Antiques Roadshow’s ‘rarest RAF badge from WW2’ given surprising valuation
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Last weekend, the Antiques Roadshow team were in Stonor Park, Oxfordshire and Mark Smith was on hand to discuss a badge from World War II. The expert, who is a military museum curator and a specialist in military medals was pleased to see “the rarest badge” from 1942, which was valued at an incredible £3,000.
Mark began: “Very small badge, on what has to be said is quite a tatty piece of cardboard – where did you get this from?”
“I found it when I was clearing out my late Grandfather’s house, Cecil, he was called,” the owner explained.
“He served in the RAF as a navigator and originally, it would’ve his badge.
“But then more recently, doing a bit more research, I believe that it may be an American Eagle RAF badge which makes it slightly different and probably wasn’t his.”
“Okay, so what we’ve got is a wreath and RAF written at the top and 1942 underneath it,” Mark revealed.
“That’s not like any other RAF badge that you’re going to come across.
“So first of all, what we’re actually looking at it is the badge that was given to American citizens who had joined the RAF before America joined the war.
“When America joined the war, they take back to their own countries airforce,” he continued.
“But what they were given was a little badge to show they had also served in the RAF.
“Now, the thing about this is, if it’s real, it’s the rarest badge for the RAF for World War II,” Mark told the guest.
The camera then zoomed into the item and the specialist continued: “Now, it’s on [a] JR Gaunt & Sons little label and they are the people who made the badge.
“Now, when you look at the back of it, it should have two lugs and a split pin.”
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Mark flipped the small badge over and said: “Two lugs and a split pin. It’s going so well, so far.
“Then if we turn it over and you look underneath here, you can see it says JR Gaunt & Son. And then it has the hallmark. That’s a real hallmark!”
The owner was smiling in response to Mark’s comments as he continued to explain: “And it is dated V for 1945 which is exactly as it should be.
“So, as far as I’m concerned, that is a real 1942 air force badge! Now that is some good news.”
As for how much it would fetch should it go to auction, Mark teased the guest: “It is very, very tiny. It can’t be worth much, can it?
“Now, I have had to do some quite detailed research on this thing because you cannot find these things for sale because they are rare.
“What do you think it’s worth?” he asked with the guest replying: “I really don’t know. Maybe a couple of hundred pounds?”
“£3,000,” Mark revealed. “For something you found in a tin! The rarest badge from World War II.”
Antiques Roadshow airs Sunday evenings at 8pm on BBC One.
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