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Angus & Coote L pilot wings


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#1 B-17Guy

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 08:24 AM

Thought I would post these for discussion.
They are on ebay right now, and in my opinion they are bad.
People are already fighting over it.

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  • FC_L90_20_angus_coote_wings_01.jpg


#2 pfrost

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:32 AM

Thought I would post these for discussion.
They are on ebay right now, and in my opinion they are bad.
People are already fighting over it.


We had a very long (and somewhat contentious) discussion about some of the concerns about Australian-made wings some time ago. I had heard that the Angus & Coote wings were being made as restrikes. I have handled a few of these, and the are super sharp in detail. Much more so than would be expected for WWII vintage wings. It is almost as if the new crop of Angus & Coote wings are TOO pristine.

They are also showing up in the hands of many of the dealers I simply do not trust. I think :thumbdown:

This may be an interesting thread for you to read, even if most of it had to do with KG Luke

http://www.usmilitar...d...=Angus&st=0

#3 mshaw

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:43 AM

Firmin wings with super sharp detail are showing up as well. I recently passed on a Firmin Liaison wing because it looked to good to be true.

I think these Aussie and English wings are showing up far more than they should be; espcially the rare Alphabet letter wings. Also when the same sellers on Ebay produce them week after week.......

#4 bschwartz

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 10:02 AM

I'll pile on here. I totally agree that these are more than likely repros. The hallmark is just way too clear and everything is too crisp. Here's a link to my Angus & Coote pilot which I feel is original and shows the appropriate wear for a 65+ year old badge. While not a Liaison badge I think it clearly illustrates the difference between the hallmark and the slightly less crisp strike of a war time badge.

#5 KurtA

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 11:59 AM

100% fake.

#6 Paul S

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 04:32 PM

How does this one look to you?

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#7 Paul S

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 04:32 PM

And this one...

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#8 John Cooper

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 08:45 PM

I am glad to see this topic as I have often wanted to post my thoughts on this but felt it may ruffle too many feathers... but now that this has been posted I must top my hat into the ring. I guess what worries me most in the sheer amount of wings in the last year or so has been very high in my opinion. I was actually tracking sellers who always seem to have these wings and always in "mint" condition.

Cheers
John

#9 pfrost

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 10:06 PM

I am glad to see this topic as I have often wanted to post my thoughts on this but felt it may ruffle too many feathers... but now that this has been posted I must top my hat into the ring. I guess what worries me most in the sheer amount of wings in the last year or so has been very high in my opinion. I was actually tracking sellers who always seem to have these wings and always in "mint" condition.

Cheers
John


I recall hearing about the glut of rare Angus and Coote wings about 2 or 3 years ago, after one of Bob Chat's militaria shows. According to my source, these wings were being sold by a couple of dealers and the "problem" (such as it was) is that the wings were just "too mint". At that time, I was told that some of the other more reputable dealers had confirmed that these were either fakes or repops of the Angus and Coote wings.

Since that time, I have heard two different stories, one is that someone made a laser cut die to make an exact replica of WWII wings. I was curious and looked into what it took to make a laser cut dies on the internet. I couldn't be 100% sure, but from my limited understanding of the technique, I am not so sure you can actually use a laser to cut an exact die of an extant wing. Maybe you can, but it didn't seem like that was the way these things worked.

The second story I have heard, and this was more of hints from a number of other collectors and someone who used to be on the forum, that an exact die of these wings were made, but the owner of this die is keeping the number of these wings down, to keep the demand high. Supposedly, a cohort of dealers know who these people are and are in on the deal to some extent or another.

In both cases, I have never seen any proof or evidence of either of these theories being true.

On the other hand, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Angus & Coote or someone related to them has restarted production using the original dies, much like what was done by by NS Meyers and some other companies. Again, over the years, I have heard many rumors of intrepid wing collectors and dealers hitting up various companies and trying to get them to release or sell the dies or restrike from the original dies, wings. In fact, this is supposed to be the case with the J. R. Gaunt company and their dies (IIRC) and why you see so many questionable Gaunt wings around.

It is also possible, but unlikely, that an old stock of wings was found. I have seen it before and don't doubt that it will happen again. Maybe, someone found an old warehouse of stuff and that is what we are seeing. Frankly, I doubt that.

Interestingly enough, the two likely culprit bad wings (Gaunt and Angus & Coote) seemed to have poisoned ALL English-made and Australian-made wings by association. We had a rather heated debate about the hallmarks of the K G Luke wings in the past, and we frequently debate English made jump wings on this forum. I know a lot of people who shy away from any of these makers now.

What I have not seen for the Angus & Coote wings is a careful side by side analysis of what are known to be vintage wings and what are suspected to be fakes. I would expect that the wings are essentially the same.

Patrick

#10 B-17Guy

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 11:28 PM

Glad the thread is getting so much attention.
It seems 9 out of 10 A&C wings on ebay these days are no good. It is too bad so many people are fighting over
a wing that is so clearly bad, especially with more information out there then ever...

