Product Description:. An beautiful Juncker J1 Pilot Observer Badge. This Juncker J1 Pilot Observer Badge is made of two separate pieces, a wreath and the eagle. The wreath is made of solid brass (tombak) and was nicely fire-gilded. The golden fire-gilding is approximately 80% intact with some of the brass base layer showing through. The inner and outer edges of the wreath show evidence of the hand filing commonly seen on high end awards of the Third Reich. The eagle is Juncker’s First Pattern type. The Second Pattern Eagle, like the wreath, is also made of solid brass (tombak), but was finished with a silver electroplating. The silver plating has taken on a very appealing darker patina over the years resulting in a very unique appearance usually only seen on the early high quality Juncker Badges and Awards. As with the wreath, hand filing can be seen throughout. Also to mention is the more desirable hand cut-out between the Eagles legs, which is a feature not seen on every early Juncker Eagle. On the reverse two brass rivets, in the textbook Juncker style and execution, hold the two pieces together solidly with no movement of the two pieces. The Juncker maker mark can be seen on the reverse of the eagle through the unique patina pattern. The barrel hinge and round wire “C” catch are originally and securely intact on the reverse of the wreath. Early Pilot Observer Badges are becoming extremely difficult to find. The Juncker J1 Pilot Observer Badge is difficult to find and always desirable. This one would make a very welcome addition to any 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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