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Help authenticating/dating several pins

Discussion in 'Medals, Insignia, Badges & Recalls' started by wipefeetnmat, Jan 9, 2019.

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  1. wipefeetnmat

    wipefeetnmat New Member

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    Hello! I have just recently started looking into military pins and medals and I remembered I had these from a box I bought several years back. I have identified most of them but would like possibly to learn what era they are from and if they are in fact authentic.

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    Marksman Medal for Pistol-D (Dismounted Pistol) (Era: <=1948). The Medal is embossed STERLING. The bar is stamped STERLING.


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    1st Lieutenant bars (era?). Each is embossed STERLING.


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    2nd Lieutenant bars (era various?). Left to right: No markings, gold-tone pin. No markings, steel-tone pin. No markings, more complex steel-tone pin. Embossed AULD COL O, dark-tone pin.


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    Engineer Corps Officer's lapel pins (era?). Stamped "ACIDTEST", detailed castle door.


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    More Engineer Corps Officer's lapel pins (era?); All unmarked. Bottom left is slightly shorter than the other two.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  2. wipefeetnmat

    wipefeetnmat New Member

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    20190109_065837.jpg 20190109_065851.jpg
    Engineer Corps Officer's lapel pin (Late 40's to early 50's). Raised "NS MEYER INC. NEW YORK" and a half-size shield emblem.

    Engineer Corps Enlisted lapel pin (era?). Unmarked. Backing is not one piece with the front.

    ROTC lapel pin (1920's-1930's?). Raised "MEYER METAL" and the shield.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  3. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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    You are pretty much spot on in identifying the pieces. Most of the Castle pieces are officer's collar brass. The one with the circle is an enlistman's collar brass as denoted by the circle in the foreground. The marksman piece is authentic Army, probably pre to early WWII. 1920s and 30s sometimes had the date on the back. Yours has a Sterling mark (silver), which wasn't introduced until WWII, I believe. The qualification is dismounted pistol "basic" qualification and discontinued in 1948. I cannot date the rest, but can say collar brass was two piece until sometime in the 80s. Nice pickup though.
     
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  4. wipefeetnmat

    wipefeetnmat New Member

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    This all checks out, thanks a ton! :D

    Do enlisted lapel pins always have a circle shape? And by two-piece do you mean the screw backing?
     
  5. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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    Screw backing, yes, and I've seen some pieces where the "castle" is separately attached instead of molded. And enlisted collar brass by tradition always has a circle. If there is a blue ring on the US brass, that indicates infantry. I'm Air Force, and am still learning about the Army "do dads"....lol
     
  6. wipefeetnmat

    wipefeetnmat New Member

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    It seems like "clutch back" pins were made as early as 1922 though they weren't common until the late 1940's. And the NS MEYER officer castle seems to be from the late 40s to early 50s. Are the separate pieces more modern?

    Good to know! If I find any Air Force stuff I'll be sure to run it by you :)
     
  7. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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    I had a friend who used to work at Meyers, and I got spoiled since he was my primary source for dating. I have some old documentation, I will dig up and do some more research. As a general rule, clutch backs (the caps are sometimes called frogs), are generally more modern. Older government contracts (50's and below) always called for the brooch style (like your marksman badge). A couple of things you should consider, some soldiers (especially officers), would individually get theirs made through various sources. Quality can be all over the place (I once seen a solid gold Lt bars, that were made for an Ofc, in NY). Also, the military stock system is complex and I can write novels on that.......so, if there was an immediate need, quality or other "innovations" were allowed. Lastly, I've had medals issued to me, that the Manufacturing Date on the box was well over 30 years. So, some items may sit for a long time.

    IMHO, I would guess the non-hallmarked ones are newer. I'm only basing that on gut instinct.
     
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  8. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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  9. wipefeetnmat

    wipefeetnmat New Member

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    You ARE spoiled. Getting information straight from the source is way better than typing in searches and hoping you find relevant information.

    All good information I know now :D

    Are private purchase pieces less desirable? (I know I'd rather have a set of solid gold bars than a military issue set but maybe it's just me :p I wonder what that officer was like..)

    And are brooch style ones always early?

    That's what I thought at first but I was looking at a set of original WW2 castles from a museum display and they were unmarked AND clutchback. Also, something very interesting I noticed on the two matching unmarked ones is that they appear to have originally been pinback (or as you said brooch) style and later converted to clutchback. They also have apparently (from some research) early 'frogs' with little stars on them.

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    I have yet to delve deep into the link you posted above but it looks interesting so far!
     
  10. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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    Again, this is only my opinion based on observations. Generally, US stuff is much cheaper and usually less desirable, unless there is some providence attached to the piece (named, wings, or combat related). Thus, many people overlooked the research and history of these pieces. The newer generation of historian/collectors are starting to get on board and trying to play catch-up as compared to UK and German pieces. That's okay, because prices are still reasonably cheap (good for us).

    As for desirability, at this point there isn't much difference in prices so the default is quality and desirability of the purchaser. Using past experiences and my own preferences: I would rate desirability as follows: 1. Prominence (knowing the backstory of who owned/used it and if verified, almost always makes it more valuable. 2. Original Issue 3. Condition. However, if the item was used in war, and has prominence, I'd take that over a fresh from the box piece.

