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Ww2 paratrooper wing?

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Hello everyone, I am in need of some help. I picked up these paratrooper wings. Are they ww2? They are very shiney possible harshly cleand.

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Harshly cleaned is an understatement. I have reservations about this wing do to the heavy buffing and scratches. To me, it looks like there was once a maker's mark above the "sterling" mark which makes me think that a post WWII Letter Number code has been buffed off.

 

Save your money and buy a WWII era wing with no baggage.

 

Allan


Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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I agree with Allan This wing also looks different in another way than a typical WWII parachute badge should look. Notice the STERLING mark. It appears almost melted rather than crisp and clear. I have noticed a number of this type lately with the 'melted sterling' look, so I am wondering if someone is making these currently to fool collectors. Personally, I would avoid this one.


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WANTED- Sterling hallmarked US Army Parachutist Jump wings:       WANTED -Combat Infantryman Badges (CIB):

Bell Trading Post Master (with star in wreath)                                        F.W. Assmann Germany full size CIB marked 191

12C Coro Senior clutchback (with star).                                                   CREST CRAFT Sterling EIB & CIB

CrestCraft 14C Master w/bubble canopy CB.                                          Denmark’s Sterling 2nd Award D22

Emblem Supply 1E Senior pinback                                                            Wilbur Kiff Co Attleboro Ma. Sterling

GP General Products Master CB                                                                D&H Manufacturing, provenance RI

Military Post Supply M21/MPS-21 Senior CB                                          C.P. Company NYC 1P C. Polk New York Sterling

Robbins Senior pinback                                                                               Gemsco Sterling 3rd award

Robbins Attleboro Mass. Basic pinback                                                   Simon Sterling 3rd Award

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Thank you Alan for your reply. I used a 10 power loupe to check out that area, definitely nothing has been buffed off it's a glare from my horrible photo lol which I must apologize for. I will return the wings. Thank you sir.

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Ok thank you guys I'll send them with haste back. The dealer tried to give me a b.s. story after I called him out saying they were his grandfathers from ww2, another red flag.

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Here is another example of what I am referring to as the "melted sterling" mark.  This needs more research, but it is suspicious to me.

melted sterling 1.jpg


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                             donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

 

WANTED- Sterling hallmarked US Army Parachutist Jump wings:       WANTED -Combat Infantryman Badges (CIB):

Bell Trading Post Master (with star in wreath)                                        F.W. Assmann Germany full size CIB marked 191

12C Coro Senior clutchback (with star).                                                   CREST CRAFT Sterling EIB & CIB

CrestCraft 14C Master w/bubble canopy CB.                                          Denmark’s Sterling 2nd Award D22

Emblem Supply 1E Senior pinback                                                            Wilbur Kiff Co Attleboro Ma. Sterling

GP General Products Master CB                                                                D&H Manufacturing, provenance RI

Military Post Supply M21/MPS-21 Senior CB                                          C.P. Company NYC 1P C. Polk New York Sterling

Robbins Senior pinback                                                                               Gemsco Sterling 3rd award

Robbins Attleboro Mass. Basic pinback                                                   Simon Sterling 3rd Award

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This is just my opinion and I could be wrong but this looks like one of those so called WW2 era graduation paratrooper wings.  I don't see anything that really stands out that would lead me to believe it is post war although without provenance you never really know for sure.  The rear pin back assembly with the egg shaped clasp is what you come across on other WW2 era paratrooper wings.  There is no metal discoloration or sloppy soldering at the base of the rear pin back assembly which could indicate a jeweler modification.  The only thing that is strange about this piece is the removal of the original finish for whatever reason.  Now what looks like the mechanical brushing off of the finish on the reverse could have been done to hide the discoloration that occurs when you apply heat during soldering.  However there are other examples of this same paratrooper wing with the same "melted sterling" raised mark and same pin back assembly with original finish like the one pictured above and the one pictured below.  Again you never know for sure without provenance as insignia companies continued to produce pin back paratrooper wings after the war as you come across pin back senior and master paratrooper wings which were not authorized until the 1950s.   However your paratrooper wing looks like one of a number of slightly different sterling pin back graduation wings issued during WW2.  

 

 

 

 

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Interest guys the fit and overall finish of the wings are very high. It may be possible they are ok just someone going crazy polish them to make them look more appealing (not really to me lol). I think it may take some investigating.  Guess I won't rule them out just yet. Under magnification you can see traces of the old finish left behind, not sure if that truly means anything.

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The Sterling mark is interesting on this type. For the marking to be raised on the badge, it has to be incised into the reverse die (the marking can not "melt" or otherwise move after it's been struck - or cast!). When looked at closely, the "melting" observed appears to be a series of discrete RAISED lines extending from the base of the letters in STERLING towards the lower edge of the badge. These raised features to me clearly indicate micro-cracks in the reverse die. Further, even with the 2 examples posted above (the OP badge photography, combined with the abrasive cleaning, means I have not included it) it is clear to me that there are more and longer "lines" below the STERLING on triplecanopy's example (eg below the R), indicating it was produced after Tonomachi's example (assuming die struck, different strike pressures COULD produce the same apparent effect, but the bottom line is that die damage is present). Overall, to me this indicates a probably damaged and deteriorating die. 

