Authentication


One of the key considerations with determining whether a King’s Colonial headdress badge is genuine or not is in relation to what type of loops it has.  The loops used to fasten the King’s Colonials badges to the uniform on genuine badges were made of copper wire and were brazed onto the back of the badge by hand.  These loops have a shank with an end which has the same or only marginally greater, cross-sectional area as the shank itself.

Figure 172 shows a selection of different loops used in the manufacture of badges by J. R. Gaunt & Sons in London from a salesman’s catalogue circa 1904 (Rob Miller: British and Commonwealth Badge Forum).  Several of these loops have small feet and several have no feet at all.  Copies of King’s Colonials headdress badges that have been made from the genuine dies have been finished off by brazing on loops with a different shape than the genuine loops. The loops on copy badges (Figure 173) have a broader base with a larger contact area on the rear of the badge as compared with genuine loops (Figure 174).  The loops on copies are often referred to as being footed.  The issue of knowing what is a genuine badge to use as a reference again comes into play. However, the King’s Colonials collar badges have not been copied to date and the loops on these badges were produced in the same period as would genuine headdress badges.  Close examination of thirty or so King’s Colonials collar badges reveals that none have broad-footed loops.   The conclusion which can be drawn from this is that genuine King’s Colonial headdress badges should lack broad-footed loops.

The positioning of the loops on King’s Colonials badges is another area of consideration as to this being a key feature in authenticating a badge as being genuine.  In this text in some cases, the rear of genuine badges is not shown nor is the positioning of the loops disclosed so as not to aid badges being copied and passed off as genuine examples.

The brazing solder on genuine badges was of the same basic composition of the badge with yellow-brass on earlier badges and gilding metal on later badges.  This is because the solder was made from the trimmings, filing or saw dust produced during the manufacture of badges from sheet brass.  The solder was sparingly applied to genuine badges but sufficient to hide any trace of the base of the loop.  On copy badges the solder rarely covers the footed loop especially those with more pronounced broad feet. The types of loops and solder used on genuine headdress badges is difficult to fully validate given the inherent difficulty in authenticating a genuine headdress badge as a reference.  However, the type of loop and solder used on collar badges which have not been copied serve as a surrogate for the headdress badges.  Hence, the photographs and images of King’s Colonials headdress and collar badges which follow generally include an angled view of the rear of the badge to more clearly show the loops and brazing solder.      

Figure 172: Selection of different loops used in the manufacture of badges by J. R. Gaunt & Sons in London from a salesman’s catalogue circa 1904-08 (Rob Miller: British and Commonwealth Badge Forum).  
 
Figures 173 and 174: Close-up of a footed loops (copy badge) and non-footed loops (genuine badge). 

 
Contemporary photographs serve as a guide as to what was worn and when provided of course the photographs themselves are or can be dated.  However, the quality of the strike and details of the loop positions on badges cannot be determined from photographs of them being worn unless it is an exceptionally high resolution close up portrait photograph.