This is a consignment item. It is a high-quality Prussian Army Pilot Badge from the workshops of noted Berlin firm C. E. Juncker. Many people do not realize that Juncker was more than an aviation flight badge-maker (although it produced some of Germany’s finest badges). In fact, C. E. Juncker was a full-line military effects firm favored by many German military officers. It even was responsible for the ultra-high-quality pickelhauben employed by the Regiment des Garde du Corps, the Kaiser’s personal guard. [These metal Küraßier helmets were impressive, with their long “lobstertail” rear visors that helped protected their wearers’ necks from sword slashes. The massive Hohenzollern Eagles that topped their full-parade-configuration helmets only increased their splendor]. Still, their reputation for producing excellent flight badges is well deserved.
Three different types of flight badges were produced. The basic flight badge was stamped (cliche). If you are familiar with Imperial German Army and Navy Wound Badges (stamped out by high pressure machines), this is the same design. The second type (a step up) was the one-piece massive design. These solid badges were manufactured from a single piece of metal. The third, and highest-quality flight badge, was the two-piece hollow design. These badges were made from two separate metal pieces that were then soldered together. A weep hole on the badge’s reverse allowed the gases produced during the soldering process to escape. Our C. E. Juncker flight badge is an excellent example of this third design.
The badge’s obverse features a laurel and oak leaf wreath joined together at its bottom by a bow. A Taube monoplane soars over the countryside within the wreath. [The Prussian Army Pilot Badge was authorized in 1913, when the Germans still commonly employed the Taube]. The badge is topped by a Hohenzollern Crown. While the badge was designated as Prussian, it was authorized to be worn by all of the Reich’s aviators, with the exception of Bavaria. Bavaria produced its own flight badge, whose only difference from the Prussian example was a Wittelsbach rather than a Hohenzollern Crown. [The Bavarians always had to be different]!
The badge’s reverse features a plain back rather than a rayback design. I actually see rayback designs more frequently than the plain backs. The badge’s pin is in excellent condition. If you look at it closely, you can see that is not totally straight. This is a sign that the pin pierced a woolen tunic’s tough fabric. When you lift the pin up at the top, a small weep hole can be seen. As previously mentioned, it is a key factor in identifying a two-piece badge. The C. E. Juncker hallmark appears just above the pin’s catch, with the crescent moon, Hohenzollern Crown and .800 silver hallmarks below that of the firm.
The badge is in prime condition with a marvelous patina that has not been disturbed in decades.