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IMPERIAL QUEST

A WWI Pilot & Observer wing for discussion

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Here are a couple of wings that I would like for our resident experts to offer opinions on please. The Pilot wing, I am not sure...I'm split 50/50 on this one. The Observer, well I am split on that one too. :unsure:

 

First, the Pilot wing (2 7/8''):

 

"US" appears very symmetrical, and there is good detail on the feathering...however, the wing tips appear overly rounded...does this mean anything? I am used to seeing them come to more of a point.

 

 

 

Reverse:

 

Should the tabs bend over the top or under the thread support strands??? think.gif

 

 

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The front shows good overall detail with the beaded "ridge" extending past the tip of the wing. It measures 2 1/8"

 

 

 

 

The reverse.

 

From my limited knowledge, at first glance the Observer wing looks good...however, the catch bothers me a little. Should it not have the more elongated barrel roller?

 

Also, was it common practice to glue the leather reinforcement pad to the reverse or should this be sewn?

 

 

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I just re-read my first post. I didn't mean to imply that only "expert" opinions are wanted, it was more in jest than anything else. All comments are welcomed...of course. ;)

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Let's throw another wing into the mix. A Pilot wing measuring 3 5/8'' across.

 

The detail is very good, there is some wear to the metal (looks like from polishing) and the backing material is near mint....hmmmmmm think.gif . Also, I still am not sure if the beaded ridge NOT extending past the wing tips is the "kiss of death"??

 

Front:

 

 

 

Reverse:

 

Note the pin/catch arrangement are opposite of what we usually see.

 

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The first one is typically associated with Durnham (and as such is called the Durnham wing). I know that this wing has been faked. I recall many years ago walking through a show in Baltimore, and seeing about 3 of these wings being offered by 3 guys who have rather "dark" reputations. At the time, I really tried to study those as I had deep doubts about those wings. If they were fakes, they were pretty good fakes and not obvious castings. These look good, but I would really want to look at them closely.

 

The observer half wing is 100%. With this pattern, look at the beads along the wings. The beads should be evenly spaced and regularly shaped. The beads should also extend past the tip. This is a wing I have almost no doubts about.

 

The last wing is harder to tell. The detail looks a bit soft. I also dont like the way the back is sewn as usually the fabric is tight (like on the 1/2 wing). It may be good, but I would want better pics. The US looks off, for example.

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The first one is typically associated with Durnham (and as such is called the Durnham wing). I know that this wing has been faked. I recall many years ago walking through a show in Baltimore, and seeing about 3 of these wings being offered by 3 guys who have rather "dark" reputations. At the time, I really tried to study those as I had deep doubts about those wings. If they were fakes, they were pretty good fakes and not obvious castings. These look good, but I would really want to look at them closely.

 

Patrick, what about the tab part of the question? I am inclined to envision that the backing would have been stretched over the backing plate, sewn in place, and then the metal pieces would have been pushed through and bent over the top of the cross stitching.....sound right?

 

One of the reasons that I make this assumption is that on the last wing we are discussing, the tabs are UNDER the cross stitching, and the mint condition felt on a worn wing screams replacement to me. Your thoughts?

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Patrick, what about the tab part of the question? I am inclined to envision that the backing would have been stretched over the backing plate, sewn in place, and then the metal pieces would have been pushed through and bent over the top of the cross stitching.....sound right?

 

One of the reasons that I make this assumption is that on the last wing we are discussing, the tabs are UNDER the cross stitching, and the mint condition felt on a worn wing screams replacement to me. Your thoughts?

 

I cant really speak about the two pilot wings with a great deal of authority because I dont see them that often. BUT, you do have what I believe is a real WWI observer Dallas wing.

 

Most of the Dallas-style wings I see, are built like this: First, each of the pieces has a U-shaped staple or tab that is attached to the underside of the wing. That fits into holes drilled into a brass backing plate that has had the pin/catch added. The Wing is built like a sandwich. First the front of the brass plate is covered with the wool fabric (I always get nervous when I see felt,--most of the good ones have wool fabric, IMHO). The tabs on the individual pieces of the wings were then pressed through the fabric, into the holes on the brass plate and then tightly cinched down. In my Dallas-style wing and the ones I have seen that I liked, the staples are rather thin, not huge big old tabs like the one shown BUT the wings may represent different company manufacturing techniques.

