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Wing of questionable vintage?

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With all of the frenzy of the recent high calibre collection of wings and patches being offered on ebay, I was wondering when people would start to jump on the band wagon. I expect some good wings to be offered as people start to cash out on some very high prices, and some questionable pieces to be offered.

 

This is one of those pieces that (IMHO) has a tough time making me believe it iis a WWI USN wing.

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...em=250240597079

 

I see some very obvious signs of this wing being cast. Notice the casting bubbles on the back of the wing, and what looks a great deal like the casting "tree" on the right tip of the wing. IMHO, this wing looks a great deal like the ones that frequently show up on ebay as cast reproductions by *************** Gallery. I have had the chance to study and examine a number of gold insignia, including USN wings, and they did not look like this. Much higher quality and care in construction. One of the major problems is that so few people actually have every had or seen a real 14K USN wing for this time period.

 

I guess it is possible that this is a vintage WWI cast 14K wing, but this is why those cast reproductions are so dangerous. How do you know that the same people who made the cast fakes sold as such at *************** Gallery or other people who use a similar method arent selling them as the real deal? Or that once these wings enter in collection, that they aren't subseqeuntly sold as the real deal later?

 

Although, with the price of gold being as high as it is, I suspect the gold value alone likely covers most of the value of something like this. One wonders if this wing is actually 14K gold?

 

I know of the person who is offering this wing, and I fear and suspect that I may engender some fury with this post and the suggestion that it isnt really a WWI wing, but it ought to be discussed in a polite manner.

 

Patrick

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Hey Patrick,

 

I agree with you on this one. Clearly a cast wing and as you say, when? I know they did cast wings back then, but unless there is provenance I don't buy them. There was a beautiful, real BB&B at the SOS that a friend of mine picked up for 1200. He then sold it to another guy for 1350 about 20 minutes later and that is still a good deal in my opinion. When the real stuff is out there(albeit for a pretty penny) why waste time and money on that which is unproveable?

 

As in all things, the guys who have lots of money and no time for research will often have very nice things....and a whole passel of crap as well!

 

Gary


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"YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH RED WINE, TOO MANY BOOKS, OR TOO MUCH AMMUNITION."

Rudyard Kipling

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With all of the frenzy of the recent high calibre collection of wings and patches being offered on ebay, I was wondering when people would start to jump on the band wagon. I expect some good wings to be offered as people start to cash out on some very high prices, and some questionable pieces to be offered.

 

This is one of those pieces that (IMHO) has a tough time making me believe it iis a WWI USN wing.

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...em=250240597079

 

I see some very obvious signs of this wing being cast. Notice the casting bubbles on the back of the wing, and what looks a great deal like the casting "tree" on the right tip of the wing. IMHO, this wing looks a great deal like the ones that frequently show up on ebay as cast reproductions by *************** Gallery. I have had the chance to study and examine a number of gold insignia, including USN wings, and they did not look like this. Much higher quality and care in construction. One of the major problems is that so few people actually have every had or seen a real 14K USN wing for this time period.

 

I guess it is possible that this is a vintage WWI cast 14K wing, but this is why those cast reproductions are so dangerous. How do you know that the same people who made the cast fakes sold as such at *************** Gallery or other people who use a similar method arent selling them as the real deal? Or that once these wings enter in collection, that they aren't subseqeuntly sold as the real deal later?

 

Although, with the price of gold being as high as it is, I suspect the gold value alone likely covers most of the value of something like this. One wonders if this wing is actually 14K gold?

 

I know of the person who is offering this wing, and I fear and suspect that I may engender some fury with this post and the suggestion that it isnt really a WWI wing, but it ought to be discussed in a polite manner.

 

Patrick

 

Patrick,

 

Yes, it does appear to be a casting. That having been said, the findings (pin, clasp, hinge, etc) appear to be old. My suspicion is this wing was made to deceive.

 

Now I also do suppose that some jewelers back in 1918 may very well have made wings by casting.

 

This is a wing that could be original, but the ultimate owner will have always have to "make excuses" for it.

 

For me, this wing falls into the; "If it came from the family in a named group, I would have no problem with it" category. But since it is "on the loose" I would be leery before dropping a lot of money on it.

 

Chris


767409605_sigcustom3.png.e95257302e2a500ba241cd8cdc44ff0c.png

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I don't see any markings in the images.....am I just missing them?


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Hi Jon,

 

If you look at the photo of the whole back of the wing, and focus first on the left side. You will see a number of what looks very much like casting bubbles. The close up view of the wings do not show that region. Second, if you look at the back of the wings near the very right tip (beyond the edge of the hinge), you can see a rather large circle of metal. That looks (to me, and sure, I may be wrong) like the place where the metal was poured into the mold, and then clipped off after it hardend.