 

The hardware and soldering on the badges above look WW2 vintage to me, although the finish on Tonomachi's example reminds me of the greyish finish associated with sterling and non-sterling marked KW vintage wings.

 

Regards

Mike

melting-progression.jpg

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Isn't there a bit of a debate still about solid back vs hollow back wings being issued via the military and not private purchase/post war? I'm positive someone else on another thread that any wings that were maker marked were not allowed to be issued to paratroopers via the military due to some kind of anti-compete clause. That STERLING only on the back was issued.

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14 hours ago, akriener said:

Isn't there a bit of a debate still about solid back vs hollow back wings being issued via the military and not private purchase/post war? I'm positive someone else on another thread that any wings that were maker marked were not allowed to be issued to paratroopers via the military due to some kind of anti-compete clause. That STERLING only on the back was issued.

When I started collecting jump wings as a kid, I decided that I would collect them by maker as that was how all of my collector friends were collecting AAF wings. In the early 1980's, NOBODY cared about parachute badge maker marks and many times I had dealers laugh that I was bothering to look to see who made those wings that I was wanting to buy. The other great thing about that timeframe is that there were still loads of WWII veterans and you could get to see first hand what was in their possession.

 

I don't know where the solid back vs hollow back debate comes from as I have directly sourced MANY of these wings from veterans- both solid and hollow. The vast majority of these vets did not serve in the military after WWII. I have also received wings both with and without maker's marks. I can tell you for certain that Bailey, Banks and Biddle maker marked their wings nd that they were issued. Most of the FSSF veterans that had been jump qualified had maker marked wings as well.

 

I believe that where the insistence that wings could not be maker marked if they were to be an issue item dates to the 1943 circular from the AAF soliciting wings with clutch prongs and fasteners and NO MAKER information. Like everything else in the supply system, wings were issued until stocks were exhausted. I have said many times that WWII vintage,  pin back, sterling marked jump wings were still being awarded at FT Benning as late as 1967.

 

We can state as fact that Korean era and later insignia was supposed to be marked with the manufacturer's Letter/ Number code. These items were available for purchase at Clothing Sales (PX) as well as issued through unit supply sources. I believe that there is little need for debate as the facts pretty much speak for themselves.

 

You don't have to just take my word for it, you can find many advanced collectors who have very similar experiences- Mark Bando, Ed Hicks, Les Hughes, Bob Carter, just to name a few.

 

My dos centavos,

Allan


Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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I know that there is proof that many of the original documents for the Government-purchased insignia indicated both metal content and restrictions on company hallmarks. But so much of all the other GI-issued equipment  had company information (think web gear, weapons, holsters, etc) why would they be worried about a little hallmark on the back of a piece of insignia?  I have always suspected that once they had to start supplying all the new soldiers being trained, that would have been the last and least of anyone's concerns.  I like Alan's approach and insight, having actually handled and reviewed the insignia with the vets. 

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Very fair points. And if you've gotten them directly from veterans in both hollow and solid backing, then they must be good.

 

If you're looking at clutch back wings, I understand the pegs should be soldered metal. But I have also read about plastic prongs that look metal at first glance. If you're looking online at an item like this, what's a good way to tell?

 

Is there a certain position for the prongs to be to establish WWII wings vs later?

 

Are the prong covers plastic or metal, or a mix?

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4 hours ago, akriener said:

Very fair points. And if you've gotten them directly from veterans in both hollow and solid backing, then they must be good.

 

If you're looking at clutch back wings, I understand the pegs should be soldered metal. But I have also read about plastic prongs that look metal at first glance. If you're looking online at an item like this, what's a good way to tell?

 

Is there a certain position for the prongs to be to establish WWII wings vs later?

 

Are the prong covers plastic or metal, or a mix?

I'd start by telling you that finding an actual WWII parachute badge with clutch back fasteners is actually pretty hard to do. Finding ones that are represented to be WWII vintage but aren't really that old is a much simpler proposition. That being said, I would encourage you that if you are just looking for a couple of war-time examples, just stick to the pin back wings. The WWII clutch backs will have a pool of solder at the base of the clutch prong. The wing itself will look like other WWII examples. The majority of WWII clutch wings will have steel prongs. Brass tends to show up later. Plastic prongs? NO!

 

I assume that when you are talking about covers, you are talking about the clutch fasteners? They should look like other WWII insignia fasteners- smooth faces. Most will be made of brass. Some made in sterling silver (which are 100% WWII). Again, no plastic.


Allan


Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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