- Reproduction Indianapolis Motor Speedway Badges -

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Several club members have asked about reproduction or FAKE pit badges.
Badges are faked for two reasons: Money & illegal access to the pits. Badges from the 1930's and into the early part of the 1950's are worth considerably more than they were in the past so the temptation to fake them for profit has grown. Another reason these were faked was to fool the pit guards. The guards were looking for something that looked right and from 3 feet away, if it looked right, theyíd let you pass. So, detail wasnít too critical. The guards check a lot closer than they used to so getting past with a fake is much more difficult today.

The most prolific year reproduced badge is 1950. To date, the numbers: 1 through 19 + 21, 22, 23 and 410 for 1950 reproductions have been accounted for with #410 being one of the more common numbers reproduced. Reproduction 1950 badges are also known to have no number or are blank as shown below in the first picture.

The quickest way to tell originals from a repro is STERLING is normally stamped on the back of reproductions where as an original 1950 will have the Bastian Bros. marks. Some reproductions do have the Bastian Bros. marks or those that look similar to them but again they lack detail, are blurred etc.. The Speedway, to our knowledge, NEVER issued a sterling pit badge. There are gold plated badges for numbers 1 through 50 in 1947 and 1948, but those are the only two years where a difference in badge production has been noted to date with the exception of the bronze NATO badge in 1971. (Please refer to the page on Pit Badges for more info.)

The pins and clasp on the back are usually NOT the heavy pin and clasp of an original as well. Reproductions may look like a silver from the front at first glance, but when placed next to an original, the coloration is usually too bright and shiny and lacking in detail with the repros appearing very worn with the lettering merging into the grill of the car. The picture below, taken from a 1948 program, was used as the template for the 1950 badge and depicts three time winner Mauri Rose looking around the windshield of his winning Blue Crown Spl..

The badge number itself is not the deep, heavily stamped type you see on originals either. It is usually a thin number that may have been lightly stamped and sometimes is not centered properly. Every one we've seen has no colorization to the numbers as an original does. When seen from the side, 1950 repros are generally thinner than an original which is probably due to the way they were reproduced.


The #4 badge was made so poorly that there is a hole in the drivers head.


Other badges have been reproduced over the years as well such as the 1948, 1954 & 1955 shown below. While the front of the reproduction 1948 may show some of the detail of an original, it has an over all dull appearance in comparison. The back of the reproduction 1948 is heavily pitted, there is no indentation as on an original, there are no Bastian Brothers marks and there is no pin or clasp. The 1954 has a polished appearence and is bright compared to a real 1954. There are also modern day pin backs instead of the clasp and pin plus, there is a also a reproduction back up card. Note on the 1955 there are NO Bastian Bros. marks, the pin and clasp are incorrect, paint is missing from the numbers and the badge in general shows pitting.

Original 1948


Reproduction 1948



Original 1954


Reproduction 1954


Reproduction 1955

The 1964 badge shown below probabaly would've fooled a pit guard as it's been done fairly well, but next to the real badge, the flaws are obvious.

The 1988 bronze and silver reproduction badges below are well made and the silver may have fooled a gaurd, but next to originals, they are obvious fakes. Note there are no pins on the backs of either fake.


Reproductions


Originals


1938 through 1946 badges were reproduced a few years ago. They were all made fairly well but are all a bronze/copper type metal with no coloration to the numbers and have no pins to the back.


Reproductions


Originals


They are easy to tell apart from originals. A good rule of thumb for fakes or reproductions is that generally, reproductions lack detail and are poorly made.

They're bound to be other fakes out there besides what's been shown here so if you have one or suspect you do, e-mail NI500CC@NI500CC.COM and let us know and weíll add it to the list of known reproductions.

Back-Up Cards have also been faked. The thin cardboard ones from the 70's-80ís in the shape of Indiana are tough to tell. Printing quality is and was that good. I would bet a few of you have repro BUCís in your collection and donít even know it. 1947 through 1970 BUC's have been reproduced but they are easy to tell from originals. They just arenít made like an original, and again, look for detail.


Original

Reproduction

Even the laminated type BUCís from 1988 and up have been faked as well. Below are the reproduction and real 1991 BUC's. The #262 is the reproduction - they're that good although the #262 is a little fuzzy.

So, in conclusion, reproduction memorabilia is out there. Be aware and use common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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1938-1946 1947-1949 1950-1959 1960-1969
1970-1979 1980-1989 1990-Present Back Up Cards

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* This information is to the best of our knowledge. If anyone has more information, please contact: NI500CC@NI500CC.COM or dar500@indy.rr.com