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Ebay warning...A.C.F.C. Pilot wing reproduction.


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It seems there's a listing on ebay about once a year for the sale of a rare A.C.F.C. marked ATC Ferry Command Pilot wing. In the past, a few have been authentic, but most are restrikes usually sold in a grouping with an authentic side-piece or two mixed in to lure its next victim into submission. Well, it happened again today and the victim may soon be out more than $828.00!


Take a look at ebay #231156417456. This ATC Ferry Command wing is a restrike and valued in the $40 to $50 range. Should you know the buyer, please give him a heads-up. I sure hate to see $800.00+ line the pockets of an unscrupulous sole! If by chance the buyer is a Forum member, please send me a personal email and I'll be happy to share some information with you.


Kind regards,




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I don't collect these, but would like to know for my own knowledge what makes this a restrike? Do you have an original to compare with?



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Well as an AAF DI collector the bullion ATC's would probobly retail between $150 and $300 each depending on the dealer. And some will get that price so it is not a complete lose but it still makes me sick to see this kind of thing. And the markings on the wing look more like a casting rather then the nice die struck fake like the one I have.

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I would NEVER have been able to tell that this was a restrike...I almost bid....


How on earth do you tell? What exactly is it? I went to the link provided to look at the "good" wings and see no difference...


However, those bullion DI's are to die for!

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Keeping in mind the original dies were used to pump out these restrikes, the best warning signs are found in the design and strike of the hallmark on the reverse. They just didn't get that hallmark right when making these restrikes. Bob's website has several authentic examples. Study those hallmarks, then compare it to the example posted above.


Here's another Forum thread which contains more nice images of authentic vs restrike:





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I agree with you LuftStalg1. The pair of bullion DI's included in this ebay offer are very nice...


Here's a comparison image of the hallmarks. Authentic on top...restrike below:









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I thought I would add my experience with these wings as there is much confusion with them out there, and these wings took up a big chunk of time in my collecting in trying to find one for my collection, as I was fascinated with the ACFC from the start. This is the information I have put together regarding these wings and you use discernment to make your own decisions.

***The Pictures at the end are set up as Authentic Wings first then Counterfeit Wings

I did a lot of research into ACFC wings before I bought my provenance ACFC wing from the Grandson of the ACFC pilot Robert Pace Pennington who was civilian pilot prior to our entry into the war. Mr. Pennington initially flew with the Air Corps Ferrying Command during lend – lease, as the "Pennington's" (big family) lived in Pleasant View, Tennessee near Nashville Tennessee, a major ACFC Hub. When war broke out Mr. Pennington went full military in the AAF for the ATC and was sent off to fly the HUMP in the CBI, from Assam to Kunming et al, where he quickly climbed to the rank of Major. Pennington spent the war supplying the Chinese, the 14th and 10th Air Forces and the various army units of great renown and the less known logistics network and support crews without which that renown would never have been. Major Pennington returned to the states and stayed in the Air Force after the war and retired a Lt. Col. in 1969. He went on to serve as County Judge for Cheatham County for eight years, which is back home in Pleasant View, Tennessee just north of Nashville and the beginning of his ACFC days.

The Air Corps Ferrying Command Wings were constructed in 2 forms, the first is silverplated brass, as the eBay wing above, which is the kind Capt. Pennington wore back in his Air Corps Ferrying Command days. There is a thin layer of silver over brass with a base wing frame and an attached roundel with the Air Corps Ferrying Command Morse code set in enamel with the original ACFC symbol representing an aircraft, later adopted by the ATC. The true ACFC wings have several identifying characteristics which identify them as authentic. The fakes, when looked at with the discerning eye, after pouring over the minute details of the real wings, have clear and obvious failures to assimilate at many points, with the original wings.

First, I'll discuss the Makers Mark of the authentic silverplated brass and STERLING model ACFC wings. The authentic silverplated brass model of the ACFC wings has a Makers Mark at the rear base of the escutcheon/roundel; the Makers Mark is aligned with a right and left Justification of the lettering of the first 2 lines and a centering of the last line which reads:


There is A LIGHT STRIKE on the second “T” of Attleboro on all of the silverplated brass authentic wings I have seen, which leaves an abbreviated column leading up to the crossbar of the "T" (which is an issue with the STERLING wing as well as you will see). The font is a smaller font and is identical wing to wing on all authentic ACFC silverplated brass wings. The counterfeit wings fall far from this Standard in that there font is much larger and in Justification of the lettering is OFF and there is a “.” (period) after the abbreviation "CO" which is erroneous (see pictures).

