You will note that there are some high priced items in here if they get mistaken for original. This includes Canadian items like the Film and Photo Unit title and 1CPB title. Also rare British items like the arced AIRBORNE title, Commando and Para Regiment titles.
With repro's like the Film and Photo Unit patch above, it is no wonder that you will get good repro's of other printed insignia that fetch good money. I am not going to say how you can tell the AIRBORNE designation strip to the left is bad, it is strictly posted here as a warning. I do not want to give the unscrupulous morons making these a free hand out. Just be careful and ALWAYS compare with known originals! Right down to the smallest dimensions and details.
Another product of the person above with the Film and Photo Unit title.
I cant stress enough to collectors that this is a REPRODUCTION 1st Special Service Force/1st Canadian Special Service Battalion patch (SSI) . There are many versions of this patch but the basic shape and letter embroidery are the same. It has to be remembered that the Force has had reunions since 1947. ALL these reunions had merchandise and mementos for attendees. They also created a market for Force memorabilia which fueled the reproduction of insignia, especially cloth insignia. You need to familiarize yourself with known originals in order to see the difference. There are several post war manufactured versions of Force patches that fool collectors. This is actually one of the easiest ones to detect.
The reproduction badge front and back
Note the dents in the back of the repro badge left. Why should these exist? After examining the front, it becomes obvious that whoever made this badge could not get it out of the mold. Also note that the plastic pin is warped. Originals are straight. While the originals have fine lines running around part of the width of the pin, the lines on the repro are more pronounced. Rather than a detail out of the mold, the lines of the repro pin are made after the pin came out of the mold. This suggests an effort to refine the shape of the repro pin. The lugs are also thinner and the holes made for the pin almost break the lug at the top.
Repro left, original right. The sharpness of the original is obvious along with the patina from age and handling. While it is a fact that different production runs of the plastic badge produced different colours due to the fact that the colour mixture was done by hand, even the known originals in a darker brown (almost black) colour do not appear with such a complexion.
The webmaster recently purchased a plastic Canadian Parachute Corps cap badge on e-bay which included the plastic pin to secure the badge to the beret. The badge, as can be seen in the photos, was damaged. The seller stated that it was likely due to poor storage. This is not unusual as I have visited veterans who have stored some of their badges in jars with screws, nails and other hardware material. What clinched it's authenticity for me was the inclusion of the plastic pin.
However after receiving the badge, I noted that the damage was not due to wear and tear and storage but due to the badge being intentionally banged with something on the back. It looks as though the badge had to be struck with an object on the back to get it out of the mold. Some of the lettering details on the front where left in the mold giving the appearance of wear and tear. However on close examination, the letters were obviously left in the mold and deeper details that did not come off in the process were hidden by dents made in the front.
I really wanted this badge to be real due to the repercussions of such a striking reproduction which captured all the fine lines and details. However the evidence against this kept piling up.
After measuring known originals acquired by veterans at different dates during the war, it became obvious that the badge was smaller than the originals. This is a major red flag and points to a mold being made from an original badge. This amount of shrinkage would not occur to an original.
The wonderfully reproduced plastic pin for the back, on close examination, has what appears to be scratches running the circumference of the pin like that produced when running something through a lathe. Similar lines exist on the originals but they are finer lines made while in the mold and not after the fact. These scratches on the repro are obviously to hide the imperfections of the copy mold. The originals are all straight and smooth.
I do not want to go into detail on the exact measurements of the originals versus these copies. However the thickness of the reproductions is very noticeable and it is not even. There are originals that are not even but the flaw on these reproductions is obvious.
Unfortunately it is becoming more and more obvious that provenance, comparison with known originals and real wear and tear patina are now required to judge an original of this badge. Cold mold methods of reproducing badges like this, which are capable of copying both front and back details and newer technologies will get better and better. It was only a matter of time due to the high prices being realized for these badges that unscrupulous deceivers took advantage. These scum ruin the hobby for all. It cannot be emphasized enough that if you make reproductions MARK THEM AS SUCH in a way that would require significant and obvious damage to the badge to erase it.
*** Please NOTE - Other suspected examples of this repro badge have been turning up and they actually look even better than the example above.
