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Bailey Banks & Biddle Sterling Para Wing on Ebay


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I just saw this (Ebay # 222519828510) and I believe this is a post war piece as it is not the war time die utilized by Bailey Banks & Biddle. I believe these were commissioned post war as special presentation wings which has been talked about in previous threads which I can't seem to locate now. The asking price is rather steep and the seller is convinced it is a real war time piece however I believe he is mistaken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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triplecanopy

If you look closely at the top, it appears flat like a star was ground off. I don't believe this is an original BB&B wartime production wing either. I have had my concerns with this style badge that does not look like the original LTG Yarborough submitted drawing. I did see a set of basic, senior and master not long ago on eBay that were not originals either.

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  • 3 years later...

Here is another probable re-strike that is very convincing due to patina and currently up for bid on eBay.  I'm guessing the 1987 is the date these were made by Bailey, Banks & Biddle.  You can just make out the BB&B hallmark in the upper right.

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 years later...

I read the other thread regarding the bestowment of the 1987 wing upon special Paratroopers. That thread is so confusing to read I really don't understand who the persons name is that ? commissioned BB&B to make these wings., and for the purpose to honor special paratroopers ? This is one of those dated 1987 BB&B Jump Wings, It came in it's own small BB&B presentation box with original tissue paper stuffed under the felt base out of site. Matt

 

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I do remember that thread but also couldn't find it.  I think the discussion initially started about reproduction BB&B wings being attributed to a WWII paratrooper as part of a general and somewhat contentious discussion about unsavory behavior. But as I recall, the more specific information was that at some point in the 80's someone had gone to BB&B to get some more wings made as special presentation pieces.  Who that was has escaped me, but that is my recollection. 

 

Here are a few threads that may help you with your specific question.

 

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Tonomachi

I don't know where I got this information from but that it was retired General William P. Yarborough who obtained from Bailey, Banks & Biddle a number of basically reproduction pin back sterling paratrooper wings hallmarked BB&B which he gave as gifts to certain deserving airborne troopers.   I say reproduction because these wings do not match the BB&B wartime paratrooper wings so they would have had to produced a different die to make these wings.   General Yarborough is renowned within the airborne community for designing a number of different things specific to paratroopers during and after WW2.  As a Captain during WW2, he was tasked by Major William M. Miley, commander of the newly formed 501st Parachute Battalion, to up come up with a better design for the "jump wing" than the one the War Department had come up with.   The only restrictions were that it not look anything like US Army Air Corps flight wings in size or shape.  After coming up with the design (see his sketch below) he hand carried the proposal through the various channels to obtain approval in record time.  He then had the design patented before he had Bailey, Banks & Biddle produce 350 of the first ever US basic paratrooper wings.  He and Major Miles came up with the Prop Blast initiation which General Yarborough made using a spent 75 MM shell wrapped with riser cord and called the "Miley Mug".  General Yarborough also designed the Ojibwa Thunderbird DUI for the 501st Parachute Battalion, M1941 jump jacket, ovals or background trimmings for paratrooper wings, and the practice of attaching stars for combat jumps on jump wings.  I believe he might have also had something to do with the jump boots.  After the war he came up with the senior and master paratrooper wings and is credited for the design of the jungle jacket which was loosely patterned after the M1942 jump jacket.  There is a famous picture of him wearing an unauthorized green beret while standing next to President John F. Kennedy at Fort Bragg in 1961.  Supposedly President Kennedy was a supporter of unconventional warfare and liked the look of the green beret so with his backing the green beret eventually became authorized wear for the US Army Special Forces.  

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triplecanopy

Here are three BB&B basic Jump wings. The one the left is one of the original 350 presented on 21 March 1941. It was awarded to Sgt David M Rogers. It is documented with a copy of the dated jump certificate. It is exactly like the drawing submitted by then Captain William Yarborough and we refer to it as the “Yarborough” design.  The middle one is also a BB&B made jump wing most likely from a later run of BB&B jump wings. BB&B continued manufacturing jump wings during WWII and perhaps even later after the war. I don’t know if anyone has manufacturing records, but they would be helpful. The middle wing is also made in the “Yarborough” design, but the hallmarks on the back are noticeably in a different location. Does that mean something? Or were the wings hand stamped? I have seen the hallmarks in several different locations.

 

The jump wings on the far right are marked BB&B Sterling, but are not the “Yarborough” design as one can readily see since the wings, canopy and thickness are all different. This example is undated, but it is high quality and die struck and looks almost exactly like the dated BB&B wings.  My opinion is that it may have been made by BB&B on a special order like the dated examples. A friend of mine paid “Big Bucks $$” for this wing thinking it was from WWII period. I do not share that thought, and I do not know when it was made or for what purpose. It is very high quality and great detail in the wing feathers.

 

I will also show some examples of dated BB&B jump wings below.

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triplecanopy

These are 1984 dated BB&B jump wings in Basic, Senior and Master grades and they are not the original 'Yarborough design'. They are all very high quality die struck badges with drop in pin backs that only open to about 45 degrees. All the BB&B marked badges that deviate from the Yarborough design should be considered restrikes in my opinion. Are there others out there with different dates? We know about 1984 & 1987.

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  • 2 months later...
Tonomachi

I just saw this on eBay and thought it would go nicely with this thread even though it is not a paratrooper wing.  This WW2 era USN Flight Surgeon wing was produced initially I'm guessing by Hilborn-Hamburger who I read bought out the Imperial Insignia Manufacturing Company.  What is strange is the BB&B hallmark on top of the Hilborn-Hamburger hallmark.  I haven't read anywhere that BB&B bought out Hilborn-Hamburger so why the BB&B hallmark?  Due to this BB&B hallmark and ones found on different locations on WW2 era paratrooper wings it would appear that they were all hand stamped on afterwards once the paratrooper wings were produced.  So without provenance I don't think there is anyway to be 100% certain that you have one of the original 350 BB&B produced paratrooper wings by the location(s) of their hallmarks alone.    Now if more BB&B hallmarked paratrooper wings surface with provenance of being part of the original 350 batch of wings with the BB&B hand stamped along the lower left and STERLING hand stamped along the lower right then this would change.  

 

 

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another thought is that someone tried to "up-mark" the value of this badge by adding an extraneous BB&B hallmark.

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