We recently acquired two military looking pins which have had me doing some research. The first is an eagle made from heavy gold-tone metal. It has a modern pin and safety clasp on the back as well as a loop through the tail as if for a lanyard or ribbon or something. It is stamped VANS on the back of one wing and AUTHENTIC on the other. Down the center are the numbers 2028. I have found similar pins on Ebay and one on Ruby Lane but the sites have no information about its origin or history.
The second is clearly some sort of military pin with an eagle sitting atop a circle of stars with a crossed sword and key. When I first looked at it I mentally dated it to World War II. I searched on the Internet using such finely honed and sophisticated terms as “Military eagle pin,” “Eagle and blue star insignia,” and “Eagle over circle of stars.” [I know what you are thinking...Bruce, you should become a full-time researcher. Don't laugh but academic research is part of my other job]. Upon closer inspection I saw a maker’s mark that read “Meyer’s Metal” on the back. Combining that with some of the other search terms led me to the answer I was looking for–it’s a U.S. military Quartermaster’s insignia. More research helped me date my pin back to World War I. I know that for anyone in the military, the Quartermaster’s insignia would have been easy to figure out. Dating it was trickier but the style of pin and clasps helped with that.
Research is a great part of the vintage life. It’s time consuming but satisfying when you hit on an answer or get some history on something you’ve found. For example, I’ve learned about about N.S. Meyer, Inc., the maker of the Quartermaster’s insignia. It has been making military insignias for many countries since 1869.
I’ve hit a dead end for the moment on the Van’s eagle pin, but I’ll keep looking. If you have any thoughts or information on the Van’s pin, let me know.
You can see our pins in our Etsy shop: