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Basic Rifleman

Early Bailey Banks & Biddle Military Aviator Badge / Wings

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I don't want to share my thoughts of what this might be. I'd much rather hear from the experts in this forum who, in my experience here, have always been knowledgeable, kind, and respectful.

 

The details:

 

18k Yellow Gold and Platinum.

 

Measures 1 5/8" across the top bar.

 

Hallmarked with the appropriate early 1900's "The Bailey Banks & Biddle" "18k" "PLAT" and what appears to be hand tooling of an eagle, the letter "R" in a shield, and possible a rabbit (definitely an animal of some sort standing on its rear legs).

 

The hardware is early 1900's.

 

There are also four stars across the top bar, which I've never seen in any illustration.

 

I have a call in to the Hagley Museum, which currently houses all of the documents from Bailey Banks & Biddle dating from the 1800's through the 1950's. There's apparently a photo of one "Military Aviator's Badge" in their collection.

 

The details on this are stunning - even better than the photos. The Eagle is hand tooled/chased - as is the background of the top bar.

 

I've also noted this piece to be a bit thicker than a 1920's Blackinton example. It weighs 16.8 grams, so if nothing else I have a very finely crafted $600 hunk of metal:)

 

Any help or direction on what this piece is would be greatly appreciated.

 

Semper Fi,

 

Tom Lantz

 

USMC 2000-2008

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Bailey Banks and Biddle always made die struck insignia. This appears to be cast to me , which is not a good sign.

 

Kurt


!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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I don't know that it looks (in person) to be die struck or cast. This piece appears to be 100% hand crafted.


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...And I just found some additional information about the shield with an "R" flanked by an eagle and lion. It appears this is mark signifies a joint effort by BB&B and "Reed and Barton". This just keeps getting weirder and weirder...


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Deafinitely a poorly made CAST piece.


WANT TO BUY:



Titled case set "U.S. Typhus Commission";


Titled case "Medal for Merit";



ASMIC: 1677


OMSA: 6045



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I don't know that it looks (in person) to be die struck or cast. This piece appears to be 100% hand crafted.

 

Hand crafted is OK, cast this poorly would not be the hallmark of BBB quality.

 

Kurt


!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

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Something like this, without iron clad provenance is just what it appears to be: A copy of the 1913 Military Aviator badge executed in precious metals and apparently marked to indicate it was made by Bailey Banks and Biddle.

 

It is clearly not a Rock Island Arsenal or Blackington badge.

 

There is a badge on Bob Schwartz' site that is speculated to have been made in the Philippines http://www.ww2wings.com/wings/wwi/us/presleyma2.shtml that also does not conform to the two known types--but is generally similar...

 

Could this badge represent a bespoke, unique piece commissioned by one of the original recipients? I suppose it could...

 

Considering that known sales of this badge put it in the mid-four to mid-five-figure range https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/17104/lot/3607/?category=list and https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/17104/lot/3608/?category=list there is certainly incentive for a high-end forgery.

 

Caveat emptor.


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I don't like it either------------ the lettering on back looks sad--- not crisp the way early badges are. return it.


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Although not the good news I was hoping for, I appreciate the time everyone took to respond to this. I had my doubts about it as well, and was honestly hoping this was something BB&B made for consideration for the MA Badge government contract. As stated above, there are many red flags. If this were made from pot metal I would have immediately written it off. Being it is confirmed 18k and platinum, I thought there might be a chance it was something special, or made for someone special.


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Basic Rifleman,

 

One thing is for sure. Somebody had this badge made. The real questions are who and when?

 

Some things this badge is not:

 

- It is not a casting made from a known badge, instead it is unique in all aspects. I don't know if that argues for better or worse. I merely note the fact.

- It is was not cheap to make. It is 18k Gold and Platinum. Someone had to make the wax forms, cast the badge, and cut out and solder the platinum bits, hallmark and assemble the piece...

 

The problem with something like this is as this would be very high dollar item but it is so far afield from what a known badge should be, it will always be an outlier. Could one of the original 1913 Aviators have had this made to replace a lost badge? I guess that could be possible... But before someone will pay multiple thousands for such a badge, they are going to need some pretty strong proof.

 

I looked up Baily Banks and Biddle hallmarks and found one similar but not identical (the spacing on the real one was much tighter--but I admit I am not an expert on BB&B hallmarks)

 

Chris


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