For the authentic full STERLING wings, the Makers Mark is placed at the rear base of the escutcheon/roundel with the first line centered, the 2nd line centered and the 3rd line centered as per below:


Now, for the authentic STERLING model of the ACFC wing Makers Mark, there is ANOTHER LIGHT STRIKE and in this case is the second "S" of "MASS" (see pic). The top of the second "S" at its endpoint is cut off, along with a little bit of the central body of the "S". Also, on the authentic STERLING model of the ACFC wing the actual third line of the Makers Mark where "STERLING" is stamped, the font is two to three times larger than the font on the first two lines of the Makers Mark.

On the counterfeit STERLING model badges, there is simply a re-stamp of the silverplated brass counterfeit wing’s erroneous Makers Mark with STERLING stamped on the reverse-inner-top of the Sinister (left to the wearer) wing, just next to the rear of the escutcheon/roundel will (see pics). The counterfeiters simply guessed at it or did not care as it is completely set apart from the authentic STERLING model ACFC wings.

The next issue regarding the authentic ACFC wings is the pin assembly. The pin assembly on both the STERLING and the silverplated brass model of the authentic wings is very distinct and has NOT BEEN COPIED PROPERLY AT ALL. The hinge for the pin on both models is characterized by two balloon nuts – FLAT ON BOTH THE INNER AND OUTER SIDES - with the base of the balloon nut, where the balloon comes down to a bottleneck where the basket would go on a hot air balloon, it is brazed to the surface of the rear of the wing on the Dexter (right side to wearer) side rear and the round three fourths of the nuts projects upward from the base with a hole in the center of the rounded area where a hinge bolt in secured through both balloon nuts and the pin itself. The hinge bolt protrudes very minimally, maybe less than 1 mm from the balloon nuts on either side of the outside edges. The pin itself opens 180° and the hinge point of the pin is the shape of a golf club head bent upward towards the staff of the club; therefore the pin at its base is essentially wrapped around the hinge bolt by the club head being bent in toward the staff and a circular section cut to fit around the hinge bolt perfectly. As you open the pin there is a "knob" of the “club head" which sticks out and follows clockwise as you open the pin.

The base of the pin has been planed to give it two flat surfaced sides by shaving off the rounded edges to fit the hinge assembly width. Now, a characteristic I have noticed on all of the authentic wings I researched before and gladly saw when I purchased my provenanced wing, is a slight 5 to 8 degree twist clockwise of the pin catch. When you look at the back of the wing, square at a right angle to you, you can see the twist clockwise. This is been constant across the wings that I have encountered that were good wings and you can see them in the below pics. The wings alluded to above from eBay, are pictured at a strange angle but it looks like the pin clasp is straighter than the ones I have seen but I could be wrong, and there were many pin repairs of course. But the actual HARDWARE of the pin clasp, the pin, balloon nuts, hinge bolt, Makers Mark are right on regarding the EBAY wing sited above.

The counterfeit ACFC wings that I viewed used a mushroom style hinge nuts where is flat on one side, where the pin base fits in, and mushroomed on outer side facing away from the pin base. There is a squared base to the pin itself which looks to be the type which inhibits full opening like on the Luxenberg and true Meyer wings. The authentic wings have the base of the pin rounded off on the outer edge of the nut so that it opens 180° instead of the 40° to 85° one of the squared base pins will allow in opening. The OUTER edge of the pin hinge shows the pin’s square base protruding past the oval of the nuts which is completely wrong as the authentic wing has the pin base virtually flush with the outer edge of the nuts when closed, just as the eBay wing sited above when you look at the closed pin and the outer edge of the hinge nuts, they are virtually flush with each other as opposed to the fake pin assembly where the square pin base sticks out.

