There are many sources for purchasing reproduction badges. The problem is the reproductions are not marked as such and are often re-sold as authentic badges. Then there are people who have bought old badge making equipment including A thru Z letter hand stamps and 0 thru 9 number stamps. They can now stamp any title or city name on the badge they wish. They copy badges from photos or just make them up.  The most current trick used by the people faking badges is to have reproduction hallmarks made. They then stamp the fake badges with the fake hallmark making it very difficult for collectors of authentic badges to determine the real from the fake. 

Some of the fake hallmarks are from companies that never made badges such as J.H. Duncan Engravers San Francisco, CA and H.C. Magnus & Company San Francisco, CA. Others are from companies that did make badges and the hallmarks have been copied from the original.  The badges they fake usually have high ranking titles such as Sheriff, Constable, Chief and US Marshal.  They also like romantic towns such as Goldfield, Bodie, Carson City, Placerville and other old west and gold rush areas. Pictured below are a few pictures people have sent me asking for an opinion. They have been offered these badges or saw then in an auction.  I'm giving my opinion based on over 20 years of collecting experience and the opinion of many other veteran collectors. 

Poor workmanship on this reproduction badge but the fake hallmark on the back is very good.

These two badges have a fake hallmark from a legitimate badge maker, Ed Jones Company Oakland,CA.  Notice the finish on the badge.  This is from putting them in an acid bath to try and give the badges an old patina look. The process pits the badge and eats away at the metal and the paint in the letters. The Hawaii badge was offered to me in Aug. of 1995 and rejected.

The badge below is a casting of a authentic badge, often seen on internet auction sites. It can be found all silver color or copper color base with silver color letters, seal and numbers.  The casting even captured the original  hallmark, Detective Publishing Co. Chicago. 


Reproduction Alviso hallmarked H.C. Magnus S.F.  Any badge hallmarked H.C. Magnus should be suspect.   Big titles such as Chief of Police and Constable are favorites of the fakers who use the H. C. Magnus hallmark.


Bob's badges #86 reproduction.


The good news on this fake is they were all identical and all of them were numbered 44. 


These off shore reproductions of actual badges also have the hallmark reproduced.


These off shore reproductions of actual badges also have the hallmark reproduced.


These fakes were cast from a challenge coin. Some are marked sterling and most of those are just silver plated. Most of them have the tell tale rust spots on them which is actually the brass showing through of the supposed "sterling" badge.
Buyer beware.


Click Here to see the front and back cover design of Badges of America's Finest.


Available Now

Authored by James Casey, Badges of America's Finest, features over 500 images and
136 all-color pages. Early first issue badges, old west badges and other interesting and unique badges are
 included with PRICE GUIDE.

9 x 12 inches

ISBN: 1-932439-51-X          Price: $39.95

Click Here to order directly from the publisher

Click Here to download .pdf Order Form

Embossing and Leather Bound editions are available.

Volume II is in the early planning stages. If you have badges that you would like to have added to this second volume please contact me. Email


Recently we have seen several badges offered on ebay with similar pins as pictured above.  One of my sources advises these pins were found in Germany and were left over from a German military medals maker. Buyer Beware!


This is one of a series of old west style badges sold by novelty stores and others in tourist areas.  Titles included Marshal, Indian Police, Texas Ranger etc.  Several variations in design were used with different ding bats, styles of lettering and wording. Most were brass, some were made of white metal.







© Copyright 1996-  



Philadelphia Police Detective badge.
Baltimore Captain BADGE