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AVIATION BADGES AND INSIGNIA OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY

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I was offered a copy of J. Duncan Campbell's book: "AVIATION BADGES AND INSIGNIA OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY 1913-1946". It is a 1991 edition and the seller wants $40.00 for it. After looking through it, I was wondering if it is still relevant? I know that at one time, this was THE book to go to. But with b/w illustrations and few if any detailed photos, is it still a good reference? By now, isn't most of his information reprinted in newer books?


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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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It's an OK book and has some info not found in other more recent books. 40 is a little steep unless it is in minty condition.

I was offered a copy of J. Duncan Campbell's book: "AVIATION BADGES AND INSIGNIA OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY 1913-1946". It is a 1991 edition and the seller wants $40.00 for it. After looking through it, I was wondering if it is still relevant? I know that at one time, this was THE book to go to. But with b/w illustrations and few if any detailed photos, is it still a good reference? By now, isn't most of his information reprinted in newer books?

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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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Beast,

 

alibris has copies available for $75-199. While you could probably get it a little bit cheaper, everyone interested in the subject matter should have a copy.

 

Chris


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Think of it this way, if you want to even THINK about buying a WWI pilot wing, you need to budget at least 1000$ for a "common" run of the mill wing. Perhaps a bit less for a WWI bullion wing, and up over 2500-3000$ for a nice rare hallmarked wing with some provenance.

 

To enter this field, you need to be willing to go up against guys with lots of experience looking at these rare items AND be willing to spend the money when the show up. It is not a field for a novice.

 

That being said, really only 3 or 4 sources exist that illustrate WWI wing, and Duncan Campbell was one of the first and best regarded collectors to share his knowledge in a book. A couple of people have expanded on his work, but I think that book remains a critical baseline for any collector.

 

Compare the potential near fortune that you would have to spend to get even one wing via ebay, or Mannions, or a militaria show vs the 40$ it would cost to educate yourself.

 

For me, it wouldnt even be a subject to debate, I would buy the book.

 

Just my 2 cents

 

Patrick

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You can pick them up for $28 sometimes, but you will have to wait many months, or even a year. It's really not worth the wait if you are looking to get into the field right now. The sooner you learn, the sooner you can buy.

 

Honestly, I've read every wing book out there, and there is no substitute for a mentor who knows what he/she is talking about. You need to handle wings, and see them. You need to examine as many wings as you can; real and fake alike. The hardest part is learning all of the differences. Unfortunately, as soon as you get them down, a new generation of fakes may fool you. Talk to as many people as you can. Try to learn who sells garbage, and who doesn't. Read websites like this and make respectable honest friends in the community that you can rely on for help. Before you start meeting people, buy all of the wing books you can. Please build a solid foundation before you enter the peculiar world of wings. Be honest. The second you falter, you become one of "those people" that nobody trusts. Don't let that happen...ever. There are people in this field that I will never deal with again, even if I see them fly away under the power of their own newly begotten wings. LOL

 

The expertise of the forgers is a growing concern since they are learning how to replicate the hardest details. Some of the latest fakes even fool experts today. What was once a tell-tale sign of a fake starts to disappear with each successive generation of forgeries. The prices people are paying today are driving the forgery market further with each record increase, and it isn't going to get any better.

 

It has gotten to the point where I don't even consider them anymore unless the provenance is absolutely flawless. Try to get a wing from a family member who has a picture/s showing the wing on the uniform. Even better would be the entire uniform in the photo with the wing still attached. There are still some sons and daughters around selling their father's wings from WWI. Later wars have surviving pilots you can still buy from, which is ideal. Keep in mind that museums deaccession material once in a great while. Those rare chances are worth the wait. Just because some so-called expert says a particular unattributed wing without provenance may be authentic, does not mean I am going to to spend $3,500 and up on a wing. I've seen people spend $5,000 for unattributed Tiffany wings. If that wing turns out to be fake, the most he or she will get back is about $125, unless they risk their entire reputation going rogue and selling it as authentic to recover the loss. It's just not worth the risk. IMHO, buying unattributed wings in today's world borders on stupidity, unless you can afford to heat your home by burning Fed notes in the fireplace. LOL

 

Yank

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Mr. Campbell's book is still relevant and as has been mentioned should be in every serious U.S. wing collector's library. $40.00 seems a fair price. It's long out-of-print so you just can't pick it up at Barnes & Noble.

Bobgee


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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Many thanks to all of those who replied! Having read the posts in this forum has spoiled me in many ways to the books that are out there. Mr. Campbell's book came out in the 70's and this edition is from 1991. The quality of the illustrations in the book do not have the detail of the macro photos that we see on this forum. So what I am buying is the text.

 

Is the text still accurate? At the time, Campbell was a leading if not the leading authority on wings. But what has been printed in the past 17 years? Leaving the price aside for the moment, is there a more comprehensive, better illustrated guide out there for the beginner? Or is Campbell's book still the best starting place?

 

I don't mind spending $40 on a good reference, but is there a better one out there for $75-$80?


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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Many thanks to all of those who replied! Having read the posts in this forum has spoiled me in many ways to the books that are out there. Mr. Campbell's book came out in the 70's and this edition is from 1991. The quality of the illustrations in the book do not have the detail of the macro photos that we see on this forum. So what I am buying is the text.

 

Is the text still accurate? At the time, Campbell was a leading if not the leading authority on wings. But what has been printed in the past 17 years? Leaving the price aside for the moment, is there a more comprehensive, better illustrated guide out there for the beginner? Or is Campbell's book still the best starting place?

 

I don't mind spending $40 on a good reference, but is there a better one out there for $75-$80?

 

 

Beast,

 

No there is no better reference. There are some newer ones that have some different material. But none of them really break any new ground. Campbell's book is still the best primer overall on the subject matter.

 

Besides, if it saves you one blunder, it will more than pay for itself.

 

Chris


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I don't mind spending $40 on a good reference, but is there a better one out there for $75-$80?

 

Duncan Campbell had a lifelong interest in U. S. military history and was a skilled archeologist. He collected U. S. military badges from 1927 until his death in 2007.

 

If you have any desire to start acquiring US Army wing badges, his standard book, Aviation Badges and Insignia of the United States Army, 1913-1946 is and will remain the bible on the subject for many years to come. The images in the book are a bit subpar since he used a Xerox machine to make them but in the long run those pictures are valuable beyond compare. With regard to the text, you will not find a better reference, and the text is often quoted in other publications.

 

The 1991 edition is an update to the 1977 publication and has an additional 16 pages of text with illustrations. The book went through three press runs from 1977 to 1991, with a combined total of 3,000 copies printed which accounts for its scarcity.

 

-cp


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