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A Very Misleading Wauwatosa Wisconsin Badge

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Pinbacks162 of 290"Chevy's" Restaurant PinbackLarge Pin-Back International
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Posted 4 years ago


(179 items)

There are times when the acquired knowledge of a long time collector can see through the obvious. Here is a badge that was listed as “a great gold colored badge for a Supervisor of the 4th Ward, City of Wauwatosa” which is exactly what is inscribed on the front of the badge in black enameled lettering. True the city of Wauwatosa was divided into wards but the wards were represented by aldermen and not supervisors, when this badge was issued. Wauwatosa is in Milwaukee County, which is divided into districts represented by supervisors forming the County Board of Supervisors. Wauwatosa’s 4th ward was one of those county districts. The shape and design of this badge is the standard Milwaukee County civilian official’s badge of the 1890’s. Even more interesting is that every badge of this type (that I have seen) is in 10k gold. These badges usually do not have gold content marks since they were made a decade before that was required by law.

So what we really have here is a Milwaukee County Supervisor’s badge.

This is also a private purchase type badge and as such the original owner or who ever purchased the badge for him, may have felt that the county affiliation was self evident at that time and therefore may have thought that the district name was more important than the county name.

This badge is 46 mm in diameter from point to point and the body of the badge is only ½ mm thick. The lack of enamel damage to this thin badge indicates that the original owner didn’t carry it in his wallet or at least never sat on it. The badge weighs 10.05 grams and has a specific gravity of 11.158 - 11.166 which indicates 9-10 karat gold depending on the alloy.


  1. Manikin Manikin, 4 years ago
    Very nice find ! We do have some great items here in Wi . My son just moved to a Old German Prison of war camp and is hoping to find something with a metal detector IF spring and summer come . His house was on the grounds and built for off duty workers . Lots of history here in Wi :-)
  2. Militarist Militarist, 4 years ago
    Thanks Manikin and best of luck to your son! I doubt he will find anything valuable since the POWs were pretty well striped of anything that would have had souvenir value long before they got here. He probably will find some buttons, belt buckle parts and broken tools which could prove interesting historically. If he finds any half oval zinc German dog tags he may be digging in a grave. Please keep us posted on what ever he finds.
  3. Stillwater Stillwater, 4 years ago
    How to you test the specific gravity of metals? I'd really like to know how to do that
  4. Stillwater Stillwater, 4 years ago
    Nevermind, I found it on YouTube
  5. Stillwater Stillwater, 4 years ago
    Do you use the method where you hang it into a glass of water on a string, sitting on a scale?
  6. SEAN68 SEAN68, 4 years ago
    Good old Milwaukee area!!!!
  7. Militarist Militarist, 4 years ago
    Yes Stillwater, I use an old Ohaus scale that was made for that with moveable arm to put the water container on. The balance arm has a second hook from which a wire loop holding a disc on which the item to be weighed rests while suspended in the distilled water. The scale is an old Ohaus 3100 dial a grain model. When using this I suspend the entire rig in the water without the item first, then record the weight which I then subtract from the weight of the item while suspended in the water. The wire and disc are aluminum by the way and came with the scale. The water should be distilled and room temperature. In the past I have used make shift suspensions made from paper clips but that can be dangerous especially for high grade coins and every thing should be dried off after use. Once the water has been used dump it or it will start growing mold. Good luck and have fun.
  8. Militarist Militarist, 4 years ago
    Yes Sean, some good memories for me down there. Thanks to everyone for all the "loves".
  9. SEAN68 SEAN68, 4 years ago
    Your very welcome Militarist!!! I have some good memories as well!! :)

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