 

***maybe the moderators can let me know if we can post photos from an auction without getting in trouble***

 

Another point to ponder. These wings seem to be made to LOOK like they are die cast. they have a semi-cliche back. This type of back would have been made when the "pusher" part of the die was stamped down on a sheet of gold metal, thus driving the metal into the receiver part of the die. Many fake wings are made by making a casting of a wing, then forcing molten metal (usually molten silver or silver alloy) into this casting. WHen the metal cools it leaves little casting flaws and bubbles.

 

However gold is easily cast and stamped. Why would a 1918-vintage jeweler make a casting of a wing, and then inject metal into the mold? And why would he want to make a cast wing look like it was die struck?

 

IMHO, this wing was MADE to look like a die struck wing with the intent to deceive, as Chris pointed out.

 

Patrick

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Patrick,

 

I agree with your first post....something doesn't appear correct, but can't put a finger on it.

 

I clicked on the link and the seller added "HALLMARKED / STAMPED 14KT GOLD!", and I don't see it. That's the "markings" I don't see. Am I missing the hallmark and 14k stamp?


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I believe one of the photos shows a 14K stamp on the right side of the wing, but its not clear.

 

Patrick

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If my wife's wedding ring had a 14k stamp that resembled that, she'd thing the diamond was a CZ......nuff said.


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heh....I ran this by my girlfriend who has a rather mercenary feel for the quality and (especially) price of jewelry. She said something very similar about I had better not try to slip anything into a Valantine's day present that looked like that....unless I wanted to sleep with the dogs for a few weeks.

 

P

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***maybe the moderators can let me know if we can post photos from an auction without getting in trouble***

 

Patrick,

 

We don't mind, but ask that you cite where you got it from, provide a link to the original source (if known or still available), and as long as you didn't get it from a site that retains exclusive rights to, and takes measures to protect, its images.

 

For the most part, using an image from the www on the forum, in a not for profit manner, is within the "Fair Use" provisions of copyright law.

 

Posting an image on a public auction usually makes it public domain.

 

Chris


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Guest rustywings
With all of the frenzy of the recent high calibre collection of wings and patches being offered on ebay, I was wondering when people would start to jump on the band wagon. I expect some good wings to be offered as people start to cash out on some very high prices, and some questionable pieces to be offered.

 

This is one of those pieces that (IMHO) has a tough time making me believe it iis a WWI USN wing.

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...em=250240597079

 

I see some very obvious signs of this wing being cast. Notice the casting bubbles on the back of the wing, and what looks a great deal like the casting "tree" on the right tip of the wing. IMHO, this wing looks a great deal like the ones that frequently show up on ebay as cast reproductions by *************** Gallery. I have had the chance to study and examine a number of gold insignia, including USN wings, and they did not look like this. Much higher quality and care in construction. One of the major problems is that so few people actually have every had or seen a real 14K USN wing for this time period.

 

I guess it is possible that this is a vintage WWI cast 14K wing, but this is why those cast reproductions are so dangerous. How do you know that the same people who made the cast fakes sold as such at *************** Gallery or other people who use a similar method arent selling them as the real deal? Or that once these wings enter in collection, that they aren't subseqeuntly sold as the real deal later?

 

Although, with the price of gold being as high as it is, I suspect the gold value alone likely covers most of the value of something like this. One wonders if this wing is actually 14K gold?

 

I know of the person who is offering this wing, and I fear and suspect that I may engender some fury with this post and the suggestion that it isnt really a WWI wing, but it ought to be discussed in a polite manner.

 

Patrick

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Here is the first image. You can see the yellow arrow on the left points to were there are clear casting flaws and bubbles. The yellow arrow on the right points to a structure that while not totally clear, appears to be the "casting tree" (ie the point where the metal is poured into the mold. This would not occur on a die struck piece.

 

Also, notice that the wing has a "hollow back", a rim around the upper shoulders and a cliche pattern (a mirror image of the front) in the area behind the shield. Normally, these structures would only occur where the back pusher part the the die strikes and pushes the metal into the reciever part of the die. To get this type of structure in a cast piece, you would have to use something like a "lost wax" process where a hollow casting of a wing had metal injected into it, and once it hardend, the cast piece was removed. This was/is the way in which many MANY wings are faked.

 

While I conceed, it is possible that a jeweler in the 1918 time period took the effort to cast a wing--made a mold, prepared the metal and cast the wing, then left casting flaws, poorly defined details, and a huge chunk of the casting tree behind....and did this in 14K gold!?!

 

BTW, these are from the auction cited in the original post above.

post-1519-1209187130.jpg

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Here is the close up of the "cliched" back (left arrow) and the casting tree (right arrow). Again, to me, this looks like a cast wing attempting to pass itself off as a die struck wing of a rare and highly sought after pattern.

