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  #106  
Old 28-10-20, 12:45 PM
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Question 1914 OWS Enigma

There are two parts to this puzzle :

Part 1
The 1914 enamel OWS badge is routinely referred to as the "Admiralty Badge" but recently I (unsuccessfully) put a bid on a badge that has "Admiralty" where the date is normally seen and no enamel. It had a stamped/impressed number on the back (on badge not on fitting) but no makers mark. Bosley's has a similar nickle plated badge.

Questions : Is this the original style or one of the later issues ?
................Were there two different types of badges (Admiralty/1914) ?

From Tony James article :
"The Admiralty badges were initially un-numbered . This was later rectified with the issue of numbered badges in early 1916 to replace those un-numbered ones."

Question : Is this accurate and does it refer to only the "Admiralty" badges or the 1914 ones ...or both ? Would they actually replace 99,999+ badges ?

Part 2
Another recent acquisition , a 1914 OWS with no enamel. It has makers mark (DG COLLINS LONDON) , number on button hole fitting (62341) and has a 'raised' letter B on the badge itself (like series mark on 1915 badges).

Questions : Is this simply a manufacturing error or were some badges made without enamel (economy version) ?
................ Could the letter B indicate that more than one series of this badge was produced ? Original series numbered 1- 99,999 then B series (economy version ?) starting .................again at 1 ?

NB. Enamel badge I have has number A68320 stamped on button hole fitting , anyone got enamel badge with either B on fitting or 'raised' on actual badge.

.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Admiralty F.jpg (71.2 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg OWS 1914 F.jpg (92.9 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg OWS 1914 R.jpg (54.6 KB, 6 views)
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  #107  
Old 28-10-20, 05:28 PM
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Hi Mike,

I'll kick it off...

Part 1, I sadly have no idea, but these silver/nickel badges seem to be very rare, and I am not convinced they formed part of the OWS set. That said, they could have been made for a very small select group, hence the rarity. I also think Tony is referring to the 1914 enamelled badges, as far as I am aware, they have always been referred to as "Admiralty" badges. Be interesting to see if anyone had better info there.

Part 2: I think the enamel has just been removed, the spaces around the date seem to have some residual enamel, to my eyes, anyway. As for the raised B, from my observations, Collins badges (on the button hole fitting) come blank, stamped A and stamped B, along with the number, but not sure about the raised letter.... may need more opinions there...

On another note, I have very much enjoyed this thread, I have not contributed much, as I've been away, enjoying the mountains before we are put back in our box for the winter.... apparently France has another lockdown coming....

Cheers, Tim
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  #108  
Old 29-10-20, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipper View Post
Part 1, I sadly have no idea, but these silver/nickel badges seem to be very rare, and I am not convinced they formed part of the OWS set. That said, they could have been made for a very small select group, hence the rarity. I also think Tony is referring to the 1914 enamelled badges, as far as I am aware, they have always been referred to as "Admiralty" badges.
I appreciate your input Tim , other opinions make me rethink some of my own views.

It seems too much of a coincidence that there was an "Admiralty" badge and a 1914 badge referred to as "the Admiralty badge".

Quote:
An Admiralty memo of 26th December 1914 titles this badge "the Admiralty War Service Badge".
Could it be that the 'silver' badge was originally issued soley to civilian staff working at the Admiralty , 'a small select group' (the few I have seen have 3 digit numbers , the Bosley one 940) , and that the 1914 (Admiralty style ?) badge was produced when "the bulk issue of badges to the shipyards and related employers" began and that the title simply carried over ?

Tony's (2012) article is based on Tom Tulluch-Marshall's earlier (2001) piece (with a nod to this forum ) but I find it strange that Tom mentions 'official' and 'unofficial' OWS badges but does not refer at all to the silver "Admiralty" one.

Also worth noting is that when Tony's article came out there was still conjecture about the letters on the 1915 badges with the idea they were 'occupation related' (rather than purely based on a numerical series).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipper View Post
Part 2: I think the enamel has just been removed, the spaces around the date seem to have some residual enamel, to my eyes, anyway. As for the raised B, from my observations, Collins badges (on the button hole fitting) come blank, stamped A and stamped B, along with the number, but not sure about the raised letter.
Cheers, Tim
It is possible that the enamel has been removed but also that the residue is dirt etc , the photo is of the badge as it arrived. Will post another after a gentle , soap and water , clean but with the badge 'in hand' it appears to have never been enamelled.

I have seen a blank Collins OWS (note MM) and 'A' & 'B' raised letters on the badge itself. The numbers/letter on the button hole fittings are 'post manufacture' where as the 'raised' letters are part of the original manufacturing process (like the ones on the various 'series' of 1915 badges). So another enigma !

A final (appropriate) quote from Tony's article :

"So , nearly a hundred years on , there are still questions to be asked and research to be done"

.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Collins.jpg (83.1 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg Collins A.jpg (47.6 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg Collins B.jpg (63.6 KB, 3 views)
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  #109  
Old 30-10-20, 07:19 AM
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Hi all

I have a couple of those silver-looking Admiralty badges and one has traces of a black paint in the outer circle. I will post photos of them later.

The 1914 enamel badges seem to have come in for quite a few modifications as I've got them with white paint (not enamel, although it may be enamel paint.... ) in the centre of the badge and also a red enamel (of the vitreous sort!) behind the crown and also ones with the paint left over from doing up the local post box!

Then you have the ones that have had the half moon cut off and a pin put in its place or the one I posted a photo of with a dear little frame to hold the badge.

I guess that this is what keeps us busy....
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  #110  
Old 30-10-20, 10:41 AM
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I'm guessing you've got the "HMNZ Transports badge" that is a similar style to the silver "Admiralty" one , they are also quite rare over here and go for 80.00 - 100.00.

