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Josten wing on ebay


5thwingmarty

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Steve Brannan

I talked to a WW2 AAF pilot once who told me he went to the Base Exchange to buy Pilot wings but they only had Senior Pilot wings. So he bought them and ground the star off.


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dmar836

Maybe we should do a group purchase, grind it down further, and make a WASP wing!

Actually, maybe not a bad price.

 

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LOL.

 

I believe that the VAST majority of Josten CP and SP wings are from the cold war time period.  There are a few wings (like these Josten and the "winged R" Robbins wings) that are often considered WWII vintage but probably are much later than that.

 

That being said, the prices on a Josten CP and SP clutch back wing has dropped like a stone over the last few years. With patience, almost any collector can get a good example of these for between 40-100$.  I know over the years I have picked up more than 3-4 of these in the 20$ range.  They just aren't that rare.

 

On the other hand, the Josten pilot wing is much harder to find, and typically sells north of 100$.  I don't know the story on these particular wings, but it is possible that someone simply go tired of trying to sell a CP wing and ground off the wreath to make a "rarer" pilot wing.

 

During WWII, there would have been almost no demand for senior or command pilot wings, as any pilots trained circa 1940 wouldn't have achieved the requirements for the senior pilot wing (IRCC, 5 years of service) until after the war was over (or very close to then), and none of them would have been able to rate the command pilot (I want to say 10 years, but I could be wrong) wings until the KW time period.  True, some of the more senior officers would have been qualified (and some may have already have been wearing the 1937 Military Airplane Pilot badge--but that required 12 years of flight service) during WWII or there abouts.  In any case, considering the requirements, autobiographical WWII vintage senior and command pilot wings are pretty rare and would have been worn by senior officers (likely Majors and above)--something that you do see in photographs.  

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5thwingmarty

It looks like they took it down and relisted it for $150 and then it sold.  

 

To me the clutch back Josten pilot wings are harder to find than the pinback ones.  If anyone wants a pinpack Josten pilot wing for $150 let me know.  

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5thwingmarty

I was browsing on Dave Hoover's Military Aviation Artifacts site and noticed something I had missed before.  He had a Josten clutch-back trio of wings that he sold not long ago.  The Pilot wing in that set was also one made by removing the star from a Senior Pilot wing as was the one that started this post (not a Command Pilot wing as I originally thought).  This photo is from Dave's site.  I looked on Ron Burkey's website as well and he has sold two Josten clutch-back Pilot wings, and they both also appear to have been made by cutting stars off.  Were all of the Josten clutch-back Pilot wings made by cutting the stars off Senior Pilot wings?

 

MAA Josten set backs.jpg

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Bull Moose

I have one these also. Looks like Josten may have reworked excess inventory of Senior pilot wings. Or maybe, they had a combination die with an insert they could add to make Senior Pilot wing. 

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pfrost

I think you are making this way to complex.  In general, the clutchback (CB) and command pilot wings (with the nail headed (NH) pins) are very common.  I would hazard a guess as there are anywhere from 20-50:1 CB/NH senior and command pilot wings on eBay compared to any pin back versions of the pilot wings.  The relative number of WWII vintage senior pilot and command pilot are probably closer to 100:1.  The observer wings are rather rare.  IN GENERAL all those "WWII-vintage: wings also always seem to have the hallmark on the middle of the wing (but not always).  Ironically enough, I don't recall seeing vary many CB pilot versions like the ones in this thread, but those that I do see (IIRC) also have the hallmark on the side.

 

If I had to guess, Josten produced a basic line of balloon pilot and balloon observer, aircraft observer, pilot, senior pilot and command pilot wings during the war.  Those tend to be pin back with the hallmark in the middle... BUT NOT ALWAYS. The other WWII vintage wing they made are the WASP wings that are ALWAYS CB with the hallmark on the side (there are always exemptions)

 

To summarize, there are pin back versions of the pilot, senior pilot, command pilot and aircraft observer wings that all have the hallmark in the center.  There were also some of balloon wing ratings (like the aeronaut and aeronaut observer, et al  (see Bob's site)) made.  Interestingly, there are examples of the balloon wings also come in CB and PB.  Frankly, I cannot recall where the hallmark falls on those.  I suspect that post WWII Josten primarly made senior and command pilot wings and some reunion WASP wings.

 

As a collector, this is MY personal rule of thumb... take it for what it is, just my opinion but...

If the wing is pin back and has the hallmark in the center and it is a pilot, senior pilot, command pilot, aircraft observer, it was probably made in WWII

If the wing is clutch back and doesn't have the nail head pin, then it probably is also WWII (think WASP wings and some of the balloon aeronaut ratings.  The hallmark can be variably placed.

If the wing is clutch back and has the nail head pin AND the hallmark on the side and is either pilot (especially if cut down from senior pilot wing, senior pilot wing OR command pilot wing it was probably post WWII

If the wing is a pin back WASP wing, then it is post WWII (around early 1960's reunion piece)

 

Finally, I suspect that there are also a fair number of exceptions to the "rules".

 

But if you go by rarity and price, the most common are CB/NH wings with the hallmark on the side (including senior and command pilot wings). They are ALL over ebay.

Much rarer and difficult to find are pin back pilot, senior and command pilot wings with hallmark in the center.

Then the unicorns... observer and aeronaut wings.

 

I am not sure that the pilot wings are WWII wings cut down or not... but my gut tells me that they are post WWII common wings "converted" to the rarer pilot wings.

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5thwingmarty

On Bob's site he has examples of all three types of Josten balloon wings.  The two Senior Balloon Pilot wings are both CB wings with the hallmark on the side.  One has soldiered pins, and the other does not clearly show how the pins are attached.  The Balloon Pilot is also a CB wing with soldiered pins and the hallmark on the side.  The Balloon Observer is a pinback wing with the hallmark in the center, but it looks like the same hallmark stamp was used on this wing as was used on the CB wings where it was placed on the side.  On the wings where the hallmark is placed on the side, the span of the Sterling is wider than that of the Josten.  On the pinback Pilot, Senior Pilot, Command Pilot and Observer wings where the hallmark is in the center, the Josten and Sterling are the same width.

 

I am still curious if anyone has a CB Josten Pilot wing that does not appear to have been made by cutting the star off a Senior Pilot wing.

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Tesla

Here are the Josten pilot clutchback wings I bought directly from the veteran who was a P47 pilot 1944-45.  I also have his graduation wings which were unmarked clutchbacks, but the pins are broken off.  He told me he bought the Josten wings because the others broke but we didn't discuss when he bought them.

20210504_162957.jpg

20210504_162753.jpg

20210504_162829.jpg

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5thwingmarty

Thank you for sharing these photos.  In the view of the back there are some irregularities to the top edge of the shield, but in the view of the top edge itself I don't see any.  The top edge of your wing looks like it has a thinner lip across the top of the shield.  Maybe something happened to the die or the forcer that started messing up this edge at some point, and they ended up removing that bit.  

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