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A comparison of WWI wings


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A few years ago, I bought for $40 a tore up Dallas-style wing at my local flea market. It differed significantly from more traditional Dallas wings is a number of ways. 1) It had a straight "spade-like" shield rather than the more curvy shield of traditional Dallas wings. 2) The wing shapes was also different than most Dallas-style wings. and 3) while it had very nice, even and regular beading along all the edges of the wings and shield, this beading did not extend past the tip of the wings. Points 2 and 3 are rather important, as most fake Dallas wings have poorly, irregular and misshapen beads and the beads do not extend past the wings.

 

At the time when I bought this wing, I figured that for 40$, "who cared". Still, after examining the wing and showing it to Art Grigg and Ron Burkey (who happened to be at that show), we all kind of gave it a :thumbsup: rating, as it were.

 

The wing I bought was in bad shape. The hinge and catch had been broken off and someone had attempted a 1/2*ss repair. The fabric covering the back of the wing was also gone. In addition, the wings are rather loose on the metal plate, and as such, it seems that the bits all are adjacent (this is just due to the way the pieces can no sort of move around on the wing.

 

Last year, on ebay, another wing came in auction and I bought it. It is in much better shape, but is the same wing.

 

The point of this post is NOT to discuss whether these wings are fake or not--my mind is already made up. What I would like to do is share ANOTHER wing that is currently up for auction and use this opportunity to examine some points about Dallas wings.

 

First, my 2 wings from my collection.

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One of the biggest problems is that I couldn't find an example of this straight sided wing in any of the books. Campbell, Morris, neither of the "Silver WIngs, Pinks and Greens" references nor either of Huff's "Wings and Things, much less the book by Fitzsimmons. It was only when I was looking through one of the WIngs and Things booklets from the 80-90's that I found this poor quality picture.

 

But I had also noticed that in Terry Morris' book, he had a chapter titled "caveat emptor" where he also showed a similar 1/2 wing and cast some doubts on its vintage.

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Sadly, both wings in both sources were poorly shown and it is hard to get any idea of the merits of each wing.

 

Then, in a recent auction, I found this wing being offered for sale.

 

This is where I want to start the comparison between these two sets of wings, the ones in my collection and the one up for sale.

 

At first blush, these wings are very similar. They have the same spade or box shaped shield, the wings are similar in shape and the beads do not extend past the wing tips.

 

The auction wing has a kind of brownish "patina in a can" look, but still they are very similar.

The next few posts will examine that idea more carefully.

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A close up screen capture of the shield of the auction wing.

 

Notice a couple of things. Close up, it seems the patina is actually painted on. The stars are uneven and lack shape. Some of the stars are lacking large parts of their arms! Also, look at the dots going around. They are misshapen, uneven and some are unfinished or poorly formed.

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A close up of the wings. Again, the dots are poorly done. Also, notice the feathering on the wings. The wings are flat and the edges are smooth. The center vein of each winglet is a simple line, with simply lines radiating away. Rather mundane. Up close, their is no sense of style or dimension to the wings and feathering.

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This final pictures of the wing tip shows the sort of bland feathering. This is not to say that it isn't better than most, but when studying OTHER Dallas style wings, the detail is MUCH higher.

 

I'll illustrate that point in a few posts down.

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Now, I want to shift over to my wings. This is a close up scan of the shield area of the wing that has been torn up. Again, the wings are abutting the shield because the wings are loose on the backing. Remember, these wings are made by drilling wholes in a brass backing and then adding the separate pieces to the form. If the wholes are closer together, or the bits can move around a bit, then the relative position can change. It also doesn't help in that I had a few beers one night and pulled this sucker apart :emba0005: to see if it had any hallmarks. It didn't.

 

Carefully note that the stars are all regular and well formed. Also the line of dogs are even, similar, and spaced in a regular manner.

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Here is a composite of the two wings made one on top of the other.

 

I will leave it to the viewer to decide which wing shows better detail. However, a couple of things.

