Remembering 9-11-01.
We will not forget!

The Bunko Squad

The fake badges

Detective Tony Ranguzzio knows all the badge scams...

*** PBN Collector Alert ***
Hey, right here on the net... Did ya know that you too could buy cheap, repro junk badges... I found a place where you can buy badges for $20 to $30 and live happily ever after. Sound like fun? Well, let me tell you what it does to both you and our hobby. First, You are paying for what is touted as a "collectible". There's nothing collectible about reproductions. They will never be worth what you paid, unless you scam somebody else. Then try and sleep at night. Second, the flooding of our hobby by dealers like this, as well as a manufacturer in the Northeast (who also can be found here on the net), is taking its toll. Several States are considering or already have enacted laws that affect the well being of badge collecting as a hobby. There are even certain states where badge collectors fear the public display of their collections. Then there's the trust issue... just listen sometime during a badge show...constant questions like "is this a good one?" are more common the old greeting of "hello".

So... you think you are gettin' a bargain when you pay $19.95 for that current issue LAPD? Well, lets just compare one of these cheap junk badges to an authentic.

Okay, guess which one is the real one? Well, it's certainly not the one with Sgt. Webb's badge number! Look closely, these aren't even the same shape. Look at the building (LA City Hall). Look at the lettering, the panels, the background of the badge. Collectors badge? Hmmm, maybe if you collect Cracker Jack Toys.

An even bigger laugh is that of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's badge being sold on the net. Compare the "repro" on the left with the real one on right:

Heck, they couldn't even get the number of arms on the star correct. And I quoted the word "repro" because, in the true sense, this is a "fantasy" badge, one that never existed except in the makers mind. The real LASO badge here happens to be one of a defunct rank, although the style is the current issue today.

Moral of the story... save your money...and save this hobby too. There are good genuine badges out there that you can find for the same price range or maybe a little higher. Remember... this hobby is, like most others, a way to invest in something yet have fun doing that investment. Junk will always be junk!


COMING SOON! (Very doubtful, though)

A Langenbacker generic badge. This badge has a control number, 15, on the back. This is an example of the upcoming info & drawings you'll find in the updated guide, coming soon!

Another illustration from the upcoming second edition of the Langenbacker Spotter's Guide, this one a D&RGW Detective's star, hallmarked Sun Badge Co.

An updated version of the Langenbacker Spotter's Guide is being completed in the near future. This book by Dave Arnold outlines each of the fake badges being made in Utah. A quick and easy reference guide designed for take along at shows, the update version will have computer drawn renderings of each badge in production. All known hallmark information and control numbers (that are on some badges) will also be included. The release of the book will be announced here at PBN.

NEW Langenbackers: David Langenbacker has added 17 new badges to his offerings since my publication of the Langenbacker's Spotter's Guide. The following badges, numbered 264 through 280 are as follows:

264 U.S. Territorial Marshal, a circle with cut-out five-point star

265 Cochise County Sheriff, a crescent with cut-out five point star

266 Town Marshal (generic), narrow band circle with cut-out 5 pt star

267 Dos Arroyos Special Officer, a 5 pt ball tipped star

268 Marshal (generic), a lapel pin-type badge, S-shaped

269 Los Angeles Police #141, a pinched shield of yesteryear

270 Constable Smyth County, a pinched shield

271 Marshal (generic), a flag-like lapel pin-like badge

272 Dolores Police, a ball tipped 6 pt star

273 Frontier Battalion, Company D, Texas Rangers, a circle with cut- out 5 pt star

274 Utah State Deputy Game Warden, a pinched shield

275 Sheriff (generic), a pinched shield with heavy scrolling

276 Chief of Police Princeton, a 6 pt ball tipped star

277 Fish & Game Protector, California Fish & Game Commision, badge #64, and eagle topped shield

278 US Indian Police, a pinched shield with cut-out 5 pt star

279 Sergeant KC Metropolitan Police, a 6 pt star surrounded by a wreath

280 LA City Police, badge # 32, an 8 point star (1st issue badge).

See the Lieutenant's Office for more info

On-Line Auctions

I am constantly asked about on-line auctions such as E Bay and Allbadges.  Many visitors here request that I check a badge for them before I buy it.  I rarely have time but what I will tell you is that the auctions are loaded with garbage.  From brand-new to flat
-out repro's, they proliferate the on-line auctions.  

One of the biggest reproduction dealers  on the Internet is "Pineridge7".  It is rumored that the LAPD recently filed a cease and desist order against Pineridge for reproducing and selling their current-issue badge.

One problem with dealing with a seller on an auction is that you have no clue who you are dealing with.  In that there are several people "in" the hobby who prey on unsuspecting collectors, it is important to know the person and maybe even check with other collectors whether they know that person.  You typically can't do that with auctions since they use a screen name.  I would suggest you contact a seller before you bid.  Ask his name.  Whether or not you can check his references or with collector friends is unimportant, really.  The ones who are used to "bad press" will give you a hard time about asking their name.  Then you'll know.  Of course, if he is a total commercial venture, like Pinridge7, he will probably flat out brag about how long he's been in business and how many happy customers he's served.

Other things to think about before you buy:

Does this person have more "rules" typed out then he does "description"?

Does the seller want an inordinate amount for shipping and "handling" his own badge?

Does the seller offer a return policy?

Remember, we live in a "Buyer Beware" world today, especially in the on-line auctions

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