Unique USAS Military Aeronaut Wing of WWI Balloon Pilot Captain Ira L Koenig ex Campbell Collection

Unique USAS Military Aeronaut Wing of WWI Balloon Pilot Captain Ira L Koenig ex Campbell Collection

Code: afw10023ilk

SOLD!!! No Longer Available!

Product Description


HAPPY HOLIDAYS from The FLYING TIGER Antiques & Vintage Historical Artifacts!!!

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 29TH 2023: Thank YOU ALL for the Holiday Orders!!!

We Hope that all the LUCKY Recipients of these GREAT GIFTS will Just LOVE Them!!

So, NOW is the TIME to ORDER that wonderful ARTIFACT that you've had your eye on, Or that you are buying for that SPECIAL SOMEONE, as it will SHIP within 24 to 48 Hours of Receipt of Payment, but USUALLY Same Day!!

Just an FYI: Kanae is in JAPAN through December 7th, so I am doing the best I can with shipping!!

And I hope to start LISTING in a day or 2, probably mostly PATCHES until Kanae returns!!

Happy Holidays & Happy Collecting, Ron & Kanae


Well, this one brings back memories. I purchased this wing at the Duncan Campbell Collection Sale in 2009 for Putnam Green. 

It is a unique wing, even among the extremely rare examples of WWI Military Aeronaut / Balloon Pilot Wings, because this one was commissioned by the original wearer, Captain Ira L. Koenig, to be made in a metal, what we call Dallas Style, Wing, to mimic the Bullion Issue Wing he had worn in WWI. 

Pictured as Wing # 37 in Campbell's Aviation Badges And Insignia of the UNITED STATES ARMY 1913-1946 on page 19, The write-up on page 20 reads:

While stationed in Hawaii, Capt. Ira L. Koenig went to a Honolulu jeweler in 1920, and had his aeronaut's wing badge copied in silver, using his embroidered badge as a model. The badge is unique, having been made entirely by hand without dies or casting. The badge, Number 37, includes the letters US that were not removed from the design until 1921.

I do need to slightly disagree with Duncan here, as he justifies the retention of the US: while purportedly made in 1920, this wing has NO stylistic relation to the 1919 pattern Military Aeronaut Wing, and it was clearly commissioned by Captain Koenig to show that he had unquestionably been a Balloon Pilot in the Great War. 

The Wing Badge is truly a work of art. It appears that the jeweler hand carved, formed, and engraved the wings from heavy gauge sheet silver. The Balloon is formed from sheet silver, with the envelope possibly being repousse work, and then multiple strands of twisted wire were used to complete the Suspension Lines and Basket. 

The three piece wing is attached to a brass plate which s covered in blue-black woven wool, and has a horizontal pin on back with a drop in locking catch. 

A unique and well-documented historic piece of US Military Aviation History. 

VINTAGE: World War I.

SIZE: Approximately 7/8" in height x 3-1/4" in width.

MATERIALS / CONSTRUCTION: The three-piece silver wing is attached to a brass plate which s covered in blue-black woven wool. 14K Gold on the center.

ATTACHMENT: Horizontal pin on back with a drop in locking catch.


ITEM NOTES: This is from a United States Army Air Forces collection which we will be listing more of over the next few months. ZFJJJK22 LAFIGEX08/28/23 SAEJJJX12/23

CONDITION: 9- (Excellent+) Overall wing is in exceptional condition, we are not marking it  NEAR MINT because of wear-through to the woven wool backing at the tips and bottom center. But the condition here will not disappoint. 

GUARANTEE: As with all my artifacts, this piece is guaranteed to be original, as described.