2006 Year in Review covering 2005By Roy More, ISCA #0020L
Roy A. More, President, The Scout Patch Auction (TSPA)Overview
It sure seemed like the year flew by. It is time again to look back at some of the news and trends of the past year. Overall the hobby continues to grow and I believe prosper with many highlights but there were also periods of sadness with the passing of many friends.LVISM Makes News, Twice
The Las Vegas International Scouting Museum (LVISM) made news at both the beginning and the end of the year. At the beginning, they reported a major theft. It appears to be due to a local tradesman and an eBay seller in Arizona. Past ISCA Chairman, Ron Aldridge, first notified the Museum of the theft when certain unique items that he provided to the Museum appeared on eBay. Investigations went on through the summer with the Las Vegas Police Department?s findings turned over to their prosecutor?s office in the fall.
The end of year news from the Museum was their acquisition of the Morley-Topkis collections. These will become part of the permanent collection of the museum. They are inventorying the acquisition as they make plans for its display. This will be the most complete presentation of vintage OA items adding to the Museum?s already impressive collection.New Record Price
September saw a new record price set at auction for a Boy Scout patch of $71,000. It was the 1947 World Jamboree patch that says ?Maitrise.? This was for the headquarters staff and dignitaries attending this Jamboree. It may not be the rarest 1947 WJ patch though. Our estimate is that there are 4 or 5 of these patches in this country at this time.
The previous public record was for the lodge 4 chenille which sold for $28,000 around 1998. What I find interesting about the sale of the 1947 patch is that there were five under-bidders at or above $25,000. There may have been even more who had tried to snipe but their bids did not get in due to the advancing price.
The upper prices people have been willing to pay for Scout patches continues to advance as we privately placed two dozen four figure patches including eight that had five figure prices.Passings
An unfortunate but inevitable trend is the numerous passing of several who have been actively involved in the collecting community. Of note, in 2005 we lost Guy Hatfield, Bob Chapman, Marlin Bates and Cal Holden.
Guy was a one-time editor of the Trader newsletter, one of the forerunner organizations to ISCA. He was maybe the first to put together a first flap collection before folks had even thought to collect these. At the time of his death, he had built the foremost council patch collection in the country as well as OA issues from his beloved Kentucky. Guy had been having increasing complications due to his diabetes. Still, his passing came suddenly as he and I had chatted just four days earlier.
Bob Chapman who specialized in CSPs and provided a new issue service that many found useful passed away while we were at the Jamboree.
Marlin Bates was a professional Scouter and eventual Scout Executive of Piedmont Council in California. His notoriety in the hobby though is more dubious as he reproduced a number of the toughest Order of the Arrow issues in the 1970s.
Cal specialized in insignia and was one of the foremost authorities on Girl Scout insignia. He was working on a collector?s book at the time of his passing. He and his wife Fran had been a fixture on the trade-o-ree circuit. He was always willing to share information. I had received in an e-mail from him just ten days before his passing pointing out some background information on a patch I had for sale.ISCA at the National Jamboree
ISCA had its largest jamboree presence ever at the 2005 National Jamboree. The Collecting Merit Badge booth, led by Craig Leighty and Jim Ellis, was one of the most popular merit badges. They filled their double-sized booth and had to recruit additional ISCA members to help out.
Jef Heckinger organized and implemented an ISCA booth in the National Exhibits area. It had a prime position and long lines the entire jamboree. It was so popular that National staff came over to see what all we were doing.
Terry Grove presented his Eagle Scout Award display in the NESA booth. Beyond the ISCA sponsored activities, numerous members served on staff or were part of contingents.Len Slater and Jef Heckinger answer Scouts questions at the ISCA National Display booth. Scouts and Scouters lined up to create ISCA Jamboree pennies. 2005 National Jamboree
The Jamboree came and went. It was successful from the perspective of the number of participants and the strong program. But, it was also one of the deadliest with an electrocution of several Scouters during set-up. Due to the heat wave that hit that part of the country, there were severe heat related problems. BSA management did not help the situation as the marches to the shows were overly long and under stocked for hydration.
We estimate that there are over 2,000 council contingent items for the 2005 Jamboree. This includes JSPs, more than ever before, as well as neckerchiefs and pocket patches. If one includes things like travel bags and water bottles, who knows what the final number will be. As for staff items there may be more than 500. They are nearly un-collectable. We saw very little vintage Scouting insignia at the jamboree. This was due in part to all of the JSPs but also from our age. I remember one Scout when asked if he had anything old he pulled out the vintage jamboree patch that he got from his uncle. It was from 1973. I was there. Now its considered old. Ouch.
Political correctness came to the Jamboree as the location was listed as Caroline County, VA rather than Fort A. P. Hill. History buffs know that A. P. Hill was a Confederate general. There were some pocket patches and jacket patches that were issued to early planning staff that still had the A. P. Hill designation that are coveted. We don?t know how many were made and in what type but there are at least a pocket patch and a back patch.
The next jamboree will be five years out in 2010 for the 100th anniversary of the BSA. There are active rumors that it will not be at Fort A. P. Hill though. Speculation is that it will be in Texas.EBay
It is now standard that we cannot provide a year-in-review without covering eBay. On any given month there are over 3,000 different sellers and 3,000 different buyers with roughly 50,000 listings. New discoveries continue to come out of closets and attics, a good thing but then it is still very much ?buyer beware? as there are more fakes and private issues than ever before. Because of the money in this hobby, eBay has attracted more than its share of scam artists trying to prey on the un-educated or greedy. It has also attracted overseas hackers that are trying phishing scams and false second chance offers of high dollar items. After a real Gimogash patch from Bay City, Michigan sold for $13,000 an ?old wool Boy Scout patch? surfaced that was similar in design but was a 1970s era fake. It took several people in though with a final price of $760.Angus McBryde Estate Auctioned
In the middle of October there was a one-day auction of the Angus McBryde estate. Angus passed away a few years back. He had worked as a professional Scouter in the BSA Supply Division running their service center in New York. Through his years of service he acquired a number of interesting and historically significant items including Paul Siple?s uniforms, national badges of office, and proto-type insignia. One of the more curious, and valuable items to surface was the ?Labor? merit badge. This badge and design had never been issued. The related issue is called ?American Labor.?
The auction house had originally estimated that the estate would bring $50,000. After their cataloging it they thought it would bring $100,000. The actual was more in-line with our estimate of $200,000 - $250,000. The actual total was $222,000 plus a 10% buyer?s premium bringing the one-day sale to $244,000.
Many of us were wondering beforehand how they were going to get through 600 lots in one day but they did it and did it well. They got many of us to bid more than we had planned although no one spent all that they had prepared to spend. Still, there were many bargains throughout the auction as is true with any auction. A favorite saying though that the auctioneers? shared was ?There are no friends at an auction? as many of us competed with each other for various lots.ISCA members Mitch Reis and Todd Johnson look over lot offerings at the McBryde auction. Category review
The following are my general impressions about the interest level in major segments of our hobby.OA
OA continues to be the highest valued area of Scouting memorabilia. For merged lodge issues there is a general closing of the values between the restricted issues and the common issues post lodge merger.
As prices move up the ?provenance?, i.e. background and documentation, of a patch and any certification are becoming increasingly important in the higher valued items. Also, condition is increasingly important as those willing to pay top dollar are demanding top conditioned patches. At the January, 2005 Board Meeting ISCA formed a committee to develop a certification process. Certification would not be limited to OA items though.
The BSA has discontinued the national use of lodge numbers. From the BSA perspective, lodges are known by their council number. At the Jamboree issues surfaced with lodges using their council number thus we had Tisquantum 249 as well as the better known Spe-le-yai 249. I recently saw a Taleka 116 which will probably cause some stir amongst the Santee collectors. What I believe it means is that we will go with collecting OA by name and not number. It will be harder to figure out a needs list but the CSP collectors have been doing it for decades now so the OA collectors will adapt.
First flaps: Continue to be solid. There are new highs in values on a regular basis although not across the board. Nor has every first flap gone up in price, particularly as modern issues come to market. Chippanyonk 59 is one that comes to mind but there are others as well that have come down in price.
Lodge Activity Patches ? Sizzling, although it depends upon the part of the country.
Lodge Neckerchiefs ? Selectively hot, again depends upon the lodge and the issue.
NOAC ? Cool. Some interest in the early items but that?s about it.
Section Conclave Patches ? Cool except for Southern Region. We did see an upsurge in the issues from old Region 6 particularly from Georgia and Florida. We are working with Dr. Frank Dingwerth and Dr. Ron Aldridge on a web-site documenting conclave information not surprisingly called: www.oaconclaves.com
First Issues and Wabaningo issues ? Again selectively hot while others can be down right cold.
Membership cards, Sashes, and Ceremony Books ? Up and coming. These are still affordable but probably not for long, particularly for the vintage (1950 and earlier) items.Shoulder Wear
CSPs ? Warming up. Generally most items can be found for low book but occasionally auction prices were above high book. This is still the most broadly collected area of Scouting memorabilia.
JSPs ? Hot right after the Jamboree but then faded. Some interest in prior jamborees.
Red and Whites (and other pre-CSPs) Sizzling. There are more four figure ($1,000+) items in this category as a percent of the total items than any other area of shoulder wear and maybe a greater proportion than any other Scouting collectible area. Community strips continue to be actively collected but they seem to have topped out in price.Insignia
Sizzling. In general we can?t find enough quality items. We can?t find enough vintage items. The McBryde estate helped fill in a number of collectors for some of these badges and new price levels were reached particularly for local council positions. Veteran patches on Sea Scout colored cloth or on wool set new highs. Regional and national badges of office are still undervalued.Merit badges
Squares ? Somewhat flat. The greatest interest is for teens issues and the very rare badges but there is a difference between bid and ask.
Fine twills and wide crimp ? Also cooled from prior years. Many wide crimps offered though are squares cut and folded down. Many are hard to authenticate as wide crimps. There seems to be less interest in going after the fine twills.
Rolled edge twills/green border cloth backs ? sizzling. Still very affordable and some are short run issues.Rank
Eagles ? Solid/flat
Silver Awards ? Solid
Exploring ? Cool. Extinct memorabilia such as this seems to have a limited following. Air Scout memorabilia seems to be the exception as there is very little supply and continued interest for some of our hobby?s most distinctive insignia.
Combined ranks ? Sizzling for the lower ranks and odd positions. Flat for the more common issues such as First Class and Second Class Patrol Leader.World Jamborees
Other than for the 1937 and 1947 sub-camps which are sizzling, this area has cooled off. It appears that folks have been able to fill in their collections.US National Jamborees
Some interest due to the jamboree. High quality 1935 and 1937 patches are hard, and expensive, to find. The shoulder patches and tabs from these jamborees have increased dramatically in recent years.Camps
Felts ? Sizzling to solid.
Embroidered ? Sizzling to solid There is a geographical bias. That is, the same vintage and scarcity of patch can command a widely different price depending upon what part of the country it is from. Not all felt camp patches will bring $20 or even $10. Many of these are scarcer than the comparable OA patch even though the OA patch could bring four or five figures.High Adventure Bases
Philmont ? Hot Particularly for the arrowheads. Actually, some of these may be getting ahead of themselves as there are more program issues than ever before. The Pilot Course arrowheads have an asking price of $5,000 for the set of three. There could be a backlash as folks toss up their hands or it invites trouble with the potential for fakes and scams.
Sea Base ? Limited action
Region 7 and Region 10 ? Limited action
Maine Matagammon ? the McBryde estate had an extensive collection and vast quantities of dupes that will fill many collectors in as they get distributed.Region patches
Original 12 ? Up from prior years. There?s increasing interest in regional event patches.
Old 6 ? Solid, more than expected
Current 4 ? Not much history yet
Surprise areas for us: Trails End patches, Quality Unit badges, and patrol flags related to Woodbadge patrols.
As always, have fun and enjoy this great hobby.