 

Then, the fabric is pulled VERY tight and sewn with a very nice tight seam. I REALLY do not like the cross-hatching stiching as it would be a place where the fabric would tear and the thread could break. Again, look at the seam on the observer wing!

 

It was my feeling that the fakers made the stitching like this so you could tell how the wing was made--kind of like a "see look, its made correctly". On the other hand, the wear and tear on a wing like that would have quickly broken the threads and the whole thing would unravel.

 

Just my thoughts, I may be wrong. I think the middle wing is good, the top and bottom wings need more study.

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I cant really speak about the two pilot wings with a great deal of authority because I dont see them that often. BUT, you do have what I believe is a real WWI observer Dallas wing.

 

Most of the Dallas-style wings I see, are built like this: First, each of the pieces has a U-shaped staple or tab that is attached to the underside of the wing. That fits into holes drilled into a brass backing plate that has had the pin/catch added. The Wing is built like a sandwich. First the front of the brass plate is covered with the wool fabric (I always get nervous when I see felt,--most of the good ones have wool fabric, IMHO). The tabs on the individual pieces of the wings were then pressed through the fabric, into the holes on the brass plate and then tightly cinched down. In my Dallas-style wing and the ones I have seen that I liked, the staples are rather thin, not huge big old tabs like the one shown BUT the wings may represent different company manufacturing techniques.

 

Then, the fabric is pulled VERY tight and sewn with a very nice tight seam. I REALLY do not like the cross-hatching stiching as it would be a place where the fabric would tear and the thread could break. Again, look at the seam on the observer wing!

 

It was my feeling that the fakers made the stitching like this so you could tell how the wing was made--kind of like a "see look, its made correctly". On the other hand, the wear and tear on a wing like that would have quickly broken the threads and the whole thing would unravel.

 

Just my thoughts, I may be wrong. I think the middle wing is good, the top and bottom wings need more study.

 

Thanks Patrick. You mentioned the cross stitching, that is something I was curious about tooo. It would seem to me that nearly 100 year old fabric with that kind of pressure would have given way and torn a long time ago. What you say makes sense to me. BTW...I don't own any of these wings, I was just trolling on the net and found them.

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One last thing.

 

This is something I have been arguing about for some time on a couple of other threads (ie this thread http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...hl=dallas+wings post #19).

 

I would say at least 6-8 companies made the "Dallas style" wings. in about as many styles. BB&B, Eisenstad, Dunham, Halthom, maybe a few others, I dont know.

 

You, for example, show TWO distinct Dallas style wings. The center wing is a classic pattern (but a near identical pattern exists with 3 feathers in the shoulder). The bottom wing, while also be a Dallas style wing is a totally different creature.

 

Fakes were made of the middle pattern using an original wing that was cast. Those wings, while they look good, have a couple of tells. They are slightly smaller, have distorted beads and the beads to not extend beyond the tips. THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR TELLING THOSE WINGS FROM THE ORIGINALS IN THAT PATTERN ONLY!!! BUT not so important for telling OTHER styles of Dallas wings from the fakes.

 

The bottom wing, for example, has beads around the feathers, but they dont extend past the tips. The real thing didnt have beads that extended past the tips. So, this may be a fake, but it is not a fake because the tips dont extend past the tips.

 

The top wing is kind of in the Dallas style (1 piece vs a 3 piecer, but still...). It doesnt have beads on the feather at all. So, I believe you have to be careful to use the correct characteristic for the correct wing when trying to tell the fakes from the good things. Like looking for tits on a bull. They aint there!

 

The real trick is to look for die struck wings, know how they were put together, know what type of fabric they used, and make sure the details are all there. The only way is to find wings in collections that you trust and study those (or examples that you know are fake and study them). Its hard to do, but that is the only fool proof, IMHO.

 

Patrick

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BTW, here is my half wing observer ( http://pfrost.bol.ucla.edu/images/observerwing.jpg ). It is almost exactly like the one you show, even with the bit of leather. On my wing, the leather is rather thin, almost as thin as tissue paper. I noticed a few years ago (and more recently), a guy trying to pass off some fakes but putting a big old piece of leather on the back. Much thicker than the originals.

