty of people will disagree, but I believe that the evidence suggests that this is a fake. I am open and interested in a more exact and scientific discussion of the specific merits of this wing.

Patirck

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#22 John Cooper

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 08:50 PM

Interesting thread - I am looking forward to additional "macro" photos and discussion...

John

#23 Gary Cain

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 02:56 PM

Hello Patrick,

Glad to see you finally made it over to this forum! I will happily take up the gauntlet that you have thrown much as happened over on the WAF http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif What you are saying about the raft of fakes of this particular wing is true(though they showed up in the mid 1970's not the 80's. What you are missing however is the simple fact that they were made, in fact in one post you say there are none, and then you say you have seen some sold at a Chatt show and one was in Flaydermans auction(which BTW was LOADED with fakes!) so which is it? The picture that you seem to place a whole lot of creedence to in Campbells book and reference as #59 on page 22 is pictured below for those of you who don't have the book. As you can see it is a DRAWING! It is not a picture of the real thing. How can you say with any kind of credibility that that is what the real thing looks like? You also make reference to the multi piece construction for a wing and think that that is important. The official drawing for the wing is very clearly NOT a multi piece construction. In fact it is as the Reininger and the Meyer & Wenthe Wings that started the thread over on the WAF. I can show you a set of Colonels insignia made during WWII, they are made of Platinum and the shield is made of diamonds and sapphires, does that mean that every plain jane set of eagles out there is fake? No it means that a staff officer had a boatload of money and wanted to show off.

Additionally Verkuilen Ager took the time to post pictures of the shield of the various wings in the thread and added the shield of the known fake that is sold on ebay, none of them matched. So you mean to tell me that some faker is going to spend 30,000 dollars for three different sets of dies to fake people out? The fake wing we know of and it is in fact based on a real N.S. Meyer dies(if not the actual die in point of fact) but what about the others? I don't know about you but we have seen one Meyer & Wenthe wing(mine) one Reininger wing (from the WAF thread) and no others. There are lots of N.S. Meyer marked and unmarked wings but so far only one of each of those types. Why is that? And they are different from the known fake, who has 20 grand to blow on two wings?

This wing in question may very well be a fake but I think you make far to broad statements on wings like this. Yes there are tons of fakes out there but there are also real ones as well. Our duty is to preserve them and seperate the wheat from the chaff. I think you are far to eager to toss the baby out with the bathwater before doing the proper research.

Cheers
Gary





The 1920 pilot observer wing is likely a fake. Made in large quantities in the early 80's--they appear with many hallmarks, including NS Meyer. I have discussed this pattern wing with a number of the major wing collectors over the years, including Art Griegg and J. Duncan Campbell. Most have agreed that this is a fake wing. If you have the Campbell's book "Aviation Badges and Insignia of the US Army 1913-1946", wing number 59 (on page 22) is what the real McCoy looked like. I know that many people want to believe that these wings are good, and frequently argue about small little variations between individual wings as being diagnostic for the good and the bad ones.

BTW, I did see a real US pilot observer wing (#42B in Campbell's book, pg 88) sell for well over 2,000 dollars at a recent militaria show. Once you have seen the real deal, its hard to accept the others as being ok.

The Luxenberg aircrewman wing is a 300-600$ wing based on recent eBay sales. Nice wing!

The WWI collar wing is nice, but would get more as part of a matched set. I see them sell from 20 up to 100$ depending on condition and hallmark.

Finally, I believe the little wing with star is from the AFA (air force association).

Patrick

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#24 Gary Cain

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 03:11 PM

This is the Meyer & Wenthe wing I refer to. The company was in existence from the teens until it was bought by BB&B in the mid 80's, I am currently in contact with the grandson who has the records and we are compiling a catlogue of all the military insignia the M&W produced during their long history. They do list the Observers wing BTW. So far we have not been able to determine how many were manufactured.

Hello Patrick,

Glad to see you finally made it over to this forum! I will happily take up the gauntlet that you have thrown much as happened over on the WAF http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif What you are saying about the raft of fakes of this particular wing is true(though they showed up in the mid 1970's not the 80's. What you are missing however is the simple fact that they were made, in fact in one post you say there are none, and then you say you have seen some sold at a Chatt show and one was in Flaydermans auction(which BTW was LOADED with fakes!) so which is it? The picture that you seem to place a whole lot of creedence to in Campbells book and reference as #59 on page 22 is pictured below for those of you who don't have the book. As you can see it is a DRAWING! It is not a picture of the real thing. How can you say with any kind of credibility that that is what the real thing looks like? You also make reference to the multi piece construction for a wing and think that that is important. The official drawing for the wing is very clearly NOT a multi piece construction. In fact it is as the Reininger and the Meyer & Wenthe Wings that started the thread over on the WAF. I can show you a set of Colonels insignia made during WWII, they are made of Platinum and the shield is made of diamonds and sapphires, does that mean that every plain jane set of eagles out there is fake? No it means that a staff officer had a boatload of money and wanted to show off.

Additionally Verkuilen Ager took the time to post pictures of the shield of the various wings in the thread and added the shield of the known fake that is sold on ebay, none of them matched. So you mean to tell me that some faker is going to spend 30,000 dollars for three different sets of dies to fake people out? The fake wing we know of and it is in fact based on a real N.S. Meyer dies(if not the actual die in point of fact) but what about the others? I don't know about you but we have seen one Meyer & Wenthe wing(mine) one Reininger wing (from the WAF thread) and no others. There are lots of N.S. Meyer marked and unmarked wings but so far only one of each of those types. Why is that? And they are different from the known fake, who has 20 grand to blow on two wings?

This wing in question may very well be a fake but I think you make far to broad statements on wings like this. Yes there are tons of fakes out there but there are also real ones as well. Our duty is to preserve them and seperate the wheat from the chaff. I think you are far to eager to toss the baby out with the bathwater before doing the proper research.

Cheers
Gary

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#25 Gary Cain

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 03:12 PM

2

This is the Meyer & Wenthe wing I refer to. The company was in existence from the teens until it was bought by BB&B in the mid 80's, I am currently in contact with the grandson who has the records and we are compiling a catlogue of all the military insignia the M&W produced during their long history. They do list the Observers wing BTW. So far we have not been able to determine how many were manufactured.

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