For Your Information by Paul Myers in ASTA


Senior collector Paul Myers of Goshen, IN was at the recent Calumet Council Memorial Day Trade-o-ree. Paul is a former editor of the Trader magazine in the 1960s. In the 1990s he wrote a regular column for ASTA, the America Scout Traders Association, which merged with NSCA to form ISCA the national group today. At the TOR Paul was handing out a compilation of the articles he wrote for ASTA. It is now contained in a PDF below. It covers over 75 topics of Scouting collectibles. Not in depth necessarily but my guess is that even veteran collectors will learn something knew from going through these pages.

The topics include:

  • Amaquonsippi trail patches
  • US Grant Pilgrimage patches
  • Lincoln Pilgrimage patches
  • Contest medals
  • Henderson Award System
  • Belt Stencils
  • Colored Background Service Stars
  • BSA Anniversary Week
  • Ribbon Pin Bars
  • 100% Duty
  • Standard Church Troop Bars
  • Original Twelve Regions
  • OA Chapter Flaps
  • Early Registration Cards
  • Scout Emergency Units
  • Recruiter Strips
  • Scout Diaries
  • Boy Rangers of America
  • District Badges
  • Region 7 Hoe Down
  • Sweater, swim suit, hat and jacket badges
  • Veteran Emblems
  • Explorer Top Awards
  • Presidents Awards & Quality Unit
  • SeniorScout Titles
  • Civic Service
  • Overseas Travel Badges
  • Service Library
  • WW 1 War Service Medals
  • National Service Camps
  • Boy Scout Bands
  • Tenure in Scout Camp
  • Service Troops
  • Jamboree Staff Positions
  • Jamboree Participation Awards
  • Jamboree Contingent items
  • Jamboree Shoulder Identification
  • 1950 Jamboree Prototypes
  • Variations in Jamboree Patches and Neckerchiefs
  • Jamboree Region Items
  • Strengthen the Arm of Liberty Program
  • Take Me Home Folders
  • Scout Straight Knives
  • Scoutmaster’s Key
  • Cub Scouting
  • First Class Hat Pins
  • Patrol Identification
  • Folding Pocket Knives
  • OA Chapter Badges
  • Scout Rings
  • Pin Back Buttons
  • State Strips
  • Early Camp Honor Societies
  • Philadelphia District Badges
  • Region Standard Camp Badges
  • Philmont Contingent Patches
  • Merit Badges
  • Boycraft Co. Booklets
  • 10 Year Program Award
  • Sea Scout Ships

Boy Scout Memorabilia Information

Welding Merit Badge is here!

Posted on April 4th, 2012 in Merit Badges by ramore

Got this in from my Area newsletter: The Boy Scouts of America collaborated with the American
Welding Society, BSA Health and Safety Committee, and OSHA members to create the
Welding merit badge. Scouts can begin working on this merit badge now and the new pamphlet
is available in your local Scout shop. For more information and merit badge requirements
please click here.

ID’ing the 1924 Eagle Patch

Posted on October 8th, 2011 in Jamborees,Merit Badges by ramore

We recently placed a 1924 World Jamboree merit badge sash with the first Eagle patch on it. We’ve been asked how one can identify such a thing. Well several ways but first some history.

Prior to the 1924 World Jamboree the BSA did not sell a merit badge sash. Scouts and Scouters, who could earn merit badges at that time, were left to their own devices. If you only had a few merit badges you would sew them on your shirt sleeve. If you had lots of merit badges, you could keep going up your sleeve. The Scouts DID sell a false sleeve, a snappable sleeve to wrap around your shirt sleeve that one could sew on more merit badges if they did not fit the shirt or if you did not want to wash the badges when you washed the shirt.

We have examples of home made sashes as well. Here’s an example of one that is almost a bandelero that goes over the shoulder and around the waist. Because of the type of badges on the sash, we know its a “teens era” sash.

Also, prior to 1924 there was no patch for the Eagle rank. There was only the medal.

What made the 1924 World Jamboree special, in Chief Scout Executive James West’s perspective, was that participation was limited due to the camp size and that there was going to be Scout competitions between countries. West wanted to win and to visually have the sharpest looking contingent. Thus he had made up an Eagle patch and tailored merit badge sashes so all were consistent.