 

Patrick

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One last thing.

 

This is something I have been arguing about for some time on a couple of other threads (ie this thread http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...hl=dallas+wings post #19).

 

I would say at least 6-8 companies made the "Dallas style" wings. in about as many styles. BB&B, Eisenstad, Dunham, Halthom, maybe a few others, I dont know.

 

You, for example, show TWO distinct Dallas style wings. The center wing is a classic pattern (but a near identical pattern exists with 3 feathers in the shoulder). The bottom wing, while also be a Dallas style wing is a totally different creature.

 

Fakes were made of the middle pattern using an original wing that was cast. Those wings, while they look good, have a couple of tells. They are slightly smaller, have distorted beads and the beads to not extend beyond the tips. THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR TELLING THOSE WINGS FROM THE ORIGINALS IN THAT PATTERN ONLY!!! BUT not so important for telling OTHER styles of Dallas wings from the fakes.

 

The bottom wing, for example, has beads around the feathers, but they dont extend past the tips. The real thing didnt have beads that extended past the tips. So, this may be a fake, but it is not a fake because the tips dont extend past the tips.

 

The top wing is kind of in the Dallas style (1 piece vs a 3 piecer, but still...). It doesnt have beads on the feather at all. So, I believe you have to be careful to use the correct characteristic for the correct wing when trying to tell the fakes from the good things. Like looking for tits on a bull. They aint there!

 

The real trick is to look for die struck wings, know how they were put together, know what type of fabric they used, and make sure the details are all there. The only way is to find wings in collections that you trust and study those (or examples that you know are fake and study them). Its hard to do, but that is the only fool proof, IMHO.

 

Patrick

 

Very good, thank you. Let's make this even more interesting by throwing a bullion wing (metal backing plate) in the mix. I know these are easily faked, but look at the ageing and wear on this. If it is a fake, it is one of the most convincing I have seen to date. If I was a betting man, I would say that this is 100% legit.

 

Front:

 

The material is a charcoal grey colored backing. This one was described as being an English theatre made example. To me, it is VERY convincing.

 

 

 

 

The reverse. Although this does not look English to me, the hardware definitely looks right for the period from what I can see.

 

 

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Steve,

 

All of these come from Snyder's Treasures:

 

http://www.snyderstreasures.com/

 

Charlie Snyder has quite a reputation. :blink:

 

The Observer wing above is a correct BB&B "Dallas" pattern. This wing is in very nice condition. It is very rare to find one with the leatherette backing still in place. The leatherette was glued on, to protect the stitching, and they are nearly always missing.

 

The two Dunham wings are suspect.

 

Note, if you examine the two pictures of the one-piece Dunham wings on Snyder's website, you will see that they both have what appears to be an identical fracture in the upper part of the right wing. This fact alone makes them highly suspect.

 

The only way to know for certain would be to compare these wings directly with a known good pair by Dunham, and using a micrometer, gauge the size.

 

Chris


767409605_sigcustom3.png.e95257302e2a500ba241cd8cdc44ff0c.png

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Very good, thank you. Let's make this even more interesting by throwing a bullion wing (metal backing plate) in the mix. I know these are easily faked, but look at the ageing and wear on this. If it is a fake, it is one of the most convincing I have seen to date. If I was a betting man, I would say that this is 100% legit.

IQ,

 

This is a good wing, but the aging and wear are not what makes it good, its the construction and three dimensionality of the way the bullion is executed. You are also correct that this is not an English made wing. It is a classic "American" style wing.

 

Chris


767409605_sigcustom3.png.e95257302e2a500ba241cd8cdc44ff0c.png

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Hi Chris,

 

All of these come from Snyder's Treasures...Charlie Snyder has quite a reputation.

 

Yea, I know.... fear.gif

 

This is a good wing, but the aging and wear are not what makes it good, its the construction and three dimensionality of the way the bullion is executed. You are also correct that this is not an English made wing. It is a classic "American" style wing.

