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zorgon 26-10-19 06:46 PM

Unusual Canadian Air Force (CAF) circa 1920 cap badge
4 Attachment(s)
I’m not sure what to make of this cap badge. It was manufactured in two pieces; front and back stampings, held together by three bent wires. Both stampings appear to be copper. It appears to be in the style of the “Type 2” (2nd issue with motto) Field cap badge and measures 2.215 inches in height, as does the regular Officers Field cap badge from this era.
It is most unusual in that it is missing the CAF overlay and the hole through the center of the maple leaf where it would normally be mounted, isn’t present. The crown is in the style of a CAF Officer’s crown with the potentially larger void to allow the red silk underlay to be present but this crown is unvoided. The front and back segments fit very well together as can be seen from the side pictures in the 4th attachment below.
The quality of the front impression lacks some fine detail and is rather poor and spotty on the motto section of the front of this badge but the crown, maple leaf and wings appear to be the same die pattern as the production field cap badges from this series. In hand, it has the look and feel of an old item, not any modern reproduction or duplicate.
I know nothing about the process of die stamping but I might speculate that this badge was a sample production example used to check the impression and fitting of the two segments. It might well be a one-off example.

Comments, discussion and thoughts are most welcome.

RCAF_Mike 27-10-19 05:33 PM

The overlay on the front looks like it was cast, not stamped. That would explain the lack of detail, pockmarking and the uneven edge. Definitely an oddity! Interesting find.

zorgon 28-10-19 04:51 AM

Thanks Mike, a good explanation. Do you have any idea why, in the manufacturing process, they might go to the trouble of making something like this?

RCAF_Mike 31-10-19 02:33 PM

Wayne I am as puzzled as you! Its an interesting piece. Definitely not of the 1967 set, I wonder if it was somebody's venture into a possible line of reproductions?

zorgon 03-11-19 05:33 AM

2 Attachment(s)
So Mike’s comment that this item looked like a sand casting got me thinking. The one replica of the Officers Field cap badge we know about can be found in the 1967 Commemorative set. In looking at the small flaws in this copper casting, I do see similarities which suggest that in fact, this die is related to the 1967 replica set. I’ll illustrate one of the more obvious flaws I see which connect the two. It’s visible in the motto portion of the badge.

The top of the first picture below is a close-up of the copper badge of this topic, and below is the replica commemorative from the 1967 set. The 2nd image is of an original. Note that the lower portion of the scroll is missing from both the copper and replica examples. Whether the badge in question is the exact piece used for the commemorative set or just one of the sample castings in the overall process is hard to definitely prove but I think this presents a good argument for the connection of these badges. Exactly why one would want to make a copper duplicate still isn’t really clear to me.

cefguy 03-11-19 11:45 AM

Z & M
Interesting comparison. It also begs the question of, if you are going to the trouble of producing a commemorative run of badges, why not go the extra mile and find an undamaged specimen to copy.

zorgon 03-11-19 03:18 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Hi Don:
I think the originals were probably OK but the damage/flaws were created in the process of re-creating the dies that then went on to stamp the copies. Any flaw in the duplicated die would therefore appear in the final copies. It can be seen in the motto pics of both the copper and '67 replicas, that there were fine connection contacts at multiple points that held or aligned the pieces during the casting or stamping process of the front and back segments of this two piece badge. Note the tip of the leaf stem and the bottom of the motto (where the scroll was nipped off). In particular, note in my "Motto- 1967 replica" badge, the connection piece from the tip of the leaf stem to the motto is still intact in the background of this picture. My guess this that that is just a finishing error on this particular badge.

I would think that the dies must have be made of a stronger material than copper, some sort of brass or hardened steel, thus this copper badge is an intermediary in the process, or an early stage sample to test quality and fitting of the production copies. A lot of finishing would be required after the badge is cast (or stamped) to clean up the void in the crown, remove the connection points, finish the edges, polish, etc.

Anybody out there from the Mint who can expound on this?

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