So how can one tell if you have a 1924 sash or Eagle patch? Here’s a picture of one we just placed. Note on the Eagle patch where the tips of the gray scroll extend into the white oval. Later issues stop at the edge. Then on the sash, the patches were sewn onto the khaki cloth and THEN the border/piping for the sash was sewn. Thus the border covers the edges of the merit badges. These sashes exist as two-wide and three-wide.

Update: Terry’s helped point out a needed correction in my write-up:

Only the first aid merit badge is sewn onto the khaki.  The rest of the merit badges are actually part of the sash.  The merit badge sash was two ply.  The top ply was cut so that the merit badges (sewn together) could be sewn into the ply and become part of the ply. The border was then applied to finish the look all around the sash.

Close-up of how merit badges were sewn into the sash in 1924


Look For Transition Merit Badges

Posted on January 4th, 2011 in Merit Badges by ramore

In the past few years, the BSA Supply Division has made changes to the front designs to several merit badges. Also, starting around 2006 they began to have “Scout Stuff” printed on the back of the patches. Fred Duersch is the current editor of the Merit Badge Field Guide and author of the current classification system for merit badges. These new ‘SSB’ (Scout stuff back) merit badges are called “Type – J”.

Well, with any transition across an existing inventory and new products coming out, not everything is done consistently. Too many moving parts. While doing some cataloging and updating our inventory of merit badges I noted having one not yet listed as a type H – plain plastic back called Auto Maintenance. In theory this badge should not exist as it came out in 2008, after the conversion to SSB.

Another one is Composite Materials.

Fred and Craig McDaniel are working on an article for ISCA to catalog these transition oversight issues. They are likely to be quite scarce. It is like the transition from square merit badges to wide crimps. Many of the rarest, and most valuable, square merit badges are the ones that just came out before the transition (e.g., Pigeon Raising, Rowing, Mechanical Drawing).

Update: Talked with Ron Oslin at the Dallas TOR about these. What he pointed out was some of these post SSB badges had problems with the Consumer Protection laws that limited the use of pthalates (sp?), a chemical used to soften plastic on the backing of these patches, so that some came in to this country without SSB even though they never existed in the plastic back era. Still, they are going to show up on Type H – plastic back collecting lists as that is where they fit in.

NRA & BSA – 100 years and counting

Posted on December 17th, 2010 in BSA Info,Jamborees,Merit Badges by ramore

I’m not a member of the National Rifle Association but our incoming council president is. When we met recently for lunch he had the December, 2010 issue of American Rifleman. In it they have a wonderful article about the Marksmanship merit badge, this year’s National Jamboree and the NRA’s partnership with the BSA. Check it out on their web-site.

As the article points out:

“Marksman” was one of the first 14 Badges of Merit (later termed Merit Badges) offered in the original 1910 Scout Handbook

Aritst Joseph Csatari's cover for the 1985 Winchester box cover.

Aritst Joseph Csatari

This is wrong!

Posted on March 23rd, 2010 in BSA Info,General Commentary on Life,Hobby Trends,Merit Badges by ramore

At the recent Pittsburgh TOR I was going through Joe Klos’s merit badge collection. Joe has a very extensive collection and is passionate about this area of the hobby. Flipping through the recent issues I did a double take. I saw something that was not supposed to exist. Joe was with Ron Oslin who also collects merit badges. After seeing the patch in Joe’s collection, I asked Ron if he had it. He did. See the two patches below.

BSA merit badge Made in China

BSA merit badge Made in China

Now what is wrong with this you might ask? Most of the current BSA merit badges are made in China. Lets look at the front:

This is the American Labor merit badge. It recognizes the contribution of the American labor movement to this country. The Boy Scouts of America are having this patch from China! This is BS (I want this to be a non-R rated blog but it is VERY HARD with this one not to get very coarse.) I am not a “union man” but I respect their impact on this country and to Scouting. Is the BSA asking China for financial contributions? For volunteer leadership? For help in building our camps? The BSA can’t excuse this away as being a fluke. This was two separate collections from two different areas.

