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Thanks for this area on the Forums for our insanity, attached (assuming it works) is my favorite assembly or Radiator emblems. All I collect are pre-WW2 American automobile emblems, script, and a few things of interest. The second picture are lapel pins.

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Wow-neat stuff! Like the way you have them mounted. Emblems turn up on ebay but I'm always afraid to bid because of the large quantities of repros out there. I like to see them back side of them pictured to see if there is the usual mounting hardware. Are there any other tips for collecting to make sure they are genuine?

Terry

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Terry,

Yes there are a few "giveaways" on reproduction emblems, and at times there have been contradictions to most all of these... But here are my observations regarding what I look for and what I avoid:

Most of the originals in my collection are marked with a manufacturers markings, lets say 80%. The balance have clear signs of a mounting disc, or are threaded with a second stud for alignment on the backside. Very early emblems are hit and miss on this point as they were soldered right to the radiator and the markings are usually covered with solder. The Waltham emblem on the shell above is actually marked on the side edge and was made more like a paperweight than an emblem (very thick and heavy).

Colors are important, the original pieces have a much richer quality to the colorings. There was a Crawford emblem on e-bay a while back that the colors looked dead compared to the original on the shell pictured above, sadly it was bid on as if it were genuine and sold for several times what it was worth. I'll go into the e-bay discussion again at the end.

I have only seen one emblem that had female threads on the reverse, these are the early style of Franklin which had two bosses and mounted using fairly stout screws (#8 or #10) and cup-shaped washers. Many reproductions were made using a female threaded post on the back and a smaller screw - the two I've seen the most of are the square-shaped Rickenbacker and a Liberty with an eagle at the top of the shield. Another is the Case eagle - buying one of these was one of my mistakes. With the exception of the Waltham emblem, which somewhat unique as an emblem, I've never come across another that soldered a flat-head screw to the reverse as a stud, most studs were formed into the emblem blank or were all-thread and looked to be stud welded or silver soldered in place.

An emblem with a heavy reverse die imprint is usually OK but almost all of these are maker marked or show an embossing for a compression washer to be soldered in place. Smooth backed emblems should be carefully looked at, however very early pieces such as the Thomas Flyer were smooth backed without a makers mark. Again, look for the solder from it being placed right to the shell, old tarnished nasty looking solder is hard to fake.

Another thing on reproduction pieces is that the front edge has a very sharp cornered appearance, most originals have a tiny chamfer or radius on the front edge - once again the Waltham has a sharp front corner and is an exception to this rule as well.

The plating on the smooth backed reproductions tends to have a frosted and almost shadowed appearance which is hard to describe. For some reason emblems in my collection that have been professionally restored, and the few NOS pieces I have, do not have any haze to the plating. There was also one company that put a splatter of enamel on the reverse side - the two that come to mind are the round Packard 8 and the Bantam emblems. This I trust as much as a makers mark as the first one I found like this came out of a junk yard.

As far as e-bay is concerned, there are some VERY nice things showing up there, and many are out of my price range. Recently there was a NOS Ben-Hurr emblem, numerous Dusenberg emblems and other very scarce and collectable items. But there are also a lot of reproductions which were made in the 50's or 60's that look pretty good now that they are 40++ years old. If a seller is not willing to send a picture of the back, I do not bid. One seller got very abusive in his e-mails after I tried telling him that the emblem he had was a fake, so I don't do that any more. e-bay is 100% buyer beware and if you do not trust a piece just keep looking, you will find 10 others that are without doubt worth bidding on. Prices are strong as you are fighting collectors from around the world. For example, an early Moon sold for nearly $500 just the other day, and the same seller sold a Thomas Flyer for nearly $900, and a super Stutz for nearly $400.

Happy hunting!

TheMoneyPit

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Great collection! Years ago there was a fellow that sold & traided original emblems at the local meet here, sadly he has passed on. He was able to restore originals and they looked just like new, has anyone continued to strip, replate & reemamel originals?

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I forgot to mention that I stole the idea of mounting my collection in the radiator shells from a book written by Jack Martells titled "Antique Automobile Collectables" which is one of the very few references currently available. Here is what a radiator Shell-f looks like...

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37HD45 - was that John Webster you were referring to? I know there are people doing it, but I like mine the way they are. I do have a couple that John repaired, but they were rare pieces that deserved to be saved even if they look "New" now...

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I have a large collection located in S.E. Wisconsin,I have about 1,000 pieces,some nice some not so nice,Many early pieces,I put these up on the joulopy journel web sight and they had a fit that I didn't post pictures and locked my posting.I argued that it would take up so much space to post pictures of that many pieces.I want $10,000. for the collection or may trade for a car,no projects.I will consider reasonable offers.They would be best for local purchase as it takes so many pictures to show and best to look at.That works out to about $10. per emblem.Last time offered and I will take to the Elkhorn Wisconsin Car show in Elkhorn Wisconsin on the first Sunday in August.If you are interested in these call Mike,evenings (262)279-5715 I will not seperate,buy them all and sell off what you dont want.....

