Product Description: This Luftwaffe Pilots Badge is an early, high quality piece, with tremendous visual appeal. It’s struck from fine nickel silver. The obverse of this beautiful badge shows only light wear, and retains great original detail to the eagle and wreath. The eagle retains nice original dark finish to the recesses of the design, which gives it a look of depth. The wreath has light, attractive age toning. The reverse of the eagle has the BSW clover leaf manufacturer marking, indicating this is a product of the firm of Brüder Schneider AG, in Vienna. On the back, this Luftwaffe Pilots Badge has pleasant, uncleaned age toning. The hardware is textbook for this maker, and features a barrel hinge, round wire pin, and “question mark” shaped catch. The pin has a very slight bend, likely a result of having been worn on a pilot’s uniform. The rivets are intact and exactly what one would expect to see. There are no repairs, and the pin still functions as it should. This desirable early maker marked badge has a great look, and is in excellent condition.
Historical Description: The Luftwaffe Pilots 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. Pilots 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 open up a large spectrum of variation collecting for Luftwaffe badge collectors.
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