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Mounthood

To Polish Or Not To Polish Those Beautiful WW2 Sterling Wings?

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Over the last two years I have managed to collect some 150 plus examples of WW2 USAAF sterling pilot wings (I use that term to include wings of all of the officially Government recognized issues) and one thing that has puzzled me beyond distraction is the use of the word patina to describe the stupid tarnish you see on many of the sterling and coin silver wings for sale on eBay. My immediate thought about those sellers who insist that the original patina remains is simply expressed in the phrase: Who in the world are these people trying to impress? Is that word patina a metaphor for excuse me for jacking up the price for these wings because I need to pad my 401K and you look like a sucker, par excellence, or have these people watched one too many episodes of the PBS series Antiques Roadshow? Dont get me wrong but I have watched my share of Antiques Roadshow and have come to the conclusion that their estimates of value are just that, estimates, and you must take that estimation with a grain of salt and their expert advice to leave it in the original condition may or may not apply to the material you hold in your hands..... my ear hears and my eyes see two opposing words of advice and it all depends upon what the material the work is made of, in this case sterling silver prone to oxidation. For many years I have collected 18th, 19th, and early 20th century works of art (Oil paintings, bronzes, sculptures, prints, original drawings, sterling silver Scottish Marriage cups, and pottery. Never in the history of my collecting have I ever not hesitated to send something out for cleaning and, in the case of my silver collection, never have I hesitated to polish that silver object myself. That brings me back to the original title of this posting: To Polish or not to Polish my WW2 Wings? One series of wings produced during WW2, because of their intrinsic design beauty, has caught my Art Collectors eye..... the Juarez set of coin silver and sterling wings. If you are a collector of anything composed of silver you know instinctively that silver tarnish does not equate to patina. To a silver collector tarnish is an enemy to be fought and abolished on the surface of your silver object. If a seller boasts of the beautiful patina of his wings then you must raise an eyebrow and think to yourself: Just how much excrement does this idiot think will grow a crop of cash to fill his purse by reclassifying tarnish as patina? There are many more ways of determining authenticity than surface shine (Hallmark, maker marks, historical online reference materials on respected sites such as data on Wings.com). USAAF Wings were military items and the expectation of the wearer was that they should be made to shine and that the owner of said Wings was expected to keep them shining. My son is a Captain in the US Army. I recently asked him if he would show up at inspection with tarnished medals and insignias? He laughed and said: Dad, only if I was bucking for a reduction in rank. Some of the most beautiful wings in my collection are the Juarez coin silver types. When polished they shine up to the most beautiful example of WW2 military wings in my collection. So the moral of this story is simple....... if its made of sterling silver (or coin silver) then it deserves to shine like it was intended to shine when it was manufactured. My simple advice..... Bring it back to its original condition and polish those wings!

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Knowing what you know, do you agree patina on silver aka oxidation protects the object from further oxidation? If so then wouldn't removing the patina from an object exposes that object to further oxidation? If that is true, then is it not true that every time you clean the oxidation off an object you also remove a small amount of silver with every cleaning? We have all seen objects that have been cleaned time and again. The object will loose detail over time. Gun owners use oil to protect the bluing. Bluing is in reality a form of rusting used to protect the bare metal from further oxidation. Oxygen promotes the degradation of everything. The thin coat of oil acts as a barrier from the acids in your finger and oxygen...so it seems to me if you really have a thing for shinny metal then find a way to protect that item from further oxidation aka acid in your fingers and exposure to oxygen, so you don't have to clean it over and over and cause damage to the item. Then again I could be wrong.

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On a side note you might wish to dig a little deeper on Juarez coin silver wings. I had contact with a man who makes museum copy's of rare wings, some are held by the Smithsonian for display. He explained what a Juarez wing really is. I myself would never own one. Just saying.

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Hello,

 

Here is an interesting thread that was on the forum recently about polish or not to polish debate.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/329419-why-cant-you-polish/?hl=polish

 

My belief is that they are your wings and you should do with them as you please.

 

Semper Fi,

Bruce Linz

 

Ive been in on this topic many times. I agree with Bruce. Its your wing. But I wouldnt Polish them. Theres a collector on here who like the brasso and buffer wheel joke when anyone brings this up.

Hey Patrick! lol lo

Tarnish on silver is sulfer reacting to the silver and forming silver sulfide... Tarnish = silver sulfide. Im not sure it protects the silver or long term..eats into it.

But I def would nt use any kind of abrasive polish on your 150 wings.

Patina... Is green verdigris usually found on brass.

I clean my silver Wings. There are many who do not.

But my silver wings are my silver wings and I like em clean because as they were worn on their dress uniforms... you better believe they were shining bright.

So my silver wings are kept CLEAN.

No Brasso and no wire brush and nothing abrasive.

Just clean silver wings.

 

I agree with Bruce.

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And Greetings to you Mounthood. I built my collection of 75 ww2 wings in a year.

Welcome to the forum. And be sure to post in the wings section.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/forum/604-wing-badges/

 

 

There are many esteemed knowledgeable wing collectors there.

Im sure everyone would love to see your collection.

And please make more posts. Ask questions in the Wing Section. Add comments and replies to peoples posts. You need to get a certain number of posts in.

I think its after you make 20 posts, you can then post images along with your posts.

Welcome!

 

Rooster

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I use Goddard's or Hagerty's liquid silver dip... works great, nothing abrasive. Did the same for many years as a museum curator.

I rub it a little afterward with a piece of old cotton t-shirt.

https://www.goddards.com/products/silver-dip


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Here’s the requested picture of my collection.... since this photo was taken I have added some 25 additional wings.

