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  #1  
Old 21-02-21, 07:33 PM
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Cleeman Cleeman is offline
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Default Royal Navy badge collecting

Hi,

After many years of collecting Regimental badges, I am now embarking on collecting Royal Navy badges. So far I have identified a couple of excellent books by E.C. Coleman, but are there any others that anyone would recommend.

Additionally, if anyone is looking at selling off some of their collections, please let me know.

Many thanks,
Andy
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  #2  
Old 22-02-21, 05:48 AM
Alex Rice Alex Rice is offline
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Badges and insignia of the British Armed Services by May, Carmen & Tanner is quite comprehensive.
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  #3  
Old 22-02-21, 09:17 AM
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Brilliant. Thank you. A copy is on its way.

Cheers
Andy
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  #4  
Old 22-02-21, 10:02 AM
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Default Royal Navy badge collecting

Hi Andy

Just a word of warning about the May volume. It was published in the early-1970s so it's fifty years old now and there have been a lot of new badges issued since then! In fact the smaller the navy gets the more badges they seem to issue!

Also (and this always upsets those who regard May as infallible and his work as a sort of 'bible') it does contain many errors. I stress that this is not May's fault. It is simply that a lot more research has been undertaken in the last fify years.

But it is still a volume that you will find really useful.

Unlike Army badge collecting, there are actually very few books on naval badges. There are a few books on the history of naval uniform which contain sections on badges but that's about it really.

And it's not much use contacting the National Museum of the Royal Navy or the Imperial War Museum either as they don't seem to know anything! For instance, I contacted them both for information on a Hydrophone Operators badge from the First World War. They told me that such a badge was never issued - despite the fact that I have one attached to a contemporary uniform, my friend has an example, and I have photos of the badge being worn! Many other collectors will tell you similar storys.

Most of us have collected bits of information over the years and amassed a lot of knowledge that we are willing to share with other collectors. So never be afraid to ask questions! I've been collecting RN badges for over thirty years and I still ask questions about things I don't know about.

Good luck

Pete
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  #5  
Old 22-02-21, 10:30 AM
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Cleeman Cleeman is offline
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Thank you Pete for the kind information.

The May volume sounds a little like the Kipling & King and Gaylor books on Regimental badges. A great comprehensive guide BUT with the occasional discrepancy. I look forward to receiving it.

I will be certainly using the knowledge and experience on the Forum, so expect to hear from me on a regular basis...!

Thanks again,

Andy
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  #6  
Old 23-02-21, 05:45 AM
Alex Rice Alex Rice is offline
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I also have some issues with Coleman's books. He took on a huge task with his books and they are very good references. Where I have a problem is because he has photoshopped many of the badge images. This raises the question of whether the badge actually existed. When it is a rare badge and there 'should be one of this pattern because other departments had one', if there isn't a physical example available to photograph or there aren't old photos of people wearing them, can you say for 100% certain that one was produced.
Other than that, I think any collector of RN badges should have copies of them.
Cheers,
Alex
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  #7  
Old 23-02-21, 01:14 PM
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Default Royal Navy badge collecting

Hi Alex

Yes, I agree that Coleman's books have their faults too. But as you also say I think that they are essential volumes in any badge collector's library. I know that a lot of people criticised them when they were first published but I like them. My reply to those that criticised them at the time was 'Well, if you think you can do better, then write one yourself!' I know that I wouldn't have the guts to do it! Unlike yourself with your excellent volume on South African Naval insignia.

And to go off topic a moment. I was reading an international naval journal the other day and it reported that the South African Navy is so starved of cash these days that the government is seriously considering scrapping it all together! Please tell me this isn't true!

Pete
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  #8  
Old 23-02-21, 04:24 PM
royston royston is offline
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The best of luck with your collecting. If you go for gold badges, red badges, embroidered blue and printed blue you will be talking of thousands of badges. You may consider specialising. And do not forget the WRNS blue badges.

Having collected RN badges for about 34 years (Yes thousands) I have now reduced them down to four 1WW areas. Quite often I have come across 1WW badges or combinations that are not listed but I have managed to obtain a photograph or badge that proves otherwise.
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  #9  
Old 23-02-21, 05:57 PM
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Thank you everyone for contributing. I am really excited about changing my sphere of collecting and have already made a foray into buying a number of badges already. Some from dealers, some EBay and some from kind members on here. Sadly I have recently let my RND, RMLI, RMA and Royal Marine collection go.

Just a quick thought though, how do you all store, file or present your badges. With regimental metal badges I used the Riker Display cases (expensive but good to display your badges). With the thousands of cloth badges available to collect, that would not be an option here. It would be good if you could share some of your favourite means of storing your badges.

Thank you all.

