Authentication: no room for winging it

Collecting military badges is a passion that demands vigilance and expertise. A single mistake—such as buying a fake—can tarnish a hard-earned reputation built over decades. This is particularly crucial for highly coveted items like early parachute wings, which can fetch over £200, and the even more sought-after SAS and Glider Pilot wings, often valued at over £1000.

Despite the prevalence of fakes, authentic pieces can still be found at reasonable prices. A stunning example is the 1st Pattern Parachute Jump Wing recently acquired from a collector. The badge came with a well-worn beret badge, and the seller mentioned he’d owned it for years. Intriguingly, this badge showcased unique characteristics: a greener hue and a wider weave, indicating it was crafted from original Canadian battle dress material—a telltale sign distinguishing it from British-made versions.

For collectors, these details matter. They not only verify authenticity but also enrich the story behind each piece.