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  #1  
Old 17-02-21, 11:07 PM
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Default 21 SAS 'Ugly Minerva' Beret Badges

Looking through old threads recently, whilst researching Mars & Minerva cap badges, there still seems to be some unanswered questions surrounding these. Having peered in my shoebox, I have two examples in my collection of a different pattern to the Martin Marsh fake most commonly encountered. I can't find previously discussed examples of my pattern on the forum but may have missed them.

Interestingly, there is anecdotal evidence from 'Mars & Minerva', in an article by the first RQMS of 21 SAS (1947-1948), that he issued the first Ugly Minerva badge to himself but the badge illustrated, which he photographed for his family years later, is a Martin Marsh fake. This may indicate his original badge was the one based on the 1938 pattern instead. Johan also has a maroon beret from a good source that has the Ugly Minerva badge on which is illustrated in an old thread:

https://www.britishbadgeforum.com/fo...3&postcount=19

The biggest problem with this version of the Ugly Minerva is that it is identical to the fake Martin Marsh version featured in his catalogue.

Just to recap, the Martin Marsh badge has the following distinctive features:

1) An oversized 'I' in the motto.
2) Cartoon snakes with the eye of the left hand snake portrayed as a floating disk above the head.
3) Minerva has an '8' eye.
4) Mars has a significantly oversized visor.
5) The scroll also has dimples on the bottom sections. No previous badge with just 'Artists' on the scroll, including the two patterns from 1895-1914, the 1938 pattern worn until 1945 or the 1947 21 SAS pattern have this feature.

The two examples I have, in gilding metal and brass, do not have any of the above features. The faces of Mars and Minerva are very stylised however. Minerva looks a bit 'Brucie' at first glance but her mouth actually protrudes further than her chin.

So are my badges the originals, upon which the Martin Marsh fakes are based, or just slightly more plausible fakes?. One problem with any 21 SAS connection is that they are both yellow metal and all 21 SAS badges were white metal or silver plate.

One possibility, that may explain the yellow metal, is that they are another pre 1914 'Artists' scroll pattern. If this is the case, it still leaves us with the Martin Marsh badge, the manufacture of which post dates M&M cap badges being worn by 21 SAS by many years. One also has to question whether 21 SAS would ever have approved, let alone worn, the Ugly Minerva badge. So was this pattern ever worn by 21 SAS at all? It may have become linked by association because it has 'Artists' on the scroll, the same as the normal 21 SAS pattern, but that doesn't explain Johan's beret and badge.

Just to muddy the waters a little more I'll throw in the white metal 'Constipated Minerva', one up (or possibly down) from the Ugly Minerva.

Although from a different die, this has similarities to my two examples but Mars' visor is oversized like the Martin Marsh badge. Could this pattern be an original white metal Ugly Minerva worn by 21? Personally, I believe the Constipated Minerva badges are fakes but am happy to be corrected.

Can anyone shed any additional light please?

Graham
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  #2  
Old 17-02-21, 11:27 PM
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All the badges shown are modern fakes except the looped WM badge next to the cigarette card.

The dies concerned will not pre-date the 1970s. Stylistically both show all the hallmarks characteristic of poor quality modern manufacture.

Unless 21 SAS were ordering and wearing repro Artists badges at some point since the 1970s...
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Old 17-02-21, 11:56 PM
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A favorite Unit, so this is VERY helpful!!! Thank you!

Terry
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Old 18-02-21, 12:12 AM
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I'm scared! What a line up of horrors, I'll have trouble getting to sleep now! Regards, Paul.
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  #5  
Old 18-02-21, 01:55 AM
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Paul, thanks for the hearty laugh you brought me with your post!

Jay
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  #6  
Old 18-02-21, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke H View Post
All the badges shown are modern fakes except the looped WM badge next to the cigarette card.

The dies concerned will not pre-date the 1970s. Stylistically both show all the hallmarks characteristic of poor quality modern manufacture.

Unless 21 SAS were ordering and wearing repro Artists badges at some point since the 1970s...
Thanks Luke. Any idea when, and from whom, the Ugly pattern GM and brass badges I have originated please? They don't come up very often. Do they pre or post date the Martin Marsh version?

Graham
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  #7  
Old 18-02-21, 11:35 AM
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The bronze looking one looks like she's had botox in her lips.
Andy
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  #8  
Old 18-02-21, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pontecagnano View Post
Thanks Luke. Any idea when, and from whom, the Ugly pattern GM and brass badges I have originated please? They don't come up very often. Do they pre or post date the Martin Marsh version?

Graham
Many regiments badges have more than one fake die pertaining to them and pinning down who made it and when is impossible. Even many of those in the Marsh catalogue I imagine were extant before the Martin Marsh Militaria era. Rather I suspect he became the custodian of many and his business model of an illustrated sales catalogue allowed us to put badges to a name. Doubtless however he was the originator or rather the driving force behind the items contained within the expanded later volumes.

