Harley Davidson Head Badge Controversy


This ad disappears when logged in

47jchiggins

I live for the CABE
Sep 15, 2013
1,274
1,590
Virginia Beach, 23451
#1
So......I know this will probably be a bit of a hot topic but I wanted to share some interesting information. I have had this HD badge but have been hesitant to show it for concern of authenticity as the general consensus has been, if it's not a stamped, tin badge, then its a reproduction. I have had a few "In the know" collectors, both motorcycle and bicycle, who have either seen this badge in person or in very detailed photos who believe this to be authentic, well I hope this email from HD, clears that up.

Hi Todd.
Yes, that’s a Harley-Davidson bicycle head badge. I’d put it closer to the end of the run of the bicycle production, about 1920 to 1921.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Milwaukee, Wisconsin




*********Always and Never, two words that will get you in trouble in this hobby *********

Thanks,

Todd

IMG_4654.JPG


IMG_4655.JPG


IMG_4658.JPG


IMG_4659.JPG


IMG_4660.JPG
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Goldenindian

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Aug 31, 2014
753
1,041
Marinette, Wisconsin
#5
Interesting answer he gave you.....I have tried to contact the head of the archives, with no response. Thanks for sharing.
 

bike

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Feb 26, 2007
4,853
1,153
Bicycleland
#7
As far as I have ever seen, or from people I have trusted as knowledgeable, all the real ones are stamped. I have never heard of "late" badges being cast. These badges have been done for many years in many iterations.
The HD museum has authenticated bikes I know to be fakes or tributes. They have bikes in their collection that have fake badges... a few turn overs of the people in charge and this is probably forgotten...(keep in mind in the 80s they "Corrected" one of the earliest HD motorcycles that had been in there possession since pre 1910 and there was a lot of talk about how they F'd history for ever)

This is my OPINION based on years of following HD bikes however I could be wrong- I try to be open minded but on this subject I am fairly convinced and it would take a lot for me to change my opinion.
2cents
 

Andrew Gorman

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jun 15, 2008
2,674
619
Pasadena (Hastings Ranch), United States
#12
Take a close look at the font used for "Milwaukee" in the first badge- not really appropriate for the period. The background pattern is cut into the die and the brass blank is whammed into it.
 

47jchiggins

I live for the CABE
Sep 15, 2013
1,274
1,590
Virginia Beach, 23451
#14
If I were going to reproduce a badge, I would make every attempt to make it look as close to the original or what others perceived as original, as possible. My badge bares no resemblance to the stamped badge, it's even slightly larger, why would someone take such painstaking measures to fake a badge that looked fake?

I am certain that 100 years ago when these bikes were produced, the first iterations didn't just pop out as exact duplicates of each other. There were parts being supplied by several different manufacturers and if something ran out, what did they do, hault production or did they make substitutions? Same with the end of production, HD had to know when they were winding down production that substitutions were going to be made because they were no longer ordering or producing large quantities of parts.

Anyone who says they "NEVER" did this or the "ALWAYS" did that, 100 years ago, is frankly full of themselves. WW1 changed they way EVERTHING was manufactured. Some materials were more readily available than others and substitutions were common. Look at automotive manufacturers today, they have modes like, Special Edition, Limited, etc, usually because of changes occurring from one year to the next and reduction of parts production but they still produced a vehicle.
 
Last edited:

47jchiggins

I live for the CABE
Sep 15, 2013
1,274
1,590
Virginia Beach, 23451
#15
Take a close look at the font used for "Milwaukee" in the first badge- not really appropriate for the period. The background pattern is cut into the die and the brass blank is whammed into it.
I am trying to see a difference between the font in "Milwaukee" from the badge I posted and the stamped badge, I'm not seeing it, sorry.....

IMG_2395.JPG


IMG_4660.JPG


IMG_3318.JPG
 
Likes: WetDogGraphix

Rust_Trader

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Oct 1, 2010
3,796
1,957
United States of America
#17

47jchiggins

I live for the CABE
Sep 15, 2013
1,274
1,590
Virginia Beach, 23451
#19
Besides it being brass and awkward looking, what bothers me is damage on the badge. It just looks like it was done for deception as to make it look older. That to me is a major visual red flag. Definitely a copy to me.
I must admit, the damage has been something that I too have questioned. But how did someone make it? It's not cast, it doesn't look etched, it appears to have been struck, pressed or rolled using dies. I have several period examples of badges made in with same material in the same method. Someone would have had to go through a lot of trouble making a die that was INCORRECT, that just doesn't make sense.
So what do you think, is the badge below a fake?

IMG_5985.JPG


IMG_5986.JPG


IMG_5987.JPG


IMG_5988.JPG


IMG_6973.JPG
 
Last edited:

47jchiggins

I live for the CABE
Sep 15, 2013
1,274
1,590
Virginia Beach, 23451
#20
The words in the cast badge, "MILWAUKEE, U.S.OF A.", are set in Helvetica, a font that was not published until 1957.

In my opinion.

View attachment 690951
I do not think my badge is cast......it is too uniform in thickness and devoid of imperfections normally associated with cast objects this size.
So the "MILLWAUKEE, U.S.OF A" " is a different font than mine? My badge letters are clearly more flat due to wear and different methods of manufacturering but I don't see a difference in the font when I look at the outlines or base of the letter, am I missing something?

IMG_2395.JPG


IMG_6975.JPG


IMG_6991.JPG


IMG_6993.JPG
 
Last edited:

This ad disappears when logged in
Most Recent BUY IT NOW Items Listed on eBay
$12.00
eBay Auction Picture
$59.00
eBay Auction Picture
$59.00
eBay Auction Picture
$35.00
eBay Auction Picture
$8.00
eBay Auction Picture
$9.95
eBay Auction Picture
$240.00
eBay Auction Picture
$49.95
eBay Auction Picture
$8.00
eBay Auction Picture
$75.00
eBay Auction Picture
$35.00
eBay Auction Picture
$40.00
eBay Auction Picture
$20.00
eBay Auction Picture
$12.00
eBay Auction Picture
$75.00
eBay Auction Picture
$12.00
eBay Auction Picture
$300.00
eBay Auction Picture
$19.96
eBay Auction Picture