    I know several people who only collect in-theater items because of their originality. I will also add, that modifications are generally bad (brooch to clutch)....unless, there is a story and prominence. Case in point, my friend collects uniforms. At one point in time, he purchased a Colonel's Full Dress from WWII for $120 (pants, coat, hat, ribbons, and patches). No prominence. He later bought a beat up Tanker's Tunic that had a name stenciled into the pocket. After researching, he obtained the Sgts discharge papers, original ribbons, and his battlefield bible. He was offered $700 and is now worth over $1200.

    Since I only purchase things I can research, I prefer those type items.

    If I could make one suggestion based on my friend's advice, is to specialize. It might be unit crests, MOS badges, marksmanship badges, patches, or even uniforms. There is nothing more awe inspiring to the hobby, then a well laid out collection with thought and research behind it. Don't go into the hobby for the money, but for the learning and enjoyment. I.E. The best experience I had, was buying an Early Purple Heart, with and engraved name and finding the deceased "kids" family who thought the piece was lost in a house fire in the 50's and having it returned. I kept in contact with the family for many years.
     
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  11. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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    Sorry, missed a question of yours. Are brooch back always early, no. My Dad's Vietnam Marksmanship badge is Brooch, but a replacement I got for him is clutch. In early, you are meaning WWII I suppose. Looking at the site I provided, there are examples of both, but generally, brooch was the standard GI issue. Clutch appears to be more individually purchased (but still authorized).
     
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  12. wipefeetnmat

    wipefeetnmat New Member

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    I will keep this in mind. I am still deciding on what I want to specialize in but I definitely enjoy learning the history behind pieces so those are the ones I'd go for. And I'd love to have a story like that.

    Thank you for taking the time to inform me about the basics :) As a newbie I really appreciate it.
     
  13. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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    The best historians have had someone to help guide them. I’m new to the boards also, and I’m getting schooled (positively) from those who know way more than I! If I can be so bold about the boards, feel free to ask questions. I’m sure someone will assist. I will chime in and note if it’s an opinion of mine so someone can determine its worth. My expertise is Air Force, medals, civil war numismatics, MPCs(military payment certificates) and general US and world coins and paper money. If you like research, look into something called Snorter Notes. They are MPCs signed by GIs and they exchanged them with their buddies and taped them together. Acquiring them is cheap and the signatures, dates, and units.
     
  14. wipefeetnmat

    wipefeetnmat New Member

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    Very true. I am glad to have found someplace where my interests are shared and my questions answered :)

    I did a quick search on snorter notes and they do seem like they could be something I'd be into. It's so difficult when there's many cool things to choose from!
     
  15. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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    Because my interests were so eclectic, before the days of Google, some specified dealers who were friends, would sell me left overs they thought I would like, AND for a good price! A necessity for a HS”er w/limited resources! I missed out on one piece, a WWII poster advertising the Navy WACs, signed by the subject who was painted! The lot included her military papers(she really served) and some other small items. I was a mere $5 short, and for some reason I chose to purchase a lot of OPA Ration card board tokens, a sighed war ration book, and an emergency chemical warfare cover! A thick enveloped sized one-time use “bag with a window”. Don’t think it would have done anything. I have yet to do research on that one. Looking back, I should have bought the poster! The bad thing, the dealer would have let me slide for the $5....lol

    BTW: I will post a pic of my Grandfathers WWII collar brass, just for comparison if you are interested. Nothing spectacular or rare.
     
  16. wipefeetnmat

    wipefeetnmat New Member

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    Nice! I had a coin dealer friend like that in early HS. I'd go with my parents whenever they went into the city and spend hours just looking through pieces and talking with the guy.. I'd buy some and he would always throw in some cool ones that were extras from an estate or whatnot. Some of my best HS memories are from that place.

    That poster seems like it would've been a good buy. But the mental image of this chemical cover you mentioned has me chuckling :p

    I'd love to see them! I will post pictures of the piece I bought from an estate a couple days ago as well.
     
  17. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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    Lol I retired in 2008 and civilian life doesn’t allow me much time. I will get the missus going by digging the stuff out....the CW suit was quite funny, a trash bag with a window. Or a burqa....lol it may take time, but we’ll worth it
     
  18. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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    Probably my best in theater piece from UK. Soldier paid but never picked it up. No name, or unit as information was long destroyed. I got it from the decendents of the store owners in 1993 near Oxford. I assume it’s WWII period.
     

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  19. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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    Received this from a USN WWII Uncle/Godfather. He was corresponding with relatives in Poland 1980s (NFI). It belonged to a Polish Resitace Air Force Member who made it to UK. When he returned home, the Russians confiscated things like this. He through it in a field and retrieved it later. Interesting story I cannot verify. I never did much research. I believe this is a hat piece.
     

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  20. wolves69

    wolves69 recruit

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    This was my first “tip”. We had a local corner store owned by a WWII vet that asked me to make deliver to the next street (I was 12 and had to make two trips). Anyway, he gave me this and he said he got this on leave in Hawaii and I shouldn’t spend it because it was good luck. Much later, he passed away, and the new owners of the store held a yard sale and sold all his “stuff”. I got his Chinese service, Occupation, WWII Victoty, American Defense and American Service Medal. I believe the new owners kept the Bronze Star, and I know they sold the Purple Heart. I wish now, that I should have asked for his Discharge Papers as they were thrown away along with photos. Just in case you were unaware, the Hawaii overprint was done because the government was afraid of an invasion by the Japanese and if they were successful at capturing Hawaii, the government could make all money with the overprint worthless, thus limiting Japanese damage to the US economy. I cannot get the back to download ( file too big).
     

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