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WASP wing find

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It is not with some trepidation that I am going to post this wing. Hopefully, it will not devolve into a series of "its fake" -- "no its not" --"yes it is, the solder is wrong" type posts.

 

I found this wing yesterday. IFF it were a bombardier, gunner, or aircrew wing made into a bracelet, I would have zero concerns about it, but since it is a WASP wing, perhaps the holy grail of WWII USAAF related wing collecting items, then one should be wary.

 

The source was a flea market from a dealer who sells jewelry exclusively.

 

it is 2 3/4 inches long (more or less, because I had to measure it with a bit of string). The hallmark is right as rain.

 

Someone loved the heck out of this wing and it has some significant wear and tear.

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The flash gave the wing some funky coloring, but in fact it is a highly polished wing.

 

IT was made into a bracelet, using the classic large links you see on so many WWII ID-style bracelets. Everything has a similar level of wear and patina.

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The hallmark is 100% JOSTEN. Still, I have seen some pretty good markings on a repop wings (I'll give an example of one of those at the end).

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A close up of the detail on the hallmark on the wing. Not very focused, sorry.

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Maybe a better view of the back. It was at one time a clutch back wing (as it should have been). Some dings and slight stresses from the bending.

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Close up detail of the front of the wing. Again, it is worn smooth in some places, other places have a few dings.

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Finally, the fakes of these wings can be VERY good. This is a fake that I got a few years ago. It is actually only about 2 9/16 inches long (a small fraction LESS than an original due to it being a cast repop), has a funky "patina from a can" finish, and under very careful examination with a loop has numerous casting flaws in the front and back. The hallmark is also subtly wrong. In side by side comparison with known originals, this particular wing stands out as being a cast fake. Hopefully, I will soon be able to do another side by side with the bracelet wing and known originals.

 

Anyway, figure may as well add some wings to the site, as things have been slow.

 

Patrick

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I LOVE this bracelet. :w00t: That is just too cool! I have no idea if it is real or fake. I don't know enough to voice an opinion. But given the obvious use and love, it sure looks like the real deal to me. Excellent find! ......Kat :thumbsup:


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Patrick, my two cents on this, I think it's good. Look at the Jostens mark on your repro and compare it to the bracelet. Note how the hallmark on the bracelet has a rectangular box around the words Josten and Sterling. They must have used a stamping tool for the mark that was all one piece sort of like a stamp set someone would use for their address on an envelope. The marks are pressed so deeply into the wings they create this slight box outline. The repro does not display this rectangular box. I checked my WASP wing, which I know is good, and it has these same marks. Interestingly my AAF pilot wings (Command, Senior & Pilot) do not display the rectangular box around the marks. Not that the box couldn't be faked but I see it as a good sign. The rest of the detail of the wing looks spot on to me as well. You always have the luckiest finds!! Congrats.

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Patrick - looks good to me.

 

Just to bring all you up on Josten WASP reproductions. The WASP Association had them made for years. They had a batch made overseas and the Josten Stamp is not exact as discussed in the posts. I made a large number for them and the Josten Stamp is exact, but to help everyone in the future I made a small change form the originals. The pin on the originals was about 1/4 inch tall, while mine were 3/8 of an inch tall.

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WOW! Great find Patrick. And at a Flea Market nontheless. Congrats.

JD


AAF Collector...........
**Always Buying WW2 Aviation Related Items: Especially Operation Tidal Wave items (1st Ploesti Raid) ..... WW2 Fighter Ace Related Items.....Higher End A-2 Flight Jacket Groups....AAF Related Valor Medal Groups**

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WOW! Great find Patrick. And at a Flea Market nontheless. Congrats.

JD

 

Thanks for your kind words. I still believe that lots of good stuff is still out there waiting to be found.

 

What I find neat about this wing is how well worn it is, you can tell someone really loved this piece. Since only about 1200 or so (likely even less than that) women were in the WASPs and the program itself ran from 1943 to around December of 1944, the wings are pretty scarce. In addition, just about all the WASP wings I have seen and handled have been pretty clean and near mint. Even those with nice provenance to a WASP are usually in pretty good shape, as you would expect for something that was likely only worn for less than a year or two. This bracelet is so worn that I can imagine that the WASP--sadly I have no idea who it was--wore it all the time. Myself, I am always more partial to the "salty" items anyway.

 

The least I can do is continue to respect this wing as much as the previous owner.

 

Patrick

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Looks the biz to me! The wear and tear on the wings is commensurate with them being regularly worn in their bracelet configuration. Seems like you had a lucky find...well done!

 

Sabrejet :thumbsup:


"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

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Looks the biz to me! The wear and tear on the wings is commensurate with them being regularly worn in their bracelet configuration. Seems like you had a lucky find...well done!

 

Sabrejet :thumbsup:

As another comparison, someone sent me some pictures from a recent ebay auction of what seems to be a cast WASP wing also made into a bracelet. I can see signs of casting on the back (also notice the really rough edges on the left tip of the wing on the photo of the back), and what seems to be a heat-made patina on the back. Also, the hallmark seems to be off. Still, for the unwary, it can be tough to tell the good from the bad. IMHO, this particular badge is a cast one.

 

Patrick

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If an item passes my initial test of "looking right", I place a lot of weight on where is came from and how much it cost. Patrick - your wings looks "right" to me. If the jewelry peddler charged you, say, $75 for it and didn't identify it as a WASP wing, that would cinch it for me as being original.

Kurt


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I found this wing yesterday. The source was a flea market from a dealer who sells jewelry exclusively.

 

 

I am going to the wriong flea markets... nice score :thumbsup:

 

John


Always looking for Wings & Named Air Medals!

Motto: To Collect, Preserve, and Remember!

 

 

 

 

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Did they just solder the chain ends directly to the wingtips? Thats really interesting....If only your wings had a name to go with them!


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This one sold on eBay yesterday. Does it look like a good one?

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Paul,

 

I have a feeling you already know the answer. :lol:

 

Yep, it's a stinker that started showing up in earnest about 15 or 20 years ago. :thumbdown:

 

First, the faker used an Air Corps Ferrying Command crest when in reality he should have used an Air Transport Command crest. By the way, the Ferrying Command was redesignated Air Transport Command in November 1942.

 

Second, the backmarks are completely wrong. The words 'ATTLEBORO and MASS' should be in line with each other and not spaced apart.

 

Third, the word STERLING should have been stamped below 'ATTLEBOROMASS.'

 

While not wanting to pass judgement on the pin and/or locking device . . . there is still a fourth and final reason. Any idea what that might be?

 

Kind regards,

 

"Bullwinkle" :)


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While not wanting to pass judgement on the pin and/or locking device . . . there is still a fourth and final reason. Any idea what that might be?

 

Kind regards,

 

"Bullwinkle" :)

Well, Bullwinkle...I noted the mark variation. And to me the overall finish of it is too much like the flood of current cast copies, but based on the comparison with the wing on Bob's site, it appears that the original had a satin finish where the fantasy piece doesn't. :think:

 

However, once again the shame of it is that the fantasy piece is headed to a new owner in exchange for his $430 (and don't forget that an underbidder was willing to part with $425 for this bit of flim-flammery) and the seller represented that it is, "Guaranteed Original Authentic World War Two pilot wings" thereby putting something on display about himself. I suppose it's just a simple fact that a fool and his money are soon parted, and a certain amount of education can flow from that, albeit at a pretty dear price.

 

The comparison below clearly shows the obverse difference you mentioned..

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Hi Paul,

 

Yes, exactly. :thumbsup:

 

It should also be pointed out that when a force tool is used to stamp a thin sheet of silver deep into a die it does so under tremendous pressure which forces the metal deep into every crevice of the die leaving sharp, high detail. It also compresses, strengthens and hardens the metal. Thus, more often than not, after the badge is popped out of the die, a thin layer of silver flash may remain on the outer rim along its back. This usually can be seen or felt when you rub your finger along the back edge of a wing badge but there usually was not enough flash to worry about; however, sometimes a manufacturer did see fit to file the flash flush with the back. In turn, that would leave a few barely visible file marks.

 

On the back of the example that sold on eBay there is no hint of flash or file marks along its outer rim. The rim is as smooth as a baby's bottom.

 

Bullwinkle :lol:

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Currently on ebay at $305 and counting...

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...and on the eighth day, God created the radial engine...

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