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West Point Casts - tombstone's/buildings?


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I'm looking for some help and info on this piece I've just picked up. 


Its a heavy metal piece, cast iron maybe? I think it was used for casting the motto and symbol of West Point Military Academy, possibly on tombstone's or buildings? I've been told WW2 and it certainly has age to it. 


I buy and sell antiques and like Militaria, but being in England, don't come across American military items very often, so I'm a bit stumped. 


If anyone has any info, that would be great? I'm looking for is it real, what would it be used for (am I right with the tombstone idea), what's it's value and any history of the item would be great. 


I've included some photos and I've tried to take a "rubbing" to show what it looks like, but it was quite hard to do, hence I think it was pushed into something or something poured over it to create the image of the motto. 


It says "Duty. Honor. Courage" one side and "West Point. MDCCCII. USMA" the other side. 


I've had a little Google and found the description of the patent for the design, which reads like this - Description of Mark: The mark consists of an Athena helmet on a shield, the top half of which contains horizontal stripes and the bottom half of which contains vertical stripes; above the shield appears an eagle above leaves and arrows; to the left of the eagle is a scroll bearing the words, "DUTY HONOR COUNTRY"; to the right of the eagle is a scroll bearing the words, "WEST POINT", "U.S.M.A." and "MDCCCII".


This fits exactly with the piece, so I believe it is real and from West Point,I just don't know exactly what it would be used for. 


I'll stop rambling now. Thanks in advance for any advice and guidance! 








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58 minutes ago, Blacksmith said:

I don’t believe it’s a negative cast, as you refer, or the letters would be backwards.  

That is one thing I was thinking, should the letters be backwards for a cast, but couldn't think it through. 


Any ideas what if might be for? 


Thanks for responding! 

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42 minutes ago, Blacksmith said:

You are welcome.  What does the back look like?

Just plain and has the joins to keep the shields in place. 


I was also wondering why they were so close and opposite directions, if they are moulds, but can't think what else they would be used for. 


They are well made, so clearly should have a purpose. Hoping someone can help me figure it out! Ha


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I've made an imprint (used the kids playdough! 😂) And it's backwards, so they can't have been used as casts. 


Any ideas anyone? 


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I think this might be for stamping hat badges. It would not be reversed because the image would be pressed into a piece of brass.



"Only 2 defining forces have ever offered to die for you....Jesus Christ and the American Soldier.

One died for your soul, the other for your freedom."


-Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr.



''A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.'' Gerald Ford


"Those who melt their guns into plows will plow for those who don't." Thomas Jefferson


"I live in weirdville." Owen



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Thanks so much.


They are quite big, measuring 9cm tall by 11cm wide. Our cap badges in Britain tend to be small, maybe a couple of cm at most. 


Would this still be possible, that they are hat badge pressers, being this big? 


Thanks again,



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4 hours ago, GIKyle said:

The Shako bears a pretty large hat badge, which looking at the mold could be pretty close.  Pretty neat! 



Great, thanks for that. 


I've been thinking today, could it have been used to create gravemarkers? I know quite a few European military cemeteries use them, but unsure about American. 


Similar to the way a cap badge would be "pressed" could gravemarkers have been done in the same way? 


Now I've a clearer idea, just need to figure out the value! Ha 


If anyone has any idea on value or best place to try and sell them, that would be helpful. 


I would love to get them to an American military collector, but worry the postage cost on top of the actual cost be too much.



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4 hours ago, GIKyle said:

The Shako bears a pretty large hat badge, which looking at the mold could be pretty close.  Pretty neat! 



Think you've nailed it! 


Quick bit of research and got a photo that looks like it would work. Fascinating! I would have never of thought hat, because our cap badges are so small over here. 


Thanks everyone for helping me figure it out! 



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2 hours ago, GIKyle said:

It's certainly a cool item, but agree that shipping costs might be too much to justify shipping overseas. 

Yeah, I think so. I'll keep hold of it for a bit and see what happens when I fancy selling it on. 


Can look at postage cost and see how much it would be, but it's pretty heavy, so suspect it might be expensive.


Thanks again! 

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