What adds insult to injury is that I forewarned the BSA in 2007. In my position in Scouting and as a member of the National Council I am allowed to submit resolutions. I actually submitted the resolution which first runs through my council and then through the Central Region. I received a timely and nice set of exchanges with the then Region Executive Brad Farmer. He checked with the Supply Division and said they were on top of this. Wanting to be a team player and since it had gotten the attention of leadership I withdrew my resolution for submission at the upcoming national meeting.

Well Brad’s been promoted. I don’t fully fault him as this is not his area. It was clear I could have gone ahead with my resolution but I did not want to make waves where they were supposedly not needed. Wrong. I hope this does not get picked up by those who want to attack the BSA. Head(s) should roll on this. This is a slap in the face of all of the American labor supporters of Scouting. I wonder if they have added a new merit badge requirement: “Describe how your job will be shipped overseas? Describe how to sign-up for unemployement. Describe how to get food stamps and get aid from food banks.” Maybe we need to out-source the Supply Division. They can not be any dumber.

If someone knows the union representatives to the BSA Relationships Committee, please pass this on to them. This needs to create some pain in our organization if we are to improve. What did Forrest Gump say? “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Where is the George Meaney Award now made? The knot? The Whitney Young Award and knot? The American Flag patches on our sleeves? If you find any with “Made in China” stickers, please let me know.

A seldom seen merit badge – Spider Insect Life

Posted on August 28th, 2009 in Merit Badges by ramore

In a previous post I mentioned that we’re helping the folks at Scouting magazine for a new column of theirs. One idea we gave that they’re considering is some of the oddball merit badges. Here’s one, from R. Lynn Horne, MD of the Las Vegas International Scouting Museum that is seldom seen. It is the first Insect Life merit badge. It came out in 1923. The design shows a spider. But, a spider is not an insect. Thus, the design was changed in 1925. During the two years it existed, 73 insect life merit badges were earned.

On track for a record number of Eagle Scouts

Posted on August 28th, 2009 in BSA Info,Merit Badges by ramore

Information just out from the Top Hands meeting, the Scouts are on track for a record number of Scouts to earn their Eagle rank award. Fantastic!

The recent issue of Scouting reported that in 2008 Scouts earned 2.3 million merit badges. The top 10 were all Eagle required, no surprise there. The top one was First Aid (103,503) then Swimming (89,580) and Environmental Science (83,845). Think about how much better a country we are for having this many youth learning these valuable skills! Think how much better we would be if more were learning these skills. Where do the youth of our country get such opportunities? How many men got exposed to their eventual avocation through work on a merit badge? When do we open this up to females too? One of the strengths of this country is that we try to empower everyone. Scouting is part of the solution.

New find? Different Air Scout Aviation merit badge

Posted on February 12th, 2009 in Merit Badges by ramore

We recently received a merit badge sash with an Air Scout blue Aviation merit badge but with major differences in the red embroidery. See below – standard variety on the left, strange/new variety on the right. Differences are in the prop, nose cone and detailing on the tail fins. Maybe this variation has been reported and we just missed it but I don’t think so. Maybe someone can provide some more insight or background. The rest of the sash had other narrow tan crimped merit badges. No fine twills so I’d date it to late 1930s to very early 1940s.

Air Scout aviation merit badge varieties

Merit Badges were made with silk thread

Posted on October 2nd, 2007 in Merit Badges by Roy

There have been some recent articles in ISCA about merit badges. One part of the discussion was questioning whether merit badges were made using silk thread. We brought this up a couple of years ago as we offered up narrow tan merit badges (circa late 1930s to 1945) that identified versions embroidered with silk thread and versions embroidered with cotton thread. This change over in thread types occurred sometime during the WW2 years. The collectors of adult insignia or youth rank badges have known of the thread difference for at least a decade (see Terry Grove’s books on Eagles or Paul Myers’ books). Some collectors of merit badges though have still been in denial. Unfortunately Terry and Paul’s work was ignored by some merit badge experts.

Cover of 1933 BSA Uniform Badges and Insignia book

Well, as we have been preparing the auction of a very nice collar pin collection we opened up one of our favorite reference books Uniform Badges and Insignia the BSA published in 1933.


Going into the book, there is a section on merit badges. In black and white they note that the patches are embroidered in silk on khaki cloth. bsaunfmb.jpgI am not sure what better documentation to come up with for those still in denial.

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