Economy capbages

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by brettarider, Apr 15, 2007.

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  1. I was looking in an antiques shop yesterday in York and seen a few plastic WW2/50's? cap badges that were made of plastic/Bakelite unlike the staybrite thses were just left in the plastics natural colour. What's the history behind them as I've never seen them before I took a picture of one and I'll try and post it later today
  2. Hi,

    They were produced during WWII to save on metals, and utilisation of stamping equipment.

    They are made of Cellulose Acetate, and generally come in black, brown or silver. At the time they were introduced, they were unpopular, and soldiers and Airmen issued with them generally managed to get hold of brass ones to replace them very rapidly.

    This unpopularity, combined with the instability of Acetate if not stored correctly, means that they are unsual today. As it is known exactly how many of each were made (they were produced by two companies), they are collectable, and some fetch high prices. For example, the AAC beret badge in Silver Acetate is often in the £60-80 region.

    The rarest is the PTI cross swords, of which only about 30 were made (IIRC), and are fragile too. I've never seen one for sale, but I would imagine would cost at least £150.

    Best Regards,

  3. Cheers the ones I seen were RE/RASC/RPC they were £10 each I thought that it might have been to do with the metal but thought it odd as there still metal ones being made
  4. General Melchett

    General Melchett LE Moderator

    Funny you should mention it but I was reading "Uniforms of the WWII Tommy" by David B Gordon and he mentions the Economy cap badges.

    Apart from cap badges where he also states that they were made for rank badges and other things such as the King's Commendation for Brave Conduct and WLA Timber Corps. Other colours shown are red and light blue. Six manufacturers are listed which was interesting as I had always thought there were only two (AS, F&G).
  5. Another rason for their rairity is that the retaining pins on the back were of such low quality that they broke so quickly that the badges were discarded. I have a nasty chocolate brown colour bakalite cap badge for the Hampshire Regiment. If anyone thinks that staybrite is crap they will be a complete convert after seeing the bakalite badges.
  6. io squid is a good price you should snap them up....
  7. I was talking to the Curator of the A&SH Museum in Stirling Castle many years ago and the plastic badge was one that they didn't have in their collection.

    According to him, the Jocks were told to ditch them on joining their Bns, who had plenty of stocks of privately-made metal "Mess Tins".

    So, somewhere in the Normandy hedgerows there's a plentiful supply of very rare badges!
  8. I remember me dad giving me his kit to polish in Osnabrück in 1957. The East Yorkshire Regiment capbadge of the time was of gunmetal, requiring a regular application of Brasso or Dura-Glit. Regimental (E YORKSHIRE) shoulder-titles of brass, requiring similar treatment. Polishing these items to the required standard, along with the brass runners and buckle on Dad's web belt, secured me 3d in pocket money. To gain a further 3d, his boots had to be spit-polished to "figure-eight" standard. Then when I joined up myself, the whole cycle started all over again.