Product Description: This BSW Pilot Badge is a nice example of a wartime produced award. It’s made of two pieces of fine zinc. The wreath retains most of the original silver finish, with wear to the highlights and some mellow toning in the recesses. The eagle is nicely factory darkened and shows crisp detail. The obverse of this badge has a pleasant, even patina. On the reverse, this badge is maker marked with the BSW “clover leaf” maker mark indicating manufacture by the firm of Brüder Schneider AG in Vienna. Nearly all of the original finish is present on the reverse, with minimal bubbling in some small areas. The hardware and rivets are textbook BSW, with no signs of repair. The round wire attachment pin is magnetic and still functions as it should. This desirable, maker marked BSW Pilot Badge is complete and sound, with nice finish. The condition rates as excellent.
Historical Description: The Luftwaffe Pilot Badge was instituted by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring on August 12, 1935. It was among the earliest badges introduced in the German Wehrmacht and was worn by all qualified pilots in the German Air Force, similar to the “wings” worn by some other armies. The design of the badge featured a large, swooping eagle clutching the German national swastika emblem, surrounded by a wreath of oak and laurel leaves. The badge was normally presented in a blue hinged case. It was worn on the upper left uniform pocket, and a cloth version was also authorized for field use. In the nearly ten years from the introduction of this badge, to the end of WWII, the manufacturers of these awards made many changes in the features of the designs. Some companies, like Juncker, Assmann, and Deumer, had early first pattern badges which looked completely different from later pieces by the same manufacturers. Pilot badges were made of aluminum, nickel silver, plated Tombak, and zinc. The eagle was always a separate piece, riveted to the wreath, with different manufacturers using different rivet designs. As the war progressed, and dies wore out, many makers produced badges with subtle changes. All of these changes, over time, opened up a large spectrum of variation collecting for Luftwaffe badge collectors.
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