 

Here is what I think this wing really should look like (although, mine isnt in 14K gold).

 

Notice the crisp and super sharp details. Especially around the anchor and the shield. All the WWI vintage gold wings I have seen have this level (if not greater) of detail.

post-1519-1209187865.jpg

post-1519-1209188105.jpg

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I am no expert and I do not have any wings of this type but from what I have been told is that the planchet was or could be cast to create the size needed to fit the die before the wing could be struck.

 

This could explain the casting look on the reverse... thoughts?


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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I could also believe that a Naval Aviator wanted a set of "gold wings" and had a small jeweler make them up for him. That jeweler may not have had the ability to die-strike wings and thus used a lost wax process to cast them.

 

In that case, that it seems little to no attempt was made to hide that these wings were castings may actually be a point in their favor. A jeweler making a set of wings in 1918 would not be overly concerned with the back of the badge.

 

Like I said however, this wing actually has some good points going for it; primarily the old findings (yes, I know that findings can be removed from other old jewelry). The trouble with a wing like this is how do you determine if it was made in 1918 or 1981? Simply, you can't.

 

A proper WW1 era Naval Aviator wing in 14k is probably a $2K to $3K item. This one may even be good, but "on the loose" without provenance requires too many rationalizations, and excuses.

 

Personally, I will pass on this one.

 

Chris


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Hi John,

 

You raise an interesting point. However, I dont think that a jeweler would first cast a planchet and then strike the wing in a die. Clearly, this wing is cast using the lost wax method. Also, despite the fact that this wing doesnt even LOOK like its made of 14K gold (the buyer would be very smart to get this tested by a jeweler!), the quality of this wing falls very short of other wings of this period. Remember, buying a 14K gold wing would have been a very big step UP in quality than the normal sterling silver wings. Likely, it would have been special ordered. And I assure you that no jeweler in his right mind would have wasted so much gold on POS like this wing. It is poorly detailed, unfinished, full of casting flaws and bubbles (which are caused by impurities in the metal). They didnt even finish off the excess metal from the casting tree!

 

As to Chris' point, jewelry of that time period was as high a quality as could be expected. In fact, some of the best quality wings were made by local jewelers. As I said, it is hard to imagine that someone would acually pay more for this simply because of the "14K" stamp and the for the higher quality that would be expected for a wing like this.

 

Ironically, Had this been a wing that was marked "1/20th10K Sterling", it wouldnt even be up for discussion (or if it was being sold by MrMac on ebay as a reproduction). However, as it is being sold as a 14K BB&B "like" WWI wing, and it is being sold by someone who makes it clear in this "ME" page on ebay that he is a collector of high end US wings....with a "all sales final, no returns" policy...Clearly the seller isnt even willing to stand by this wing.

 

I dont have any 14K or even 10K gold wings (which would have been more common), but I do have some very early WWI-1930's period wings that I can compare to this wing. In fact, I believe I have a wing that is the pattern that was used to cast this wing. My gut feeling is that this is one of the *************** reproductions trying to be passed off as the real thing.

 

Here are the fronts of some early USN wings. Pay especially close attention to details around the anchor, the feather, the featherlets in the shoulder and the sharpness and crispness of details.

post-1519-1209234316.jpg

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Here is a side by side comparison of the wings. I tried to scale everthing to the same level. Arrows indicate points of comparison.

 

So maybe I am belaboring the fact that the ebay wing is a casting and not a die struck version. And Chris' ponit that it is impossible to tell when it was cast is spot on accurate.

 

On the other hand, it is not that hard to get these old pin and hinges. I was recently at a jewelry expo (I told you my girlfriend collects jewelery like I collect wings) and you could by boxes of these things. They still make them and they are still available. This seems to be a wing collecting urban legend that it is difficult to find these hinges and catches for jewelry.

post-1519-1209234489.jpg

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Last reply...I have been playing on computer rather than going out to mow lawns...

 

Here is a comparison of thewings. You can see that the middle wing is likely the wing that was used as a pattern for the ebay wing. I got bored and stopped the side by side comparisons, but the back of my wing and the back of the ebay wing are also very similar.

post-1519-1209234899.jpg

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Patrick,

 

I believe you are correct, the ebay wing, appears to be a casting of the pattern wing you have.

 

Also agree, it is a myth that antique findings are "iron-clad" proof a wing is real. There are multiple ways to get antique findings; reproductions are available, and they can be salvaged from antique jewelry headed for scrap.

 

Fortunately, many fakers are lazy, and rarely do you see antique findings on fake wings. Hence my comments earlier about suspecting this wing to be "made to deceive."

 

I think in this case, the bad outweighs the good. This wing is probably only worth it's weight in gold (if it really is gold).