The below Paddington Rifles is a good analogue. It is far scarcer than the commonly encountered Marsh-type and may be part of a different batch of London fakes. I do not believe this die is still in use nor has it been for some significant time. The Artists may be part of this cohort.

Anecdotally I had heard these originated from a London-based dealer around Charing Cross. Originally I suspected Nicholas Morigi since he had a shop in the area and is well known for selling repros. Also from an email enquiry I made about the origins of these, in which he got the wrong end of the stick, Morigi directed me to Gladman & Norman as they ‘had all the tooling necessary to create whatever I wanted’! When I clarified the question I got no further response. We will have to make of that what we will.

However, sometime later having seen Mark’s (dubaiguy) Morigi catalogue it appears to show the ubiquitous Marsh-type 10th London. So I’m unsure of this attribution now. Albeit, then why not reply and say it wasn’t his? Like with my attempts to reach out to Martin Marsh himself silence appears to be what those involved in these activities regard as the best policy. A shame as 50 years on the truth and some information would be helpful as all have retired from this I believe. I imagine Glengarry collectors would give their right arm to have heard from Mr Fox directly regarding what he did and didn’t do to put minds at ease and easily answer long pondered questions.

I noticed the forum’s new favourite eBay dealer int-militaria is doing a line in the below so they will very likely become a lot more common shortly! Albeit from the surface texture and poorer detail I suspect his are cast copies of the fake.
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File Type: jpg 09599975-1A0E-4AE5-8BEF-0F83DE8F5DDA.jpg (81.3 KB, 22 views)
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  #9  
Old 18-02-21, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grenadierguardsman View Post
The bronze looking one looks like she's had botox in her lips.
Andy
Minerva from TOWIE!
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  #10  
Old 18-02-21, 09:00 PM
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Minerva from TOWIE!

Andy
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  #11  
Old 19-02-21, 03:47 PM
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Many thanks Luke, excellent information as always.

Graham
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  #12  
Old 02-03-21, 07:12 AM
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Oh dear me, some very unfavourable depictions of the goddess show in this post!



Quote:
Originally Posted by pontecagnano View Post
Looking through old threads recently, whilst researching Mars & Minerva cap badges, there still seems to be some unanswered questions surrounding these. Having peered in my shoebox, I have two examples in my collection of a different pattern to the Martin Marsh fake most commonly encountered. I can't find previously discussed examples of my pattern on the forum but may have missed them.

Interestingly, there is anecdotal evidence from 'Mars & Minerva', in an article by the first RQMS of 21 SAS (1947-1948), that he issued the first Ugly Minerva badge to himself but the badge illustrated, which he photographed for his family years later, is a Martin Marsh fake. This may indicate his original badge was the one based on the 1938 pattern instead. Johan also has a maroon beret from a good source that has the Ugly Minerva badge on which is illustrated in an old thread:

https://www.britishbadgeforum.com/fo...3&postcount=19

The biggest problem with this version of the Ugly Minerva is that it is identical to the fake Martin Marsh version featured in his catalogue.

Just to recap, the Martin Marsh badge has the following distinctive features:

1) An oversized 'I' in the motto.
2) Cartoon snakes with the eye of the left hand snake portrayed as a floating disk above the head.
3) Minerva has an '8' eye.
4) Mars has a significantly oversized visor.
5) The scroll also has dimples on the bottom sections. No previous badge with just 'Artists' on the scroll, including the two patterns from 1895-1914, the 1938 pattern worn until 1945 or the 1947 21 SAS pattern have this feature.

The two examples I have, in gilding metal and brass, do not have any of the above features. The faces of Mars and Minerva are very stylised however. Minerva looks a bit 'Brucie' at first glance but her mouth actually protrudes further than her chin.

So are my badges the originals, upon which the Martin Marsh fakes are based, or just slightly more plausible fakes?. One problem with any 21 SAS connection is that they are both yellow metal and all 21 SAS badges were white metal or silver plate.

One possibility, that may explain the yellow metal, is that they are another pre 1914 'Artists' scroll pattern. If this is the case, it still leaves us with the Martin Marsh badge, the manufacture of which post dates M&M cap badges being worn by 21 SAS by many years. One also has to question whether 21 SAS would ever have approved, let alone worn, the Ugly Minerva badge. So was this pattern ever worn by 21 SAS at all? It may have become linked by association because it has 'Artists' on the scroll, the same as the normal 21 SAS pattern, but that doesn't explain Johan's beret and badge.

Just to muddy the waters a little more I'll throw in the white metal 'Constipated Minerva', one up (or possibly down) from the Ugly Minerva.

Although from a different die, this has similarities to my two examples but Mars' visor is oversized like the Martin Marsh badge. Could this pattern be an original white metal Ugly Minerva worn by 21? Personally, I believe the Constipated Minerva badges are fakes but am happy to be corrected.

Can anyone shed any additional light please?

Graham
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