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Do you know if it is possible to get a replica radiator badge for a Templar? My son had most of the basics to start restoring a car, and he bid on a couple on Ebay recently when alerted by a friend. He was loosing bid on both, and from memory they went above US $150 each time. Apparently there are even medieval war nuts who will snatch at these because they have a representation of a Knight Templar. If we could get even a top digital photo with exact maximum width dimension we can get a replica made. We have a friend who was trained as a goldsmith, who has all the vitreous enamel colours and equipment. He is re-enamelling a radiator badge for another friend's Isotta Fraschini, and making a new one for me also. Over the years whever odd radiator badges have come into my possession I have always made a point of disposing of them only so they would go back on a car.

Ivan Saxton

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: TheMoneyPit</div><div class="ubbcode-body">37HD45 - was that John Webster you were referring to? I know there are people doing it, but I like mine the way they are. I do have a couple that John repaired, but they were rare pieces that deserved to be saved even if they look "New" now... </div></div>

YES! Thanks for remembering his last name, now I can go on trying remember other things. Flea markets were so great back in the 1960's when all this stuff we love was out there. John always seamed to have the same display year in year out, but I'm sure the collection changed.

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Interesting point Ivan. I've often wondered when an item stops being a spare part and becomes "Automobilia". How many cars under restoration are in need of hubcaps, radiator script, and lamps etc. that are sitting on shelves.

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Good point Bob. I've sometimes felt guity about bringing some things home just to put on the shelf. Over the years I've done a lot of trading to help friends get their projects complete. Some is on long term loan, some sold with rights to buy back some day.

Incidentally, I note that a lot of Jack Martells stuff is showing up on ebay right now - mascots, emblems, license plate toppers, badges, etc. His book was one of the first references I ever encountered on automobilia. It's a shame how that name "automobilia" has been warped over the years and now includes the mass produced made in China junk that has crowded out all the old stuff at places like Carlisle. I'll always love this good old stuff. Unfortunately I never collected emblems until just recently. I always sold them to buy spark plugs as you know. A few years ago I decided to start keeping them and set a goal to pick up four each year at Hershey. Some years I found more than that, some less, but now have a couple dozen that I am glad to have. Now I know how to tell which of them I got burned on. Fortunately, not a lot of $ is tied up.

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Ivan,

Yes a reproduction is possible, and a reproduction Templar on e-bay went around $150-175, the genuine one a while back went well over $550, and I think it actually brought in the $700+ range. It is one I don't have and I was the bidder at $550. A reproduction might be twice that or more, But you can contact Karla Maxwell 760-941-1966 or e-mail her at karlamaxwell-at-msn.com (change the -at- to @)to inquire. She recently took the artwork off a Chalmers Detroit emblem of mine and made a most impressive one-off reproduction for a gentleman with a car who needed it. You will have to get good digitals and measurements for the artwork for her to work with.

Mark

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I have been collecting radiator emblems for about ten years along with data plates, threaded hubcaps, and motometers. Before Ebay came along I rarely found these items at antique malls or flea markets but early Ebay opened up an unbelieveable supply at very reasonable prices. About four years ago I took two pockets full of nice trading stock to the Pate swap meet in Fort Worth, billed as one of the largest in the southwest, assuming I could do some swapping or buying. I was amazed at the low level of interest in pre-war cars, everything was 50s and 60s. I came away with a nice Model A radiator shell but no deals for emblems. Within the last year though, the Ebay market for these early emblems has skyrocketed, especially for the early rare makes, to the point where I am glad I purchased when I did. You do have to watch out for repros, look for the makers marks like D.L. Auld, Fox Company, Robbins, etc. on the back although not every original had one. I love the radiator shell display that started this thread but try and find those today at a reasonable price!

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I know what you mean Tex, there are few deals on e-bay, but the worst is seeing the fakes bringing $$$ like the real ones. I've been at it for nearly 30 years and remember when $25 would buy a great emblem and $50 was really expensive! Now if I find 1 a year I'm happy, and there is no such thing as reasonably priced.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Automobilia Collectors: I need money to pay for the rebuild of the Dynaflow in my 63 Riviera so I am selling some of my duplicate radiator emblems on Ebay along with a few data plates and misc. badges. Some are nice, some need work. There is a batch up right now and I will be putting up more in the coming weeks. Look me up under seller ID DRJRJUNK and bookmark it if you are interested.

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  • 2 years later...

Hello from a great collection from germany. 12000 items, 300 US-radiator badges from 1900 - 1940 ( Tucker, Kissel.... ) and ....... Sadly I can not help with doubles from the USA but if you have a special wish for european caremblems you can ask, maybe I can help. I can send you photos of my collection if you want. I send you one "not" so spectacular photo of a part of my collection. I mount them on wooden boards, without damage the sticks on the back, 99 % are original not replica. I don`t know if it is allowed to send information about a weblink where you can see all the photos. Best regards from pulheim / cologne / germany. Florian

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi, I saw the photo of your radiator emblems, and was wondering if you know anything about this pin I dug out of the ground. It looks very similar to your emblems, and was wondering if it was also a radiator emblem. It was dug out of an 1890's - 1920's dump, and it's in great shape. I didn't mean to hijack your post, but I think you would be the person to answer this question.

