Since the 1970’s interest in collecting airborne and special operations insignia has skyrocketed. Gone are the days when para wing collectors were viewed as being ‘less serious’ than others. These days, collectors are prepared to pay ‘big money’ for some items and this has fueled a huge industry in fakes and fantasy pieces.
For many novice collectors, the internet and its many forums are the primary sources of information. But unfortunately for some, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and many of the collector groups, particularly those on Facebook are filled with inaccurate, unverified and sometimes deliberately misleading information. Often these groups become echo chambers where false information is simply cut, pasted and repeated across several threads until after a while it becomes accepted as ‘fact’.
When I was starting out, two of the best pieces of advice that I was given were, ‘buy the item, not the story’ and ‘invest in good research books, they will save you money in the long run’. Both still hold true a good, well researched books written by credible researchers who are expert in their field are worth their weight in gold.
With that in mind, here are some of the books that I have found useful when researching and cataloging my collection. Some are featured in my blog where you can see photographs of the content to get an idea of what they contain. Several of my most useful references, particularly those relating to French Indochina are not available in English, but this should not be a deterrent. I overcome the language barriers using online translators for the relevant parts and the information gleaned has often been invaluable. Unfortunately, many of these books are now out of print but try AbeBooks if you are trying to find a copy.
Click on the section below to take you to the books that I find useful
The Indochina Wars (Coming soon)
Aviation Insignia (Coming soon)
British & Commonwealth Insignia (Coming soon)
Naval & Marine Insignia (Coming soon)
France & French Colonial Insignia (Coming soon)
Other Insignia References (Coming soon)