Jul 23, 2005

More clues about the 463 S4.5, aka QS1

In 1976, to celebrate their 25th anniversary, Kecoughtan Lodge issued a special version of their Lodge flap with a white background and black border. This was the first significant change in the flap design since the original S1 was issued in 1953. S2 only added a rolled edge, and S3 (popularly called the "stubby" among 463 collectors) was just a longer version of the same classic design (you can review all Kecoughtan flaps on this page).

Twenty three years of the same design is a long time, but as I recall from my days as a Kecoughtan officer in the early 70's few adults were eager to approve changes. Patch collecting was viewed by many professionals as distracting to the real purpose of the OA, and several of the Lodges in the old Area III-C had only recently changed "one per life" restrictions on their lodge flap patches.

To this day some mystery surrounds one version of the white background Kecoughtan flap, first listed in the Blue Book Order of the Arrow Standard Insignia Guide as "QS1." The "Q" designation is supposed to indicate a patch that was rejected by the Lodge (presumably for concerns about quality or incorrect design) and returned to the manufacturer, but somehow released to collectors. "Q" issues are not considered fakes, but neither are they considered "official" issues of the Lodge.

The "QS1" version has a white background and white "W's" but no border around the acorns or confederate flags. Two other varieties of the white background flap exist: S4 has white "W's" with black stitching around the acorns and flags, and S5 has black W's with black stitching around the acorn and flags. In later versions of the Blue Book the "QS1" flap has been designed S4.5, which acknowledges the patch as an official issue of the Lodge, but it is still unclear in what order these three patches were released, and the story behind the changes remains elusive.

I don't recall the precise restriction on the anniversary flaps. I was in my freshman year of college but had retained my Lodge and Council membership through the College Scouter Reserve program, and I seem to remember that I was able to buy two of them.

Information provided to me by Dr. Ron Godby in March of 1996 shows a quantity of 220 ordered for the S4, 220 for the S5, with the "QS1" quantity unknown.

Within the past week I received email from two former Kecoughtan arrowmen who were active in the lodge when it celebrated it's anniversary in 1976 who commented on the history of this patch. Former Chief Morris Friedman says:

"I would agree with Sam Fairchild that this actually was an authorized issue. As I recall, one loom run was made and the flaps were sold, and then it was decided that they would look better with black outlining of the white W's, and then finally the W's were switched to black. All three issues were sold to lodge members as 25th Anniversary flaps."
I will continue to research the history behind this unique flap, which is considered by many to be the most sought after issue of Kecoughtan Lodge. In June, 2005 a 463 QS1/S4.5 sold on ebay for 270.00, and pricing information at The Internet Guide to OA Insignia shows this patch valued at nearly double the S4 and S5 issues.

1 comment:

  1. I came across an email to me from the late Ron Godby who provided this information about the S4.5 which he describes as the ZS4 which confirms Tim's story:

    Received: 7/16/96 11:39 PM
    From: Ron Godby
    To: Glenn Chase


    The ZS4 was ordered from Moritz Co., I believe. The lodge did not like the appearance of the flap and returned it to the company. The company then distributed it to cut their losses, I suppose. It showed up at a NOAC ! Flap was reorder from Lions Bros. and kept by lodge.