This wing is much clearer and sharper then any good ones I have seen, including the A&C pilot wing in my collection.

I think ebay is a great resource for wings, but wow, buyer beware...

Best, John

#11 MikeK

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 07:23 AM

Hi,

I've also seen a lot of the type that started the thread being sold regularly by dodgy (US) sellers. There's one guy (tiger something) that has commonly listed all 3 S, G & L wings marked for both Angus and Coote and for Firmin at the same time - and then again a few weeks later (do you want me to post several dozen pics?)! They ALL have the same look to me - very crisp details (near perfect dead straight and super sharp lines on the shield for example) and imo an even (probably chemical) patina. For me, they do not even look like genuine silver - they certainly do not patina like it.

I'll come out and say it; Paul S, I like your Air Crew Wings but I think your Pilot is a dead match for the imo fake at the top of the thread (minus the attached Liason shield of course).

Re die characteristics, I'll disagree with Patrick as I do not think these repros match the probable originals 100% - only 95% but the 5% in the fine details is enough to give them away with decent pics. As such, I think a new set of dies have been made (quite possibly with computer aided input due the "perfect" details), rather than making a die from an original badge or restriking from original Aussie dies (both methods of which would show no variation from the probable originals). Patrick, I've also heard/read that Gaunt rumour, and knowing the English scene - no offense to UK collectors but there are some serious sharks dealing over there - I can well believe it.

Here I am making the assumption that the example linked in Post#4 is representative of an original. The other examples I've seen like this all look like they've got genuine wear, genuine silver patina and are rough around the edges. I would really like to learn of a set still in the hands of a WW2 US veteran (or his estate) known to have been stationed down here to prove it one way or the other though!

Regards
Mike

PS: with the high price of silver in the 1970s and probably 0 demand for US Pilot's Wings, I would speculate that it is unlikely that the A & C (and probably Firmin) wings in question are part of some sort of hoard find. I know Angus & Coote were fairly big jewellers then (still are) and I can't imagine them not recycling any old stock hiding in the basement at the time.

Edited by MikeK, 10 September 2010 - 07:29 AM.


#12 Paul S

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:20 AM

Mike, I agree with your assessment of my 2 wings. The Air Crew wing was 1 of 2 that came from an original estate. They were found among the manís things, wrapped in original papers, as-new condition, but with that unmistakable toning that untouched silver can take on when not cleaned for decades. The manís service number led to information indicating he had served in the 5th or 13th Air Force. Iím very comfortable with the Air Crew wing. The pilot wing, I am not so sure of.

I think the laser technology often mentioned in conjunction with making reproductions or copies, is used to make accurate measurements for transfer to an automated die makeróa CNC arrangement. Replication from original models, including sizing up or down, is an old technology that has been done for centuriesÖtake a look at some of the old coins of the 1850s or even earlier and marvel at the detail they were able to get back then without all the technology. It was expensive though, and required a high degree of skill on the part of the die maker. Even industrial machinists have been long accustomed to working to .001Ē tolerances or about 1/3 the thickness of a sheet of paper.

I asked a local jeweler in the business of making intricate jewelry if he could have a die made from one of these AAF wings. It wasnít cheap, but he had no problem saying he could get it done. Once you have the die in hand, making wings would be simply a matter of finding the right flat stock and hooking up a small hydraulic pump.

If you were to sell maybe a half-dozen $300 wings fraudulently represented as original, you might recoup your costs. However, as we who watch these things pretty closely have observed, once the seller overdoes it, he kills his market to some extent and prices dive. I donít know what the break-even point would be, but perhaps those sellers of $50 modern sterling wings are providing a baseline approximation. Once the prices cave in, then he has to sell even more to make any money and the buyers simply dry up leaving you with a Meyer kind of situation. Even Meyer repros that are offered as such have some value to some people.

Iíve got some mixed emotions about the situation, but will leave those thoughts to another posting.

#13 mshaw

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 12:37 PM

The sad thing is that it doesn't matter if we have Australian or English wings in our collections that we are certain are legitimate. The market for these wings has been effectively destroyed since most collectors dismiss them as probable fakes. Even if we never intend to sell it, knowing that it is rare and valuable to others is an important part of collecting it. I collect Civil War as well and this has happened with Confederate Civil War belt plates. Many collectors won't touch one unless it has been dug from the ground since fakes abound. The prices are so high that one doesn't want to take the chance of being burned. No doubt about it, fakes are the scourge of all collecting fields.

#14 Paul S

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 07:50 AM

I've put together the wings posted above to better illustrate some of the differences I see. The pilot shield on some of the originals previously examined is a bit rounder and more squat, less angular than this one.

The wings are exactly the same length and weigh the same within 2-3 tenths of a gram. It's obvious that whoever is making the later versions has taken pains with the details, and I suppose in a sense, I'm grateful for that.