 

On a side note, the wings on the auction look nothing like the Baily, Banks, and Biddle wings:

 

post-594-1209238159.jpg

 

Chris


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Howdy Chris, I love the BB&B wing. It's sooooo niccceeee!

 

The thing I fear is that as prices keep going up, it wont be long before people stop being lazy and start making better repops. I think that in many ways, US collectors and US wing collectors are in a unique situation in that (1) much of this stuff is still around, and (2) many honest people with good collections are willing to share knowledge (such as on this forum) and (3) many very good publications exist that allow for people to get some idea of the original items.

 

However, as the prices go up, I expect to see more fakes of better quality come out. We may stand on the edge of what the German collectors faced, so many fakes that the hobby is almost impossible to enjoy.

 

Patrick

 

 

Patrick,

 

I believe you are correct, the ebay wing, appears to be a casting of the pattern wing you have.

 

Also agree, it is a myth that antique findings are "iron-clad" proof a wing is real. There are multiple ways to get antique findings; reproductions are available, and they can be salvaged from antique jewelry headed for scrap.

 

Fortunately, many fakers are lazy, and rarely do you see antique findings on fake wings. Hence my comments earlier about suspecting this wing to be "made to deceive."

 

I think in this case, the bad outweighs the good. This wing is probably only worth it's weight in gold (if it really is gold).

 

On a side note, the wings on the auction look nothing like the Baily, Banks, and Biddle wings:

 

post-594-1209238159.jpg

 

Chris

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On a side note, the wings on the auction look nothing like the Baily, Banks, and Biddle wings:

post-594-1209440301.jpg

Unfortunately, neither do these.

 

Irrefutable evidence shows that the BB&B mark on the back of these wings is not appropriate for this pattern.

 

Sadly, these may actually have been vintage wings, that someone added the hall-mark to, in an attempt to "enhance" their value. Regardless, BB&B never made this pattern wing, and so their hallmark is completely incongruous on this particular wing. Of course, even if they were once good, now they are fakes.

 

Some days you are the windshield, some days you are the bug.

 

Just wanted you guys to know.

 

Chris


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HI Chris,

 

I was looking through the USN Wings of Gold book, and it looks like it could similar to a wing shown on page 16.

 

Patrick

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I guess it is possible that this is a vintage WWI cast 14K wing, but this is why those cast reproductions are so dangerous. How do you know that the same people who made the cast fakes sold as such at *************** Gallery or other people who use a similar method arent selling them as the real deal? Or that once these wings enter in collection, that they aren't subseqeuntly sold as the real deal later?

 

*************** Gallery seems above board in its dealings, but you are correct that others may not be and that, as with those faked helmets on Ebay, they do get resold by others who know, but don't disclose, that they are reproductions. This is not unique to militaria.



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Revisiting this once more:

 

The owner of the *************** Gallery is whining big time about the comment "How do you know that the same people who made the cast fakes sold as such at *************** Gallery or other people who use a similar method arent selling them as the real deal?" and threatening to sue someone.

 

As noted in my previous post his business does in fact seem to be above board, and if you take the time to actually read the the quote that has the Gallery owner's panties all in a bunch, it merely conjectures about the "people who made the cast fakes sold as such at *************** Gallery." and wonders if the people who make them might be selling them elsewhere "as the real deal?" It does not say that *************** Gallery might be selling them elsewhere as the real deal, now does it? Nooooo, it simply conjectures that someone who makes them might be doing that.

 

So the question was "How do you know....?" Well, ***************'s owner - who is a forum member - could have actually read the question carefully and then posted an answer to it right here - but nah, that would be to easy. People who make and/or sell fakes and reproductions (and I have no idea if *************** actually makes the stuff it sells) should know by now that people are going to ask questions and that a lot of collectors are going to hate them for putting fakes on the market because we all know for sure that even if the original seller is above board, some of those pieces are going to be resold later as the "real thing." Instead of flying off the handle when the inevitable questions are asked, it would seem that a better way to do business would be to post a sincere, reasoned response, not issuing threats.



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... it would seem that a better way to do business would be to post a sincere, reasoned response, not issuing threats.

 

As the old saying goes, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

 

This sadly seems a hard thing for many people to understand. Disagreements and misunderstandings happen. Its happened to each of us at some point when we've innocently stated or done something that someone else interprets in a negative way. Rather than making a kind and reasoned "I beg to differ" response to the individual issuing the statement, people these days appear to immediately go into "attack mode." Threats and/or confrontation (such as cussing, belittling, and the always famous "I'll sue" comment by the legally misinformed) only make the person using such tactics appear inappropriate, childish, arrogrant, or just a downright jerk.

 

Fact is, if a person has a misunderstand and/or dispute (in ANY aspect of life), a person can win people to their side more easily by gentle persuasion and flattery than by hostile confrontation.

 

So, please remember that the next time someone says or does something that just doesn't sit right with you.


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