Badge Manufacture


The headdress badges of the King’s Colonials and later as King Edward’s Horse (the ‘Regiment’) have been extensively copied. The Regiment was a volunteer unit and the uniforms, headdress and collar badges were all privately purchased and are of a superior quality and finish. Copies of the Regimental headdress badges although generally of an inferior quality and finish can be difficult to distinguish from an original badge without experience. This is especially the case when looking at badges offered for sale on the internet where the images may not show the fine details particularly well. There is no real substitute for having the actual badge in your hand for close-up examination under a magnifying loop. To date the Regiment’s collar badges, shoulder titles and buttons do not appear to have been copied. All the examples of collar badges and shoulder titles examined to date have been of a high quality and lacking imperfections in their finish and loop attachment that commonly occur when badges are copied. Anecdotally, the collar badges and shoulder titles unlike headdress badges are much harder to find being offered for sale, consistent with them not having been copied.

Purchasing headdress badges of the Regiment without provenance and/or from other than a reputable dealer without close inspection is not recommended unless you are buying a copy to perhaps use as a representative badge or gap filler.

A significant problem with authenticating headdress badges to the Regiment is to determine what are correct reference sets of genuine badges to compare them with. It is possible that pattern cards exist (or existed) for the badges of the Regiment. Figure 163 shows a collection of the Regiment’s headdress and collar badges from the J. R. Gaunt & Son Ltd Pattern book circa 1904 on a red background. This set was sold a number of years ago by John Burridge Military Antiques, Australia. These headdress badges have a distinctive gilt finish and are Officer’s badges except for the later King Edward’s Horse headdress badge (bottom left hand corner) which was worn by Other Ranks. The collar badge in the top left hand is also an Officer’s gilt badge whereas the collar badge towards the centre is gilding metal and is assumed to be an Other Rank’s collar badge. This set was originally sold at auction in the United Kingdom in 2011 by auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb.

Figure 163: A collection of King’s Colonials and King Edward’s Horse headdress and collar badges from the J. R. Gaunt & Son Ltd. Pattern book on a red background (Photograph courtesy of John Burridge Military Antiques, Australia).

A collection of the Regiment’s headdress and collar badges and shoulder titles was donated by R. C. Whittock to the National Army Museum (Figure 164) and were described in an article by him (R. C. Whittock: The Military Historical Society, XVII: 61-65, 1967). These badges also have a distinct gilt finish or yellow brass finish.

Figure 164: A collection of King’s Colonials and King Edward’s Horse headdress, collar badges and shoulder titles donated by R. C. Whittock to the National Army Museum on a black background (Photograph courtesy of Griff Morgan-Jones).

Several of the King’s Colonials headdress and collar badges in the authors collection were part of a display set of badges manufactured but not marked by Firmin of London. To date the only other maker ascribed, genuine Regimental headdress or collar badges that have been noted are the first pattern King Edward’s Horse headdress badge (annotated as number 14) made by the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths and Co. London in the collection of W. Y. Carman (a respected author and authority on British badges and military uniforms), illustrated in Figure 165 and the King Edward's Horse Officers circlet pattern headdress and collar badges in bronze. A Jennens & Co London marked Officer's circlet headdress badge is shown in Figure 338 and Figure 339 shows one marked by Firmin London. Officer's Circlet collar badges are also maker marked by Jennens & Co London. Given that the Regiment was predominantly based in London in addition to Goldsmiths and Silversmiths, Jennens & Co and Firmin it is likely that other manufacturers of genuine King's Colonials and King Edward's Horse badges are likely to include J. R. Gaunt & Son and Bent & Parker.

Figure 165: The W. Y. Carman collection of King’s Colonials and King Edward’s Horse headdress and collar badges with the annotations of R. J. Smith (R. J. Smith collection).

Many of the King's Colonials and King Edward's Horse badges featured on this website came from Keith Hook's original collection. Photographs of these actual badges were used by Arthur L. Kipling and Hugh L. King for their treatise 'Head-dress Badges of the British Army 1800-1918: v.1'.  The badges featured were for the most part Officer's gilt examples.  I have only seen a handful of examples outside of this collection and these have been in auction lots shown on the following page.