Now let's move to the front of the wing where the most excellent and beautiful enamel work escutcheon/roundel is. This is the "Tell" which most miss because they don't think of the Morse Code on the front of the wing. Morse code is a series of dots and dashes grouped together in particular format to represent letters and certain punctuation marks which was used in aviation for over 90 years as a communications Standard. On the badges, the dots are the thin, colored vertical lines and the dashes are the thick, colored vertical lines and the white lines are simply spaces between the letters and dots and dashes and they run from nine o'clock to 12 o'clock on the roundel. Now, the true badges are VERY DISTINCT. In coloring they run RED .- = “A” / BLUE -.-. = “C” / RED ..-. = “F” / BLUE -.-. = “C” which of course is ACFC or Air Corps Ferrying Command (SEE PICS). There is one detail that is characteristic of the real wings across the board in the enamel and that is the tiny right triangle, invisible on some pics, RED thin mark symbolizing the “dot” in the Morse code “A” .- ; It is best seen under a magnifying glass directly. This confused me in my early research because it looked like the “A” was just a “dash” i.e. thick vertical line on the roundel at nine o'clock. But after viewing images at very high resolution and finally purchasing my provenanced badge, I saw that it is a TINY right triangle representing the “.” just below the thick vertical line representing the dash “-“ in the Morse code letter "A".

On the counterfeit badges the enamel is not only wrong regarding the Morse code but is usually poor in quality relative to the excellence of Robbins Company work. On the fake badges you will see the Morse code, and this is pathetic, is ATTEMPTED to be equivalent to AFATC or Air Force Air Transport Command which is the Morse code of the ATC which followed the ACFC in the July 1 of ‘42 . Whenever the counterfeits were struck in these wings, the reference that they use to make the enamel portion of the roundel, was a reference that was plentiful and readily available, that reference was the Air Transport Command roundels placed as collar DUI’s on the ATC pilots and crew and usually made by LaVelle. Counterfeiters are usually lazy and simply want to make something relatively similar to fool the new/neophyte collector and make a quick buck and this showed. One of the biggest mistakes on top of the AFATC Morse Code ATTEMP, was that the second letter, meant to be an F “..-.” ended up being an L “.-..” ; So they ended up with the letters “ALATC” whatever that's supposed to mean and a color sequence of Red “A”, Blue “L”, Red “A”, Blue "T", Red "C" (see pics).

The Ebay badge sited above has a lovely and excellent ACFC Morse Code enamel right down to the tiny right triangle partial red thin line for the dot “.”, just below the red thick vertical line representing the dash “-“ (and the white vertical line representing the space between) in the letter “A” (“.-“)….Perfect.

The last topic that I want to cover is the copper alloy ACFC DUIs. I have looked high and low and have seen these DUIs only with the Air Corps Ferrying Command authentic wings and only a few times. These particular DUIs have the proper enameling of the Morse code ACFC and are a fixed with the AMICO Makers Mark from late 30s early 40s. I have yet to encounter them in common DUIs being sold individually on eBay or otherwise. I see ACFC patches at times and of course ATC items more often than that but I have never seen these DUIs of copper or copper alloy make, anywhere during my searches. Of course I am not seeking out DUIs specifically but I come across them constantly. Lt. Col. Robert Pace Pennington had these, along with his gold bullion service pilot wings and gold bullion Major's leaves set aside as from the day he took them off and these DUIs are identical to my own except for I have one with the pin back. To find these DUIs with a wing with all the supporting factors I have pointed out, along with the fact that many of the ACFC pilots went into the ATC just like Lt. Col. Pennington did, I believe that the individual who purchased this little grouping has a splendid piece of history…. The only thing that breaks my heart regarding this Ebay lot, is that the person did not know the name of the pilot which I believe is one of the greatest blessings we have as collectors, and greatest responsibilities as well; for if we simply preserve pieces of metal and cloth, we only preserve the remnants of a significant period of time to history but when we save these remnants with the proper name ascribed to the warrior who wore them, we preserve the story of one of the Lives through which God made that period of time Significant to those who are wise enough to remember.

I hope this information, which I compiled when I was seeking out and waiting for the right ACFC wing to purchase, helps in seen these wings and the accompanying accoutrements with some expanded clarity. Blessings in your collecting Gentlemen.

STARTING WITH THE GOOD WINGS....the first set, WITH SAME ACFC DUI's, is straight from the late Lt Col Robert Pace Pennington's ACFC days, purchased from his Grandson Todd Pennington who is still in the Pleasant View area where Lt Col Pennington is buried. These are my provenance wings. Then various wings from Bob's Schwartz's excellent site "Aviation Wings and Badges of WWII" and others.




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----------------NOW FOR THE COUNTERFEIT ACFC WINGS FROM HERE DOWN ----------------------------





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