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Navy WAVES cap badges

David Minton

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David Minton

Does anyone know of any reference work covering these “Navy WAVES” cap badges? My understanding is they were used, essentially unchanged from 1945-75, with all being pin back, even those identified to be no earlier than 1960 or so. While the WAVES program officially ended in 1948, I believe everyone refers to these as WAVES, so I will continue to do so, despite their use for decades later.


To the best of my understanding this is a new old stock cap badge from the first half of 1945, based on the contract number. This would match with the introduction of garrison caps for WAVES in spring 1945.



New Old Stock 1945 contract

I thought they were all pretty much the same but upon closer inspection found at least four design variations among my collection of around 15. I’m curious if these variations provides an aid in date or manufacturer determination. 


New Old Stock Gemsco Variant (post WWII based on card style)


Also, while most are simply marked “sterling” I have found at least three different manufacturer’s hallmarks (AMICO, Krew, and HLP).



Two versions of HLP hallmark (initial Navy contract awarded 1959)



I have encountered a number of badges with AMICO hallmark that have a unique design unlike any of the others with or without hallmark. All the others I have seen are subtle variations of the most prevalent design. 



New Old Stock AMICO (date of known, not my photo)


For those that have examples in their collection, which hallmarks do you have?

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David Minton

Cap badge from cap named to Marie Ann Berlangiere, who enlisted in the US Navy in 1948.





While I have no substantiation, I suspect the women enlisting in 1948 (and years after) were issued WWII surplus cap badges.




Despite the cap bearing US Coast Guard labels, the caps were otherwise identical to those used by the US Navy, and since the Coast Guard did not reestablish a Women’s Reserve until August 1949, it is not implausible SPAR surplus was used by the Navy in 1948.





Additional artifacts attributed to Marie Ann Berlangiere may be found in another post.



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David Minton

This Navy “WAVES” cap badge has an “S” in a circle after both the “Sterling” and “1/20 10K” marks.



I’m assuming this is a further hallmark rather than maker’s mark, but unsure. 



Either way this is the only badge I have so marked. I’m hoping to determine if this “Circle S” may be attributed to a particular maker. I would date this badge to 1950s or 1960s, though part of the motivation for my research is to learn how to date the examples in my collection. From my review of photos on the internet, these markings are uncommon.





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David Minton

My New Old Stock WAVES cap badge with 1945 contract number. Unfortunately there is no maker’s mark, only a sterling hallmark, which is rather faint. 







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David Minton

Navy “WAVES” cap badge with JMS maker’s mark attributed to maker Joseph M. Shanholtz Inc.9E866645-052A-4FA5-B520-ED63FB97C6DE.jpeg.d2f28178df8b26ac015e6769dd2918ef.jpeg






There seems to be very little information about the maker behind the JMS maker’s mark. I found a few references on the US Militaria Forum, mostly pertaining to jump wings. Forum user triplecanopy posted images of an identified sealed set of jump wings with a JMS maker’s mark with Joseph M. Shanholtz along with a 1966 contract date printed on the card, so the identifications seem to have merit. Unfortunately that is about as far as I have been able to get. There are some references to Joseph M. Shanholtz in generic business listings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but none include a website, and the address provided houses a jewelry store by a different name in street view. The pin is marked sterling, and follows the post WWII pattern so I will assume it is 1950’s to early 1960’s in manufacture. From my small sample size at least, this seems like one of the least common makers.

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David Minton

Navy “WAVES” cap badge with KREW maker’s mark attributed to maker KREW Inc.





The pin is marked sterling, and follows the post WWII pattern so I will assume it is 1950’s to early 1960’s in manufacture. 




KREW Inc. was a jewelry manufacturer in Attleboro, MA that was founded in 1950 and formally dissolved in 2014. I found a reference suggesting they won government contracts as recently as 2003.

Attleboro, MA, which was once known as "The Jewelry Capital of the World" due to the large concentration of such businesses, was also home to well known military insignia manufacturer L.G. Balfour Company. Other military insignia manufacturers in Attleboro at one time or another included Anataya Brothers, Inc., Bates & Klinke, Inc., V.H. Blackinton Company, College Shops, Leavens Manufacturing Co., Loren Murchison & Co., Charles R. Robbins Company, Swank, Inc., Thomas Co., and Whittemore and Company. Many of these companies have either closed or been acquired by others over the years.


According to forum user Bob Hudson:


“KREW Inc. of Attleboro, Mass. was founded in 1950 by Raymond U. Kelliher who served in the U.S. Army in WWII. It apparently was a family owned business until 1978. During its last few years of operations, one of the employees was the late James K. ‘Kenny’ Murphy Jr., who [was] a blood relative of Kelliher and who had served in the Marines from 1969 to 1974.”

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