Counterfeit Badge

Obverse Design

Top has perched eagle, wings spread, head ducked down and facing to our left. This eagle has the wings swept down below the feet. The center of the shield has a circle with a perched eagle, head looking to our right.

Above the circle are two banners. The top banner curves up at the center and has tails trailing up from either end. This banner has the word "POLICE". Below this banner is another. Its center also curves up but the tails curve downward and curl up inward like a scroll. This banner says "PANAMA RAILROAD". There is a third banner under the circle. The center of this banner curves down with the ends up. The tails at either side tuck underneath and curve downward. The banner reads "U.S. CANAL ZONE". Below this banner is a smooth area for the badge number. It is an upward curved rectange with indentations on either side. The example above is badge number "12". All lettering is incuse and the banners have smooth surfaces. The shield overall has a textured background and a raised ridge as the edge.

Reverse Design Vertical pin back. Hallmark says "Blackinton" which is the hallmark of V.H. Blackinton & Co., Inc. of Attleboro Falls, Maine.
Metal Most likely nickel-plated brass. Size and Shape About 58 mm wide by 76 mm high (2 5/16 inches by 3 inches).
Numbers Issued Pieces include #12.
Source King Collection and Frank Norman.
Varieties None known.

I am told that these are fakes that have been floating around the hobby for at least 20 years. Allegedly they were ordered by a Chicago dealer and were manufactured by C. H. Hanson. Also, some allegedly were made by Meyer & Wenthe. I am also not certain that the "Panama Railroad Police" existed as an entity; the Canal Zone Police most likely had this responsibility. I would appreciate e-mail from anyone who can add anything to the history of these badges.

Population Count Known specimens are as follows:
  1. King Specimen, Badge #12 - Pictured above.
  2. Norman Specimen, badge number unknown.

Signature from Reverse Side of Badge
Signature from Reverse Side of Badge

Passenger Train at the Panama City Station 1927
Passenger Train at the Panama City Station 1927