Product Description: This cased J1 Pilot Observer Badge is an absolutely choice set, being both extremely nice and extremely rare. The badge is a top quality, early piece, in the desirable thin wreath “J1” pattern, and is made of two pieces of brass alloy (Tombak). The gorgeous eagle retains nearly all of the original, high quality, silver electroplated finish. This original finish is delicate, and it is wonderful to see a piece that retains the original finish to this extent. It presents a very vibrant, bright look. The wreath is also outstanding, with virtually all of the high quality fire gilding still intact. The bright gold and silver look of this piece is really eye-catching, and all of the original fine detail is present. The reverse of this exquisite badge is maker marked behind the eagle with the “C. E. Juncker Berlin S.W.” stamp. The hardware is textbook for Juncker, with a functional attachment pin, and correct, tight rivets. There is no damage, there are no repairs. This near mint J1 Pilot Observer Badge is complete with an incredible case, which also rates near mint. The badge itself is rare, but this case is much rarer still. This rare case is the correct type for a J1 Pilot Observer. The exterior retains nearly all of the original surface, with great color. The designation of the award is embossed on the lid. The pushbutton and hinge function flawlessy. The interior shows vivid color and displays the badge beautifully. This mega set is highly desirable and could be the centerpiece of an advanced collection.
Historical Description: The Luftwaffe Combined Pilot Observer Badge was instituted by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring on January 19, 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, silver swooping eagle clutching the German national swastika emblem, surrounded by a golden 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 Observer badges were made of aluminum, nickel silver, plated Tombak, and later on in 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 open up a large spectrum of variation collecting for Luftwaffe badge collectors.
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