 

First, and more importantly, these are NOT the same wing. The pattern of the feathers are distinctly different. Thus, they did not come from the same die (or mold, as the case may be). Sadly, the light from the scanner fails to captures some of the details of my wings...for example, on the shoulder, each little wing has a final round "bead" that gives each little winglet a nice 3D feel.

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Just a couple more images for discussion.

 

This is a known Dallas wing fake. It is characterized by a number of points as a fake.

 

But, take a look at 2 particular things, the first are the beads and the second is the feathering of the wings. Notice how the feathering of the two wings (the fake Dallas wing) and the auction wing, look very similar?

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post-1519-1256265159.jpg

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A close up of the wings. Again, the dots are poorly done. Also, notice the feathering on the wings. The wings are flat and the edges are smooth. The center vein of each winglet is a simple line, with simply lines radiating away. Rather mundane. Up close, their is no sense of style or dimension to the wings and feathering.

 

First let me go back a few years and bring up the story of this style wing with the straight sided shield. It showed up on the market in the 70's, and the story that went with the wing was that an elderly man walked into a shop with a cigar box full of the full wing and half wings. He claimed to have stolen them from a PX during WW1 and had hidden them all these years for fear of being arrested. He has fallen on hard times and needs to move them on. I discussed this at length with Duncan and he stated to me that he was aware of these wings and that they were being made by an individual in Fla. Not to say that there wasn't an original in this style that he was copying, but I have never seen an attributed one. Now then if you look at the blow up on the half wing above there is an outline of the letter S under the gold S. Also there appears to be some beads of silver on the wing. I would lean towards this wing being a cast copy. As for the RMA wings I would feel much better if an attributed example had surfaced.

 

Terry

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I would lean towards this wing being a cast copy. As for the RMA wings I would feel much better if an attributed example had surfaced.

 

Terry

 

Trust me, I have been looking for photographic proof of this type of wing for some time now. Nothing yet, but hopefully one day!

 

The point isn't really to discuss "fake" or "real". Enough smart and well educated people have come down on either side of the coin for me to not take anything personal. As I said, this is one in for my collection and I enjoy it. Especially because of this wing, I have spent much time comparing and studying every Dallas style wing I see.

 

However, this auction wing and my wing kind of offers a nice perspective for people to compare and come up with their own ideas.

 

Another 1/2 wing.

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Another 1/2 wing.

That is a nice thing to see...

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First let me go back a few years and bring up the story of this style wing with the straight sided shield. It showed up on the market in the 70's, and the story that went with the wing was that an elderly man walked into a shop with a cigar box full of the full wing and half wings. He claimed to have stolen them from a PX during WW1 and had hidden them all these years for fear of being arrested. He has fallen on hard times and needs to move them on.

 

I discussed this at length with Duncan and he stated to me that he was aware of these wings and that they were being made by an individual in Fla.

 

Not to say that there wasn't an original in this style that he was copying, but I have never seen an attributed one. Now then if you look at the blow up on the half wing above there is an outline of the letter S under the gold S. Also there appears to be some beads of silver on the wing. I would lean towards this wing being a cast copy. As for the RMA wings I would feel much better if an attributed example had surfaced.

 

Terry

 

Terry,

 

Re the individual in Florida who made those badges. Does the name "Miller" ring a bell?

 

Cliff

 

:wink2:

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Terry,

 

Re the individual in Florida who made those badges. Does the name "Miller" ring a bell?

 

Cliff

 

:wink2:

 

Cliff,

Duncan never told me his name, just made mention that he knew of an individual in Fla that was making this style wing.

 

Terry

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Now compare this to the feathering of some other good Dallas wings.

 

A full size dallas wing minus most of its fabric covering.

 

Patrick,

 

Did you used to own this Dallas wing? I beleive I currently have this in my collection.

 

Jason

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Patrick,

 

Did you used to own this Dallas wing? I beleive I currently have this in my collection.

 

Jason

 

Hello Jason,

 

I believe it is an image I captured some years ago from an Ebay auction. I tend to "collect" images of Dallas wings (the good, bad and ugly) as they show up. Auctions, discussion on the forums, etc. Sadly, many of my files seem to have been lost due to a computer crash and this is one image that I had saved on another computer.

