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New Holy Grail of Wings for me !

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Ok, in haste, I used the wrong word. Said “cast” instead of just saying the quality is not what I’m used to seeing in war-time clutch-backs.


Maybe save yourself some hassle, and post pics BEFORE you buy. I learned that one the hard way, many moons ago.

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Here's my wing Rooster. The back on mine is very smooth, short pins and the part that seals the deal for me in believing they are genuine is the wear of the frosted finish on the front. For what it's worth, I think yours is a good one.



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Does Bob Schwartz site post fakes?


Well I try not to but I'm very, very far from a wings expert and there have been wings that have definitely slipped past the goalie. I haven't handled enough of these TO wings to say one way or the other. The only TO in my personal collection is a Meyer version. But as with any rare wing an exceeding amount of caution and research are always in order. I think that's what Russ is getting at. I truly do appreciate people using my site as the reference that it is intended but that's not to say that it's infallible. A healthy (constructive) discussion is always welcome.

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I got it today.

It appears die struck. Its 3 and 1/8 inches and the seller said it weighs 17.7 grams.

My scale is out so I cant check that. Its somewhat thin compared to other wings.

It does not look like its frosted. The back is smooth . The crud in the back came off with a dry toothbrush.

The edges are polished but I see the cut lines.

It matches the others. There is a ring outline on the back where the clutches sit

suggesting to me that they've been there a long time.

All in all it seems the real deal to me. Im happy with it and I won't be sending it back.

I've found that people selling fakes usually don't accept returns.

I however do see differences in all the examples shown here with the one on Bobs site.

That being it seems that the one on bobs site is thicker in the areas where these seem real thin. And there is some kind of artifact (Line) midway up the channel on Bobs sites wing that is not present on these. So ..

What do I know? Nothing. I just like it and feel its a good wing.

If there was more proof that this particular style was rest ruck, then it would be easier to believe its not what it seems to be.

Im not knocking Rustywings in any way. But when I look at the others wing and mine

I'd go with Kropotkins statement that if these are fake, someone went to an awful lot

of trouble and they did a darn good job.

These could have been produced in the 1950's? Before the Airforce changed the badges in 1956.

Was the TO authorized up until a date before then?

Im not clear on the regs.


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TECHNICAL OBSERVER (Rating established in late 1942 - Discontinued in 1956)
Went to Army Pilots who also had special qualifications or competence to make such technical flight observations as the evaluation of air tactics, combat crew performance, function of aircraft equipment, weapons, etc. Seldom worn.


Hard to see in my photos but the backside shows wear through the patina like it was on and off a coat etc.

DOnt know if thats definative just wanted to point it out.

Unlike most of my silver wings... I wont be cleaning this a one! lol


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Could be that patina wear on the back is from the bage just sitting on a coat for years and years and the patina not

forming where the wing pressed against the fabric. ??


Also if they were restrikes... I dont think you would have frosted and unfrosted variations. I would think they'dbe all the same.?

Unless someone has definative proof to the contrary,????

Im going to say I've got myself a real authentic Technical Observers Wing.

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Hi Dave,


can we get some close ups of the back in sunlight? Especially around the sterling mark, etc. Thanks



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With all due respect, seems like a LOT of convincing necessary to prove these wings are good.


Do they conform with known good originals? That is the standard for originality IMO - not someone proving they are not original.


The latter being a non-starter as a logical construct (read, prove a negative).


I’d start by taking them to a jeweler to do a Sterling test. Nothing about the appearance of that metal looks like tarnished silver to me.

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I don't see too much that give me heartburn about these wings. BUT, both Russ and Blacksmith do raise some important questions. First, a lot of these do seem to have been popping up lately. That doesn't mean that they are fakes, it does happen. In my collecting years, I have seen a number of rather rare wings show up out of old stocks that were put away some place. Ebay and the internet certainly changed the old calculus of how most people went about collecting wings via militaria or gun shows. I've seen old caches of WWI wings, pre-WWII wings, and mid-30's TWA wings show up in the past.


That being said, there have also been a goodly number of high quality fakes (think of the British and Australian-made wings). I hear from people that there are a**hats out there who seem to see it as their life's achievement to make fakes that will fool us all...


As to comparisons, a very similar wing is posted here: http://www.ww2wings.com/wings/usaaf/technicalobserver/presleyaaftechobserver.shtml A couple of other people's wings (including mine) are linked in other posts above.


This wing on Bob's site is out of Cliff Preseley's collection, not that it PROVES anything. But considering the advanced state of his knowledge and experience, it does lend some weight to the idea that his wing is vintage WWII and makes a good starting point for collectors to compare.


How close the other wings (including mine) match up to Cliff's would make a very good thread. Cast wings will be a tad smaller than die struck wings. Silver wings will weigh a bit less than non-silver wings (IIRC). Wings from the same die will (in general) be nearly identical to each other, although there are frequently slight variations depending on a number of factors.


There are some things to consider: 1)These are perfectly fine vintage wings from WWII and closely match Cliff's wing . 2) these wings cast from a good TO wing like (presumably) Cliff's. 2) these are die restuck wings for collectors using an original die (like the NS Meyers wings) some time after WWII, or 3) these wings have been die struck off a newly made die (like the Angus and Coote wings) and are out and out fakes?


Then, of course, there is the 5th and 6th option. 5) I like them and until I know better, I can live with them in a ricker mount inside my closet and 6) I hate them and don't want them touching me lest their stench is transferred to my person!



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I hope Cliff does not mind me making a composite with his wings, or Bob minds me using the image off of his website. If so, I am sorry, and please pull them.


Here is Cliff's (on top) and mine. There are differences in lighting and background. Cliff's has been polished, mine hasn't, but I tried to match them up by size and orientation.





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Heres my wing over Patricks what do yours weigh? Length?

I was convinced when I picked them up...

I'l go with Patricks consideration #5.


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I would go with consideration number one as well. But I don't know in all fairness. Thats why Im here. To try and find out.

I didn't post them here first as they struck me as something

I needed to move on or potentially lose while waiting to get a consensus from the forum

and Im glad I picked them up. Because in this case.. Its split. Like people view Meyer wings.

I also feel that they wouldn't fake it in frosted and plain silver.

They appear as sterling in hand as any other sterling wing.

Another curious thing I find with the wing on Bobs site is that its too perfect. The pins are soldered neatly, perfectly even.

But that wing and the wings posted here have the same or really close dents and marks.?

I guess no body can say for sure.?

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I want to thank member CliffP who's post I re-post here along with his image.

From a 2009post by Nack. Thank you Nack.





This post by Cliff is very interesting. I will take it to the Jewelers like Blacksmith suggested and check for sterling content and confirm its die struck.

and I'l update when I find out. I lean towards this being authentic.



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Posted 04 December 2009 - 10:51 AM

Paul S, on Dec 4 2009, 01:01 PM, said:snapback.png

I wouldn't buy this wing for a WWII piece; however, it probably is from original dies and made post WWII. Generally, I reject any wing as being period WWII or pre-WWII that has the obverse feather treatment showing regular, and fairly widely spaced nicks as this one shows. Seems to be something peculiar to post WWII reproductions.

If anyone has some convincing WWII or pre-WWII wings having a similar feather treatment they consider authentic to the period, I would like to see it and read your supporting thoughts.

Paul S

Hi Paul,

Here are a couple of interesting facts about Technical Observer wing badges that might help others avoid purchasing a reproduction.

A real TO badge is quite rare and the reason why is because it was a secondary rating. In checking through the Official Army Registers for the years 1941 through 1947 and the Official Army & Air Force Register for 1948 you will find that all officers who held a TO rating were originally rated as pilots; therefore, it was not uncommon for a pilot to hold multiple ratings such as Observer, Combat Observer and/or Technical Observer etc. Also consider this, TO badges were never awarded, they were a private purchase item; therefore it is reasonable to assume that most pilots who held a TO rating would much rather continue wearing their pilot wing badge rather than a TO . . . so why go to the added expense of buying a badge you would rather not wear anyway?

The wing badge in the first two pictures of this thread is a re-strike; however, its design would be okay . . . provided it was backmarked STERLING in raised letters along the vertical bar of the letter "T" as simulated below.

Cliff :thumbsup:
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Edited by CliffP, 04 December 2009 - 11:00 AM.

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Sterling and die struck confrimed!

I like it! I could see it was diestruck.

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