Condition: Near Mint
Base Material: Zinc
Product Description: This Combined Pilot Observer Badge is an outstanding example of a tough-to-find FLL-made badge. This beautiful badge is made of two pieces of fine zinc, which are held together by two rivets visible on the reverse. The obverse of this badge is incredibly well-preserved, with nearly all of the gold wash remaining on the wreath, and near-perfect silver wash on the eagle. The swastika emblem even retains the factory polished highlights. All of the original detail is intact. The reverse of this badge is unmarked, but this example is known to have been made by the firm of Friedrich Linden in Lüdenscheid. The FLL hardware used is a variant barrel hinge, with typical round wire catch. The round wire pin is intact and functional. The reverse of the eagle shows a small amount of lifting to the finish. Two FLL-style zinc rivets hold the eagle to the wreath, and remain nice and tight. This Combined Pilot Observer Badge very nice example of a rare badge, in near mint condition. It would likely be impossible to upgrade.
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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