Aug 2, 2008

Is it an issue, a variation, a fake, or a mistake?

There is an auction for a flap from Wahunsenakah Lodge on eBay right now that would puzzle most collectors not closely familiar with the patches from this Lodge. The patch up for bid is a lodge flap that was issued for the 1998 SR-7A conclave, and if you look in the Blue Book you'd see that that issue is classified as the S-8. values the S-8 between $2.69 and $14.89 with an average value of $7.16. Even though the flap is ten years old it's considered a fairly common item and an easy find for your collection if you need it. So why is this auction showing a current high bid of over $100 with over 4 days left to go?

A comparison of the flap picture in the auction and the picture at or at would show one very small, but significant difference. The FDL (fleur d'lis) that is embroidered into the patch up for auction is black. The one in the picture from and is light green, so that the FDL is "ghosted" into the background:

I'm not sure how many of the S-8 flaps with black FDL's exist, nor how they came to be in circulation. More than a few OA flaps have been duplicated by Asian patchmakers and sold on eBay but this hardly appears to be the case here. The most obvious explanation would be a manufacturer's error.

I am fortunate to have one of these in my own Wahunsenakah collection, but it was sheer luck and not because I sought it. I always considered it just an error item.

Some would argue that this flap should be listed in the Blue Book as a variation, e.g. S-8b. I am not sure that I can agree with that since I don't know the history of the flap.

If the Lodge received some flaps with black FDL's and sent them back to the manufacturer as misprints and received credit or replacements with green FDL's they probably never intended the black FDL versions to reach the public. Similarly they may have been samples that the Lodge returned with a revision request to the manufacturer, and somehow the samples got out. Are they still an "official" Lodge 333 issue?

Regardless, it appears that for collectors who seek one of every Wahunsenakah Lodge flap this has already become a highly sought after patch. If you have information about the history or scarcity of it, please share it with me!

1 comment:

  1. This patch ended up selling for $425.00. I'll bet the seller thought it was a five dollar patch and is still trying to figure out how he happened into this windfall.

    One theory that was shared with me about the origin of the patch is that it was a "counting patch" used by the manufacturer to indicate every 50 or so patches.

    Since Wahunsenakah usually orders around 1,000 flaps for the Section conclave that would mean that if this theory is correct there are only 20 of these patches in existence.