Andy
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  #10  
Old 24-02-21, 06:25 AM
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Hi Pete
I haven't heard anything about the navy being scrapped and doubt if there is any truth in that. We would lose total control of the fishing etc around our coast. Also, they are in the process of building a new Hydrographic survey vessel, to be delivered in 2023 I think, which is to replace the old SAS Protea which turns 50 this year I think!
Cheers,
Alex
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  #11  
Old 24-02-21, 06:27 AM
Alex Rice Alex Rice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleeman View Post
Just a quick thought though, how do you all store, file or present your badges. With regimental metal badges I used the Riker Display cases (expensive but good to display your badges). With the thousands of cloth badges available to collect, that would not be an option here. It would be good if you could share some of your favourite means of storing your badges.
Andy
Hi Andy
My RN cap badges are in a glass fronted frame which lies on a counter in my 'man-cave'.
Cheers,
Alex
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  #12  
Old 24-02-21, 07:39 PM
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Default Royal Navy badge collecting

Hi Andy

As you say there are thousands of cloth trade badges, badges of rating, shoulder titles etc. to collect. I keep mine inside clear plastic wallets inside spring-loaded binders. These can be bought cheaply from places such as WH Smiths and come in a variety of pocket sizes. That way it's possible to keep all the versions of a particular badge together but it still gives you the flexibility to move them around if you need to. I do the same thing with all my cap tallies. I would love to display some of them in frames and hang them on the walls but I simply haven't got enough wall space! The walls (in what my family refers to as RNB Nottingham or simply 'the barracks') are already covered in ship's badges, framed photos and pictures, and other naval memorabilia. I need another house just to keep my collection in!

Pete
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  #13  
Old 25-02-21, 11:14 AM
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Thanks Alex & Pete,

This is a significantly larger project than I first envisaged! I have made a start on the cap badges and have picked up other bits on the way.
But what to collect first, cap badges, ratings badges, non-substantive/trade badges, cap tallies etc etc.

I am sure I have read somewhere that cap tallies are now copied, is it the same for the other badges? Are there any quick tips on how to avoid "fakes". When I was collecting regimental cap badges the massive amount of fakes and copies spoiled the hobby for me.

Thanks again,
Andy
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  #14  
Old 25-02-21, 12:48 PM
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Default Royal Navy badge collecting

Morning Andy!

Firstly, I should have stressed clear plastic wallets with different sized pockets in them and not just clear plastic wallets. Sorry.

What do you collect first? That's entirely up to you and depends a great deal upon what you can find! And don't expect it to be a quick project. I've been collecting RN and RM badges and 'stuff' for well over thirty years and I'm nowhere near having found everything I want!

And yes, many tallies are copied and have been for years. Many tallies of famous WWII ships were reproduced in the 1960s to mark 25 years since the Second World War. Many veterans wanted to have a tally of their old ship but there often weren't enough remaining original tallies left to go round. So manufacturers produced new tallies for them. These were made and sold in all good faith. But now, 50 years later, these are sometimes sold as original tallies. And reproduction tallies are still made and sold today. What you have to look out for are the condition of the tally, the materials they are made of, and the weave used. It's all a bit too complex to explain here but if you PM me your email I'll send you some useful notes I've put together over the years. They may help.

And it's the same with some badges. RNAS and RND badges have been faked for years. If you collected RND badges previously then you will be aware of what a minefield collecting their badges is! It is one of the few areas of naval badges that my collection is weak on. There are so many fakes out there that I won't touch them unless I know where they came from and can vouch for their authenticity. You will have noticed that there are dozens of threads on the subject of RND badges on this forum!

Many cloth badges are faked. Generally they are for more elite units such as Royal Navy Commandoes and Combined Operations badges. Few people bother to fake a stokers badge! But you can get any 'old' naval badge made for you in Pakistan. Basically, the older and scarcer a badge is, the more chance there is of it being faked.

Are you really sure you want to collect naval badges?!

Cheers

Pete
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  #15  
Old 25-02-21, 05:45 PM
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Cleeman Cleeman is offline
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Hi Pete,

You are doing a good job of putting me off collecting Royal Navy badges, lol. I would be surprised if it is as bad as regimental badges though, with even modern and everyday badges being faked. I will obviously have to learn fast.

I think I will leave collecting cap tallies until later on, until I have amassed more experience. To be honest I will probably start with the more inexpensive rank and trade badges to start, mainly QE2 era products and then progress to GVIR, GV & QVR era badges. Well that is the theory....!

I suspect certain branches and departments are going to demand more money than others, especially RNAS, RNMBR, RND, Commando's etc and will look at the guidance and recommendations on here before committing large sums of money for badges.

Thank you for the information on the clear plastic wallets. That is a really good idea and relatively inexpensive!

I will PM you on the cap tallies.

Thank you,
Andy
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