 

I feel strongly that no matter what other evils exist, Ebay is a beautiful gold mine for wing research. Study auctions, capture images, save them on a file, study, compare and contrast those wings with others, and within a few months/years you have as big a reference library as you could want of rare and not so rare wings. I like to study and compare and examine the wings as best I can. Some fall in the the ???? and "I'll wait and see", others (like this wing) are clearly the real deal, and others (like the wings in one of the other posts) are clearly fakes. It doesn't take much to begin to get a feel for the real thing by studying as many wings as possible. Toss in any chance to handle wings (other peoples collections, at shows, etc), ask lots of questions, cross reference the books, participate in the forums, and I am convinced any collector can become very savvy and educated about telling the fakes and originals apart. All this without spending a dime! Then, when opportunity knocks, you can feel much more confident about buying those more expensive wings--also, you can easily compare them with the wings in your reference library. The alternative is collecting by walking the rough (and expensive) road of learning by trial and error! Lots of expensive mistakes and bad purchases if you go that way, I fear.

 

Patrick

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Patrick,

 

A very interesting post on a wing you have been studying for some time. One detail that does not really show up on the lower wing in post #1 is any age (fade) or wear which can be the image itself. Can you provide your observations on that aspect.

 

Thanks

 

John

Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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Patrick,

 

A very interesting post on a wing you have been studying for some time. One detail that does not really show up on the lower wing in post #1 is any age (fade) or wear which can be the image itself. Can you provide your observations on that aspect.

 

Thanks

 

John

 

Hey John,

 

Not sure about what you are asking. The top wing in the first post, is pretty beat up. It shows sign of wear and polishing. Also, the back hinge and catch have been damaged and the cloth is missing.

 

The other wing is much more pristine, but does also show some general dings here and there, as one would expect. I'll try to get a better picture of it later.

 

Patrick

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This is kind of the best picture I could get with my camera. Still, the flash tends to mute out some of the detail.

 

I have little doubt that when compared side by side, you can see the difference between those wings that are die struck and those that are cast copies of the originals.

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Terry,

 

Re the individual in Florida who made those badges. Does the name "Miller" ring a bell?

 

Cliff

 

Cliff,

Duncan never told me his name, just made mention that he knew of an individual in Fla that was making this style wing.

 

Terry

 

Mr. Miller was the fellow in Florida who said he could design and make a bogus WW1 wing badge in a style that would fool anybody . . . and he came very close to doing it. I have correspondence sent in August 1987 by a collector/dealer from Pennsylvania in which he offered three of the (Miller) made badges if I wanted them.

 

We all know that Bailey, Banks & Biddle as well as Eisenstadt made similar looking 'Dallas' wing badges and both have been copied by fakers numerous times. In the case of the bogus WW1 wing badges made by Miller, one could say that it would only be a matter of time before the forgers began making castings of them too.

 

:crying:

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Hey John,

 

Not sure about what you are asking. The top wing in the first post, is pretty beat up. It shows sign of wear and polishing. Also, the back hinge and catch have been damaged and the cloth is missing.

 

The other wing is much more pristine, but does also show some general dings here and there, as one would expect. I'll try to get a better picture of it later.

 

Patrick

 

You answered my question - thanks

Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

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  • 10 months later...
You answered my question - thanks

 

 

I have been arguing that this straight sided Dallas wing is a vintage wing. The other day, I bought this picture off of ebay. It SEEMS to show that the straight sided wing was actually worn by pilots in WWII. Sadly, it isn't clear enough to be conclusive proof that this type of wing was worn, but I think it is suggestive of that fact.

 

I am still looking for clearer photos of this type of wing, but it suggests that the straight sided Dallas wing was not a figment of someone's imagination in the 1980's. Not that I don't think that room still exists for disagreement, but....

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I tried to capture a close up of the wing, but the picture simply is not that clear. Below that, I put my example of the straight sided wing and below that the more traditional spade style wing. Again, it is hard to know what is shadow and lighting and what is real. Also perspective depends on the angle and orientation of the wing relative to the others.

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