Mint GWL Pilot Observer Badge

Condition: Mint

Maker: GWL

Base Material: Tombak

SKU: JW5756 Categories , Tags , ,


Product Description: This mint GWL Pilot Observer Badge is an absolutely stunning piece. The condition of this award is phenomenal. It’s an early, high quality badge, made of Tombak. The fire gilded wreath is mint, with full original finish. Brightly burnished highlights contrast handsomely with the more matte look of the fire gilded finish in the recesses of the design. The eagle is also mint, with all of the original bright white frosted finish. The eagle highlights, including the swastika, are highly burnished and beautiful. The reverse of this mint GWL Pilot Observer is maker marked behind the eagle with the stylized initials of the firm of Gebrüder Wegerhoff in Lüdenscheid. The rivets are textbook for this maker, and are tight, with no wobble of the eagle. The hardware is also exactly what one expects to see on this variant, with a block hinge, functional needle attachment pin, and “C” catch. This is an absolutely perfect badge, in exquisite condition. The Pilot Observer Badge is a scarce Luftwaffe award. To find any Third Reich award in this condition is challenging; to find a scarce badge like this, as well-preserved as this one is, is difficult in the extreme. This mint award simple cannot be upgraded.



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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