Thanks,

Richard

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Ruccello, you have a 20's emblem for the rear brake light, around 1926 or so. The radiator badge is much larger, about double in size. Your has the round button in back, as an original does. The repos have a screw and nut arrangement. Value in good condition like yours, maybe $20 to $30.

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  • 2 months later...

I collect radiator emblems,have been doing so now for over 20 years, I am from the UK so really enjoy collecting very early British car radiator emblems,I am always looking for new ones to add to my collection, I have bought off ebay and visited many shows all over Europe, I have many American and continental emblems too but the British ones are my true passion,I live near Coventry at one time a very lively car manufacturing centre and have quite a few emblems from the cars made there, if any of you other collectors have anything to sell or trade I would be very keen to do so.

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Edited by badge1948 (see edit history)
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It looks like you have quite a display. I have very little non US automobillia in my collection (had to draw the line somewhere) and what British items I do have is in the Mascot area not badges.

I'd welcome any observations you have regarding authentication the badges from your side of the pond.

Best regards,

Mark

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Hi,thanks for the reply, fortunately British badges are not that collectable

in the states etc so most of the time not that expensive to buy except when

a real rarity turns up then mainly bought by British collectors and the odd

European, so saying that not many were really copied so most you can get

will be original,these were either sweated on with solder or bolted, compared to the US badges they are quite drab in comparison,

early 20's to just after WW2 I collect as there was an abundance of

makes around, as with most manufacturing of cars the war killed them off so

only a few survived giving way to only a few makes left so not much variety after that.

Edited by badge1948 (see edit history)
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  • 2 months later...

Front view photos of A model Duesenberg are not common, and less so is image quality that shows real detail of the radiator badge. Several photos in Fred Roe's book appear to show enamel in-fill in the name and figure 8, but an original one that I aquired yesterday for my 1922 Duesenberg had no trace of enamel anywhere. Can you enlighten me on this?

The real mystery is where this badge came from, because as far as we can reliably determine there has never been another car in Australia other than the one that Alan Powall bought new at the factory in 1923 when he was 23. (That one has been in the hands of the third owner in Melbourne now for nearly 50 years.) This one has been stamped into a die with a heavy impact press, and the maker's name and location are stamped in three places on the back.

A little while ago I made a 3 axis computer controlled milling machine for my youngest son: the smallest final cut tool he uses is a 1/2mm ball-nose tungsten carbide endmill. The computer model he has done for a circa 1920 Alfa Romeo badge for a friend, and the product he has cut from it from gilding metal are quite stunning.

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Nearly all the Duesenberg emblems that I have seen have the enamel apart from the smaller one, I understand that apart from the small one the bigger emblem was attached to a back plate and then fixed to the bulkhead (firewall)and not on the front of the car, I have attached picture of both albeit the big one is a Pulfer repro made in the 1960's and commonly sold as original at very high prices.

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Do you know if it is possible to get a replica radiator badge for a Templar? My son had most of the basics to start restoring a car, and he bid on a couple on Ebay recently when alerted by a friend. He was loosing bid on both, and from memory they went above US $150 each time. Apparently there are even medieval war nuts who will snatch at these because they have a representation of a Knight Templar. If we could get even a top digital photo with exact maximum width dimension we can get a replica made. We have a friend who was trained as a goldsmith, who has all the vitreous enamel colours and equipment. He is re-enamelling a radiator badge for another friend's Isotta Fraschini, and making a new one for me also. Over the years whever odd radiator badges have come into my possession I have always made a point of disposing of them only so they would go back on a car.

Ivan Saxton

Hello Ivan,

We have talked a few times over the years about Stutz stuff. I sold my Templar a few years back to a gentleman in Virginia and i am sure he could take some pictures or measurements. The Knight Templar emblem was also on the dash inside the car in the center. It was a 1923 and i do not remember about the radiator emblem. I know a few Templar guys so if needed write to keith123451@live.com and i will send you their addresses.

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Here are three of my favorites that I display...

1911 or 1912? Abbott Detroit (looks to be NOS).

1931 Dodge Brothers

1920s Reo Speedwagon (I removed this one from a rusty chassis on my cousin's farm when I was about 9 years old-about 1961).

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Give me a day or two to take a close-up of the Pan American - it is to the far left of this shell. I have a Comet too but it is a repro and not worth showing here.

I would think Carla Maxwell could make a Templar emblem with the pictures and measurements, but you would have to contact her to see. Both my father and I collect emblems - he has a Templar, but I don't and it seems you can get pictures from above.

I have two variations of the Duesenberg emblem, a firewall badge and a similar hubcap disc. My emblem is also marked in a repeat pattern on the back, but all of the ones I've seen were enameled. There are also a tremendous number of reproductions floating around - Pulfer & Williams sold the reproduction of the firewall emblem with or without the back plate claiming it was identical to the Model A radiator emblem. The backplate is also marked in a repeat pattern and is a thin shell stamping where the repro was thick and heavy.

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