GIGANTIC WESTERN FEDERATION OF MINERS ORNATE RIBBON BADGE FROM JAMESTOWN, CAL.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012 1:10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time
Auction #207 - Part I
Item numbers 1 through 1234 in auction 207
The Western Federation of Miners was a group of metal miners who organized in 1893 to struggle against the policies of the Mine Owner's Association. There were many violent protests which pitted the union members against the thugs employed by the mining companies. This incredible ribbon badge dates from around 1905, the year the W.F. of M became one of the unions forming the Industrial Workers of the World. It was part of the I.W.W. for only a few years before withdrawing although most of the militant men and their leading fighters such as Bill Haywood and St. John stayed in the I.W.W. and allowed the W.F. of M. to go its way without them. On this ribbon badge beneath the red ribbon is a paper label of the Philadelphia maker "John O'Callahan & Sons" although we suspect this was a jobber as the ribbon badge has every appearance of being made by W&H. Top of the piece has a black fabric loop where a pin would fasten. Below is a three layer rosette of thin fabric accented by a pair of brass tassels. Its center has a celluloid cover over the word "Member." There is a .5" vertical hairline crack in the celluloid but barely visible even in reflected light. Below a second metal rim and celluloid covers an insert bearing the initials "WFM" along with three pieces of mining equipment. This had a little dirt on it that may show in our photo but that is now removed. Moving downwards is another brass tassel flanked by a pair of separate fabric rippling American flags. At the very bottom is additional brass fringe and a fourth tassel. The reverse of the piece is finished in silver on black for funerals and reads at the center "In Memoriam" while above is a second "Member" celluloid. Tiniest traces of wear but in truly amazing condition given the fragile nature and age of this century old labor artifact.
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