and its a good uboat badge.
and its a good uboat badge.
I agree with Adrian's statement above, but I'll add a few more comments if I may.
The so-called "French-made" zincers (a preferable term to "Bacqueville") are an endless source of debate and controversy because of the lack of hard evidence combined with their bizarre styling. There is no hard evidence on either side of the debate so in the end it becomes a poll of faith.
What we know for sure:
1) They are old. Current old-time collector anecdotes go back at least to 1970 for picking these up, so we can rule out the zincers being made after that date.
2) They certainly would have been against regulation which we know from period published Präsidialkanzlei announcements forbidding even the sale of German military awards by firms of occupied countries, let alone their manufacture.
3) They are die struck in zinc and show a production style and consistent packaging that is far more elaborate than any other known fake Kriegsmarine badges.
Beyond that there are various competing anecdotes about 1) a hoard from a Navy office in Paris released slowly after the war, 2) the Bacqueville connection, denied by the company itself and 3) fakes commissioned by an unnamed notorious faker -- none of which have any corroborating proof unfortunately. And we generally toss in the observations that they don't appear in German vet groupings, nor in eastern block nations prior to fall of the wall in 1989.
The lack of a Minesweeper badge has been noted as well but we can take that off the list since one was discovered in an old collection recently and which I acquired and studied. (I had hoped to remain immune from the "Bacqueville" controversy since I only collect Minesweepers but I was denied that blissful ignorance. ) The Minesweeper, despite a different type of catch, clearly shows the same construction and aging as the usual so-called "French-made" badges. I've attached some photos showing this badge and a closeup showing the shear marks from the die strike and the surprisingly robust quality plating. The hollow bubbling under the silver plate is genuine as was revealed by scraping one off.
Personally I don't believe these badges were made in the early post-war period after May, 1945 for occupied forces. The equivalent process going on in Germany and Vienna at that time was dealing in wartime leftovers and post-war finishing of wartime components, not master die making and striking of completely new designs. Early post-war economies did not favour the manufacture of whole new tool sets.
For me the two polarized scenarios that remain are: 1) wartime zinc production by a French company with or without a contract hoping to cash in on the German occupation but failing because they were ultimately deemed to be against regulations and therefore stored away for the duration of the war or 2) an elaborate post-war hoax from the late 1960's but with an attention to quality, detail and packaging not rivalled since that time.
The fact is none of the most "famous" KM badge fakes (Cave Creek Specials, "Cyclops", "Frank & Reif", f.o/R.S.S. fake Tombaks, "Schwerin" Blockade Breaker sets, Staegemeirs, etc. etc.) come anywhere near the complexity of producing a complete line of zinc die struck badges with a consistent aesthetic, high quality silvered plating and consistent packaging. This is what sets the "French-made" badges a tier above any known fake.
As such, I believe they are still collectible but one has to live with that uncertainty that is enough to turn off many collectors as Ned alluded to, and the prices dealers ask are in many cases ludicrous.
Interesting about thr Minesweeper Norm, I had no idea one existed. I guess that raises more questions as to why only one has appeared compared to the more numerous other KM badges.
Looking for LDO marked EK2s and items relating to U-406.....
Yes, as usual one can only speculate, but conceivably it was the last of the "French-made" line of dies to be prepared just before the hammer fell declaring them against regulations so that they were never mass produced. As such one might think that would support the wartime theory, since if they were fakes why wouldn't the faker have made more of them along with all the others?
I used to be fairly "anti-French-made" but when the Minesweeper showed up I had to give them more thought. Now I'm not so much "anti-French-made" as I am anti-dealers who set such ridiculous prices for these controversial badges that so obviously were never official award pieces, and which would never have seen wear on a sailor's uniform.
Last edited by Norm F; 04-28-2014 at 06:44 PM.
Hello gentlemen, my personal stand point on these French made awards has always been to steer well clear of them. Even if they were period made I would have no interest in them as they were never issued to the Kriegsmarine from the evidence currently available. They would be no more appealing to me than an EK2 that was made by J GAUNT here in England! I personally go for the 60's high end fake theory but as we have all noted, there is no evidence for that either, the only solid conclusion that we can really state is that they are not German made or sanctioned by the appropriate Third Reich authorities. Also on the point of the prices that dealers ask for these, I think it is a classic case of "build a story" of authenticity around these pieces and sell them for a nice profit rather than giving a damn about selling a highly dubious and contentious item to an ill informed buyer. JMO. Leon
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemingway