Naval Sea Pilot Badge, by H. Schaper (in brass gilt)


SKU: 03.GEM.0105.101.01.001

Estimated market value:

$2,000 USD

  • Naval Sea Pilot Badge, by H. Schaper (in brass gilt) Obverse
  • Naval Sea Pilot Badge, by H. Schaper (in brass gilt) Reverse
  • Naval Sea Pilot Badge, by H. Schaper (in brass gilt) Obverse

Estimated market value:

$2,000 USD


  • Country
  • Composition
    Brass gilt
  • Size
  • Version Remarks
    This version is made of gilded brass.

Physical Description and Item Details

In gilded brass, 45.8mm x 72.85mm, weighs 41.6 grams, unmarked but textbook badge by maker "H. Schaper", Type II, pin on reverse missing, otherwise in very fine condition. (Illustrated on page 401, Carsten Baldes "Aircrew Badges and Honor Prizes of the Flying Troops")


An air force branch under control of the German Navy was formed by decree of Emperor Wilhelm II on June 1, 1913. Its tasks were mainly reconnaissance-related and confined to the North Sea and Baltic areas. Some naval air force support was granted to the Ottoman allies, namely in the Black Sea area, including the Dardanelles. This does not mean, however, that they weren’t involved in combat with enemy planes and ships. About half of all naval airplanes were destroyed or damaged beyond repair during the war.
Naval air force personnel numbers have been given at just over 16,000, with just over 2,000 of them trained pilots and observers.

The Naval Sea Pilot Badge was approved by Emperor Wilhelm II on May 31 and instituted on June 6, 1913.
It was initially made of silver gilt and worn in the centre of the left breast. The badge was awarded to any person, no matter the rank, who passed their naval pilot exams.

The badge had to be returned once the pilot retired or was no longer deemed capable to fulfill pilot duties due to lack of training. It could be kept, however, if the wearer was forced to retire due to injuries sustained during active service.

Just like the regular Pilot Badge of the air force, the Naval Sea Pilot Badge features a wreath made from laurel on the left and oak leaves on the right, with a bow at the bottom and an Imperial crown at the top. The difference is in the centre, which features an eagle flying to the viewer’s left, below it the cliffs of the island of Helgoland and above the sun.

Badges measure approximately 45mm in width and 72mm in height. They weigh between 25 and 55g. The large variation is due to different materials and designs being used.

Early silver gilt badges between 1913 and 1916 were likely only produced by maker Hugo Schaper, whereas post-1916 badges were made by multiple makers. These badges, due to the shortages of the war, were no longer made in silver gilt but brass gilt instead.

On the reverse, silver Schaper badges feature a crown and crescent moon stamp on the left and “800” for the silver content on the right, although on some badges this is switched. They also often feature “H. Schaper” stamped onto the pin.
Post-1916 pieces by Schaper made of brass only feature the maker mark on the pin if they feature any marks.
The early Schaper badges were awarded in a case.

Some badges were produced in a reduced size, the so-called “Prinzen” size. These generally measure 30x48mm.

Due to the low numbers of naval pilots and naval pilot badge awardings, this badge is only rarely encountered today.


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