I wonder if some of the 'painted' modifications were done to make the badges look more like the earlier 'unofficial' ones ?

Here is a horrific modification (on eBay at the moment) , button hole fitting removed and lugs/loops added !
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File Type: jpg Horror.jpg (82.1 KB, 4 views)
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  #111  
Old 30-10-20, 01:43 PM
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After rereading Tom Tulloch-Marshall's article I found probable answers to my own questions.

Quote:
Would they actually replace 99,999+ badges
"At the same time a system was introduced whereby existing unnumbered badges should be recalled , and numbered badges substituted.
'It was thought that 500,000' unnumbered Admiralty badges had been issued , of which 150,000 had been replaced with numbered badges by July 1916."

NB. This was also the period of inspections with some workers being 'unbadged' and eligible for conscription.

This does however pose another question , were the badges actually "recalled and replaced" (costly and administratively/logistically difficult ?) or simply stamped/numbered locally and returned to the worker (with details name/number/occupation recorded).


Quote:
Is this simply a manufacturing error or were some badges made without enamel (economy version) ?
"As far as I have been able to ascertain the enamel finish of that badge was retained throughout its life".

So my badge isn't some unrecorded 'variation' and most probably simply had the enamel removed.


.
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  #112  
Old 30-10-20, 04:29 PM
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Hi Guys

just loving the info and the intrigue of this thread.

Mike, I like the idea the silver ones (in a colour sense) may have been for a small select group, hence the low numbers and scarcity. Not unlike the Female AIF headquarters badges, somewhat scarce, but there were 2 issued, the first almost impossible to find - both the badge and any info on it.

Half the fun here is the robust exchange of ideas and hypothesis, regardless if it ever goes conclusive.

cheers, Tim
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  #113  
Old 30-10-20, 04:43 PM
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Gentlemen, I would be interested to see your viewpoint on the following eBay listing......mmmmm!
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1915-WW1-...oAAOSwKwZfmuPS
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  #114  
Old 30-10-20, 06:05 PM
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It's already on my "watch list" , it's a 1915 enamel version with the enamel removed (some specs of blue and white visible in close-up).

At first I thought it was an 'unvoided' manufacturing error but Gaunt makers mark on back of crown is the same as on my enamel one.

.
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  #115  
Old 30-10-20, 09:00 PM
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Yep, I agree.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_vee View Post
It's already on my "watch list" , it's a 1915 enamel version with the enamel removed (some specs of blue and white visible in close-up).

At first I thought it was an 'unvoided' manufacturing error but Gaunt makers mark on back of crown is the same as on my enamel one.

.
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  #116  
Old 30-10-20, 09:32 PM
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That was the conclusion that I came to after reading the preceding posts in the thread in respect of the 1914 badge. The colouring on this badge was odd but the only explanation for the lack of voiding was that it started life as an enamelled badge. I commend your excellent eyesight...I did not see the traces of enamel. What bemuses and intrigues me is why someone would remove the enamel? I wish you luck Mike if you are considering bidding.
Cheers
James
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  #117  
Old 31-10-20, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charliedog012012 View Post
What bemuses and intrigues me is why someone would remove the enamel? I wish you luck Mike if you are considering bidding.
If a readily available badge had badly damaged enamel it is unlikely to sell , remove all the enamel and it becomes an 'oddity' that may attract attention and get a few bids.

I've no plans to bid , just 'watching' to see how much it eventually goes for.


NB - I have put bids (and won) a badge with serious damage to the enamel but that was a British Legion "For Merit" badge. This is the Legion's highest award , the BL version was only issued/awarded from 1960-1971 (then RBL version) and not many would have been awarded during that period.

So , purchased as a 'place holder' until I can find a good quality one.

.
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  #118  
Old 31-10-20, 01:23 PM
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That does seem sensible and makes a great deal of sense.
Cheers
James
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  #119  
Old 01-11-20, 08:14 AM
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Hi all

Boy, am I enjoying this discussion! I did see that eBay 1915 badge and would agree that there is a speck of blue and a little bit of white enamel visible in the photos. The colour change in what should be enameled tells you that it has spent a lot of its life protected by blue/ white enamel.

For what it is worth, I once picked up a couple of badges from a guy who did metal detecting. They weren't OWS badges but the original would have been enameled and these were no longer so. He thought that they had been put in a rubbish fire and then buried with the scraps.

I later saw an extremely rare badge for a New Zealand Anti-German League (rare, rare, rare!). The detectorist later sold this "dug" example for a fabulous sum...

The "HMNZ Transports" badge does indeed follow the 1914 Admiralty pattern and exist in both enamel and a plain version. The theory is that the enamel one was for officers and the enamel hue is a lighter blue than you see on the British version. Anyone interested in an example could PM me for an example at a much lower figure.

I was intrigued to see that a well-known website (not eBay) is claiming that these badges were worn by individuals providing transport for the wounded (the ambulances being "transport"......).

Much as I respect the opinions of this site, I feel that this is an interesting theory for which I would like to see definitive proof.
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  #120  
Old 01-11-20, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_vee View Post
I'm guessing you've got the "HMNZ Transports badge" that is a similar style to the silver "Admiralty" one , they are also quite rare over here and go for 80.00 - 100.00.

I wonder if some of the 'painted' modifications were done to make the badges look more like the earlier 'unofficial' ones ?

Here is a horrific modification (on eBay at the moment) , button hole fitting removed and lugs/loops added !
AND they've removed almost all trace of the Gaunt mark and the raised number to the back of the crown......

I could see that being worn as a spurious cap badge(?) by someone who felt it lent them some authority.
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