Variant: First Pattern Eagle / Second Pattern Wreath
Product Description: An early A1/A2 Thin Wreath Assmann Pilot Badge in excellent condition. The Assmann firm made multiple changes to their early Pilot Badges before settling with the most common design type seen during the war. Because of this, the earlier variants of the Assmann Pilot badge are harder to find then their later variants. This Thin Wreath Assmann Pilot Badge features a First Pattern Assmann Eagle design with a Second Pattern Wreath. The wreath is made of brass which then received a high quality electroplating. The wreath now exhibits patina and slight wear from use and decades of existence. The eagle is also made of brass, but was then burnished to give an artificial aged silver look as per manufacturing regulations. The eagle now shows signs of wear and patina from age, but remains in beautiful condition. The hardware is of textbook Assmann construction, and shows no signs of repair or tampering of any type. The rivets holding the wreath and the eagle together are tight and feature the typical attributes of Assmann rivets. The Thin Wreath Assmann Pilot Badge is a tough one to fill a void in a collection.
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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