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#15 B-17Guy

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 03:59 PM

Thought I would add these pics of a pair of known, good, Angus & Coote Pilot Wings.
Picked these up from Ron Burke a while a go.

Cheers,
John

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  • A_C_pilot_wings_002.jpg
  • A_C_pilot_wings_001.jpg


#16 pfrost

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 05:04 PM

Thought I would add these pics of a pair of known, good, Angus & Coote Pilot Wings.
Picked these up from Ron Burke a while a go.

Cheers,
John


Here is mine. Sadly, mine had spent some time thumb tacked to a board in an old bar/restaurant. Someone took off the catch and hinge and then elmer glued a couple of thumb tacks to the back. sheesh..... :crying:

I got this long ago, and have every reason to think it is ok. The details on this one are not nearly as sharp as the ones I feel may be fakes.

Just my 2 cents.

Patrick

BTW, I was confidentially informed that some of the Angus and Coote wings may be from new dies.

P

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  • pilot_angus.jpg


#17 MikeK

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 05:59 PM

Hi Patrick,

I agree, a genuine example - pity about the hardware!

Imo the A&C Pilot's Wings (and those derived from them, such as the lettered wings) are the easiest to determine. All the originals I've seen, in addition to the obverse shield details, have a die flaw on the reverse. The example linked in Post#4 and those shown in Post#15 & #16 all have it. The example in SW, P & G (V1) and my own example all clearly show it - when you know where to look! The type at the top of the thread does not have it - another reason that lead me to believe new dies were involved (thanks for that confirmation Patrick - any idea where they are being made?).

Regards
Mike

#18 John Cooper

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 07:07 PM

I would like to thank everyone for posting their thoughts and doing so in a thoughtful and civil manner. Please keep the information flowing!

Cheers
John

#19 Paul S

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 09:09 PM

O.K., so now we have established a pretty good comparative means of determining period from modern. What is a modern reproduction of this quality worth? Absent a persuasive sales pitch from the producer(s), I would think that all types should have exactly the same value, similar to the Meyers at $25 or so.

Personally, I think there is a place for a high quality reproduction of rare pieces, although I would like to see them responsibly marked by their makers to clearly identify them as modern pieces. These are good enough that the young men qualified to wear the wings originally would likely have no objection to wearing these--they are proudly wearing sta-brite now, for goodness sake.

Beyond the purist aspect of accepting nothing but original period pieces for a collection, what really differentiates one wing from another in a given type and maker? The airmen themselves rarely marked their wings in any way and for those that come from known estates, what really supports the assertion that those pieces are what the seller represents. I'm not saying this well and I know you are coiling to pounce, so let me pose the illustration below; one that I've been struggling to rationalize myself.

The grouping came from the same original estate. There is nothing of any particular rarity in the group--just a nice WWII Meyer Bombardier, a 22M Meyer USAF, a 22M Meyer Missleman, all in sterling and a DI. There are no markings on the reverse to identify the original owner/wearer. However, I know the man was one of the lead bombardiers on the August '43 Ploesti mission, flying with a CMOH recipient on a mission that resides firmly and substantially in history. To my mind the association imparts a value much greater to them than their apparent value. But how do I ensure the association when the family members are non-responsive? The pieces themselves support nothing more than their obvious Meyer pedigree.

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Edited by Paul S, 12 September 2010 - 09:14 PM.


#20 Paul S

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 05:46 AM

Here is how the subject wing of this thread came out...makes you cringe. There are 4 bidding over $100. After those 4 get theirs, does the demand drop? Well, there is no shortage of cliches to cover this kind of situation...maybe it's just a good example of nature's culling process.

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  • AC_Liaison.JPG

Edited by Paul S, 13 September 2010 - 05:48 AM.


#21 B-17Guy

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 06:33 AM

Well, I was looking around on ebay this morning, and look what I found.
There appears to be no end to them...
In my opinion...more bad wings. This one, plus other A&C wings. Site seems to be a mix of good and bad wings. Seller may honestly not know the difference.
Thanks for posting the finish of the auction Paul. Looks like our discussion did not hurt the bidding process.

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#22 John Cooper

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 08:00 PM

Hi,

I've also seen a lot of the type that started the thread being sold regularly by dodgy (US) sellers. There's one guy (tiger something) that has commonly listed all 3 S, G & L wings marked for both Angus and Coote and for Firmin at the same time - and then again a few weeks later (do you want me to post several dozen pics?)! .



If you look for that seller he has several more available on Ebay the last I checked a few days ago.

John

#23 MikeK

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 05:25 AM

Hi John,

Yes, I saw them - at least one Ludlow (or was it Firmin) marked example from memory too unfortunately.

Regards
Mike

#24 John Cooper

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 08:20 PM

Well Mike et al.

Looks like the prices for these "wings" is dropping fast. The Angus & Coote S and L wings solf for only $100 each. If it keeps going down like this I will buy them just to study them. The only sad thing is years from now someone will buy these and will not know the difference.

John


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