 

Thank you Chris for the confirmation. This one just jumps out at me as saying "I HAVE BEEN THERE!" BTW...have any idea how the backing material and bullion is attached to that backing plate???

 

Thanks again for your input on all...

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BTW...have any idea how the backing material and bullion is attached to that backing plate???

 

IQ,

 

I can't see any stitches, so I am going to guess it is somehow glued on.

 

I don't see anything wrong with the backing plate/pin combination, but I have to say it is a little weird the way it is constructed--never seen one quite the same... I am pretty certain the wing on the front is good, I won't vouch for the backing plate, but I also don't have any problem with it.

 

If I found this wing "on the loose" I wouldn't have any issues with it at all.

 

Chris


767409605_sigcustom3.png.e95257302e2a500ba241cd8cdc44ff0c.png

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IQ,

 

I can't see any stitches, so I am going to guess it is somehow glued on.

 

I don't see anything wrong with the backing plate/pin combination, but I have to say it is a little weird the way it is constructed--never seen one quite the same... I am pretty certain the wing on the front is good, I won't vouch for the backing plate, but I also don't have any problem with it.

 

If I found this wing "on the loose" I wouldn't have any issues with it at all.

 

Chris

 

Chris,

 

Glued on was my thought as well. I have been contacted by more than one person after posting this to further expand on the seller's reputation. The wing is offered at a very good price I think, but I have been told in no uncertain terms to stay away at all costs. I get the feeling that I would come out on the losing end, so I will play it safe and digress. I have waited over twenty years for a good wing, so a while longer won't kill me. :lol:

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In regards to the bullion wing. I suspect at one time, the backing was wrapped totally around the plate (like you see with the other Dallas 1/2 wing). Over time, the material starts to wear along the edge of that backing plate, and it eventually cuts the fabric like a knife. I suspect that someone may have trimmed off the old fabric just leaving the stuff on the front of the plate. It may be glued or it may be just sitting there.

 

I have seen a number of interesting Bullion wings with backing plates like this. I have even seen bullion wings with a silk backing sewn over the stitching and then a safetypin being used to secure it to the uniform.

 

Patrick

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I will toss in my two pennies, I agree with Chris that the Bullion is good. I think the plate is a 1920's replacement however. Patrick, I don't see any evidence of fabric having covered the plate in the past. I have seen wings like you describe but I don't think this is one of those.

 

 

Cheers

Gary


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gif

 

 

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

Rudyard Kipling

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If you look at the edge of the plate, alongside the scalloped edges on the underside of the wing, you can see excess fabric sticking out. If this the result of a wing being cut to fit a plate and then glued on, it isnt logical that the excess fabric would remain.

 

The plate seems to have always been intended for the wing. Note the top part of the shield of the bullion wing comes to a very obvious point. Also note that the top part of the plate comes to an obvious point. IMHO, these things were intended to be together. Of course, without handling it, its hard to know for sure, but it sure seems that their is excess fabric.

 

Patrick

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Here is something that may help with bullion wings. A few years ago, a very advanced collector sat down and spent a few moments educating me. One of the things he talked about was "sun aging" or "bleaching" of the fabric of a wing. This is especially true of wings that saw a lot of wear and tear.

 

He said that a wing will show different bleaching patterns if it is due to age as opposed to artificial aging. Because of the process involved with artificial aging (usually done with a bleach or other similar liquid) you almost always get BOTH the front and back of a bit of fabric bleached...the liquid soaks through and so both sides will be the same.

 

On the other hand, natural aging will only affect the surface that faces the sun. IF a wing was sewn on a uniform, for example, then the underside should be protected and a darker color. So, if the front and back are different, then you should have a better confidence that the aging is natural.

 

I recently got this wing on a bit of the original uniform. I took it off because the fabric was getting mothed and I didnt want any damage to the wing.

 

First the front. Notice that the bullion is heavily tarnished and the black wool fabric has bleached to a brownish color.

post-1519-1221021927.jpg

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Now the back. This wing has likely been protected from sun for decades. You can see that the back side of the fabric is much darker. It is more obvious in person, but you can clearly see the difference. Also, the white backing threads are nice and clean and bright. Again, proof that they were protected, while the front of the wing was exposed.

post-1519-1221022056.jpg

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