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I feel like this post needs a picture of 150 shining wings

 

 

Over the last two years I have managed to collect some 150 plus examples of WW2 USAAF sterling pilot wings (I use that term to include wings of all of the officially Government recognized issues) and one thing that has puzzled me beyond distraction is the use of the word patina to describe the stupid tarnish you see on many of the sterling and coin silver wings for sale on eBay. My immediate thought about those sellers who insist that the original patina remains is simply expressed in the phrase: Who in the world are these people trying to impress? Is that word patina a metaphor for excuse me for jacking up the price for these wings because I need to pad my 401K and you look like a sucker, par excellence, or have these people watched one too many episodes of the PBS series Antiques Roadshow? Dont get me wrong but I have watched my share of Antiques Roadshow and have come to the conclusion that their estimates of value are just that, estimates, and you must take that estimation with a grain of salt and their expert advice to leave it in the original condition may or may not apply to the material you hold in your hands..... my ear hears and my eyes see two opposing words of advice and it all depends upon what the material the work is made of, in this case sterling silver prone to oxidation. For many years I have collected 18th, 19th, and early 20th century works of art (Oil paintings, bronzes, sculptures, prints, original drawings, sterling silver Scottish Marriage cups, and pottery. Never in the history of my collecting have I ever not hesitated to send something out for cleaning and, in the case of my silver collection, never have I hesitated to polish that silver object myself. That brings me back to the original title of this posting: To Polish or not to Polish my WW2 Wings? One series of wings produced during WW2, because of their intrinsic design beauty, has caught my Art Collectors eye..... the Juarez set of coin silver and sterling wings. If you are a collector of anything composed of silver you know instinctively that silver tarnish does not equate to patina. To a silver collector tarnish is an enemy to be fought and abolished on the surface of your silver object. If a seller boasts of the beautiful patina of his wings then you must raise an eyebrow and think to yourself: Just how much excrement does this idiot think will grow a crop of cash to fill his purse by reclassifying tarnish as patina? There are many more ways of determining authenticity than surface shine (Hallmark, maker marks, historical online reference materials on respected sites such as data on Wings.com). USAAF Wings were military items and the expectation of the wearer was that they should be made to shine and that the owner of said Wings was expected to keep them shining. My son is a Captain in the US Army. I recently asked him if he would show up at inspection with tarnished medals and insignias? He laughed and said: Dad, only if I was bucking for a reduction in rank. Some of the most beautiful wings in my collection are the Juarez coin silver types. When polished they shine up to the most beautiful example of WW2 military wings in my collection. So the moral of this story is simple....... if its made of sterling silver (or coin silver) then it deserves to shine like it was intended to shine when it was manufactured. My simple advice..... Bring it back to its original condition and polish those wings!

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post-242046-0-74084600-1586584633_thumb.jpegPhoto of my collection... 25 additional wings added since this was taken.

post-242046-0-76518000-1586584695.jpeg

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Wow!!! Very nice collection sir. Impressive, I wish I had half of that in my collection.

 

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

 

 

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I am afraid it is a JoeW copy of a WASP wing and I hope you didn't pay too much for it. Compare how wide this one is with your other Lampl wings. In the photo it appears to be significantly narrower than the other wings.

 

If you can post extremely clear photos of the front and back of this wing the experts will be able to confirm one way or another. Fake WASP wings almost always have significant deficiencies in the details of the attached class device, along with often being made using cast copies of Lampl wings.


donation2013.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

 

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This is the only W.A.S.P class wing (according to my research) known to be produced by Lampl, also known as a “Juarez” wing for the W7 graduation class towards the end of the W.A.S.P training program. My research also confirmed that It is slightly smaller than the wings produced for male pilots during that period in the war.post-242046-0-57735800-1586621495_thumb.jpegpost-242046-0-03463600-1586621527_thumb.jpegpost-242046-0-58436700-1586621576_thumb.jpeg

post-242046-0-20866100-1586621459_thumb.jpeg

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Thanks for the clarification on the possibility of the wing being a repro. A couple of hundred bucks is chump change as far as my collecting goes. I don’t sweat it. Nice to have an example of one even if it is a fake. Perhaps this maker of fakes should be taken to the woodshed and spanked for filling the world with fakes without marking them as copies. The website... http://www.blitzkriegbaby.de/wasp/wasphistoryfinal.pdf

Offers some interesting information about W.A.S.P wings but also continues the myth about “Juarez” wings being made in Mexico. Here is a collection of reunion W.A.S.P wings from the 60’s and 70’s reunions:post-242046-0-59826900-1586622827_thumb.jpeg

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Back to the original subject of to polish or not to polish the Sterling Silver and Coin Silver wings, I think collectors who are against polishing will soon learn that conflating tarnish (a destructive oxidation process of a metal surface) with real patina (the process of polishing a silver object to a mellow shiny finish with some tarnish remaining as definition enhancement in the low grooves) will be counter productive to value. Any dealer of Antique silver will quickly tell you that tarnish on a silver object is “not patina.” When removing tarnish on solid silver you do not remove the underlying silver metal unless you are dealing with thinly coated silver plate. If I pay several thousand dollars for an 18th century sterling silver object and let it sit around collecting “patina” in the form of tarnish, then one would be a special kind of fool for not taking a polishing cloth to that object. High end London Silver antiques dealers would be aghast at the idea of letting their Sterling objects collect tarnish and then try to convince a potential buyer that the darker the silver being laden with tarnish (wing collectors definition of patina) the higher the purchase price. That’s not how the world of silver collecting works. Sterling Silver was meant to be polished, both high end antiques and Pilot wings.

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