Product Description: This cased aluminum Assmann Pilot Badge is an extremely desirable and hard to find badge. This is a super early First Pattern piece, dating from the mid 1930s. The eagle is the type known to collectors as the A1, with an A2 wreath. These early aluminum badges are not often encountered today. This one shows some light, honest wear. Most of the original darkening is present on the eagle, with wear to the high points that exposes the gray aluminum. The wreath has great original luster, with some light, attractive toning in the recesses of the design. On the reverse, the wreath is well marked, with the stylized “A” maker mark of the Assmann firm. It is also marked in relief with “D.R.G.M.,” indicating a trademarked design. The hardware setup features an integral hinge, with a round wire pin. The catch is also round wire, and has been repaired at some point in the past.This outstanding badge is complete with its original case. The case is textbook, covered with an impregnated fabric material, with the designation of the award emblazoned on the lid. The exterior of the case shows only slight wear and age, and the hinge and closure are functional. The interior features a beautiful deluxe velvet insert. The silk lining to the lid is intact, though the fabric that covers the hinge on the inside has split. This cased aluminum Assmann Pilot Badge is a superb piece, with tremendous visual impact and appeal. The condition is 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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