REPRODUCTION AND FAKE ***ALERT***
OK, the fellow making the majority of these forgeries has been reported to refer to himself as 13TH BATTALION PRODUCTIONS. I want to believe that this misguided soul honestly thinks he or she is doing the re-enactor world some sort of favour however the fact is, they are not. They are causing irreparable damage. I know that many seasoned collectors do not feel threatened, however I am not yet concerned about them. These are extremely dangerous on their own or sewn to uniforms for hard working people who simply want to have an innocent hobby. It is obvious from their own comments on their facebook page that they seek to make better and better forgeries. These are already good enough to fool a novice. Add time and age to the equation and it is certain the money of honest hard working people will be wasted. There is also the FACT that both unscrupulous and the unaware, which could be future militaria auctions could run afoul of these. I hope 13TH BATTALION PRODUCTIONS will see this and do something in future to make these forgeries into reproductions by making some permanent mark on them. I just cant fathom what this person was thinking. Their present catalogue of items are shown below...
!!!!! PAINTED 1st SPECIAL SERVICE FORCE HELMETS - BEWARE !!!!!!
OK, This is getting out of hand. WHO BUYS THIS CRAP. What is in the mind of the idiot creating these things? Is he jealous of those who have originals in their collections or is it simply some irresponsible moron attempting to destroy a hobby because he can do it ??
It is about time that people who take this hobby seriously and are concerned about the future of the hobby to call out the perpetrators and to get them to stop this stupidity. AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE, there are things you can do to identify reproductions so that they are not a threat. By legal terms, this can be construed as fraud because this person is manufacturing items that someone someday may mistaken as original and sell as original. These are not reproductions these are FORGERIES. We need to call out the fool making these as a FRAUDSTER. Selling them originally as reproductions does not protect the seller because he has created a an item that has no identifier incorporated that clearly identifies these as REPRODUCTIONS. These fraudsters will keep doing this until they get it dead on.
If anyone knows who is making these items I would appreciate knowing who they are so I can confront them.
OK, here is another guy pointed out by a friend who also makes near exact copies. This fellow is in Holland and sells almost identical items. The numbers and selection are insane. You can also see the insignia before it is cut from the printed sheets. Again, no indicator of being reproductions therefore making them FORGERIES.
At a recent militaria show I noted a painted 1st Special Service Force Helmet Steel M-1. These helmets usually have the Force SSI painted on both sides and many are named to known Force veterans. ALL OF THESE HELMETS I HAVE SEEN, and there have been at least a dozen, ARE ALL FAKES. They were either made by a contemporary repro artist ( The similarities with these helmets suggest that one person was making these ) or it is possible that they were made for some sort of contemporary display or parade. There are even medic examples ( which don't match the examples actually worn by the Force). One of the dead giveaways is the fact that most have the outline of the REPRODUCTION Force SSI painted on to them. It is also interesting that ALL of these painted helmets are made using the cheaper "swivel" bail (chinstrap loop) M-1 Helmets. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE FORCE WAS DISBANDED DECEMBER 1944. After extensive research with the US QMC Museum, it has not been determined when the first swivel bail M-1 helmets were received in Europe. We do know however that the Helmet Steel "Parachutist" M-1C with swivel bail was not issued until 1945. I have not been able to find ANY period photos of swivel bail helmets being worn by members of the 1st Special Service Force. Nor have any confirmed, legitimate battlefield pick ups or vet keepers ever been swivel bail. One would also expect such helmets to be very scarce if they did actually exist. Yet in the last couple of years I have seen many, again all swivel bails. Is it impossible for such a helmet to exist? No. However after combing through literally thousands of photos of the Force, which include dozens of images of award ceremonies with colour guard, not one man can be identified as wearing a painted helmet. I will however guarantee you that if such a helmet does exist, it will be a fixed bail Helmet Steel M-1. It is always my advice that if you cant get it for the sum of the original parts, in this case the cost of a standard swivel bail M-1 and it has no solid provenance it is best to just walk away.
Also below a Heller marked US Parachute Badge repro.
This has just popped up on e-bay. The seller says it has some sort of black ink on the edge to denote that it is a repro. My question is WHY ???? Really, why do people go to the lengths they do to create misleading garbage that no one really needs. If you are going to repro something for the Mr. Dress-up crowd, take the "and" out and use "&". If re-inactors want respect, I suggest they first respect the museums and collectors.