A hallmark or maker’s mark is usually a name or symbol stamped into the reverse of the badge. A hallmark on a badge provides a number of benefits to the collector. First, depending on the text or symbol of the hallmark, it can help date the badge and obviously tell us who the maker was. Secondly, in some cases it is possible to determine whether the company had a contract to make badges for the department shown on the badge. This can be key in establishing authenticity of badges with little or no provenance.
Note: Just because a badge has a hallmark does not automatically make it an authentic badge. Some people have purchased the original stamps from authentic producers to make fake or fantasy badges. Other badges simply have a stamped hallmark of a company that never existed, or never produced badges. Two of the most common fake hallmarks are H.C. Magnus & Co. and J.H. Duncan Engravers (both marked from San Francisco), if your badge has either of these hallmarks, it is a fake.
Below is an image gallery of several makers’ marks.
Note: This list is not exhaustive, there have been over 1,000 documented unique hallmarks for badges by almost 800 different producers.
HALLMARK PHOTOS COURTESY of MONTY McCORD
FROM HIS 1999 BOOK:
LAW ENFORCEMENT MEMORABILIA – PRICE AND IDENTIFICATION GUIDE
published by Krause Publications Inc., Iola, WI