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Wanted: Hunting & Fishing License Badges

If you have any licenses to sell, or other Hunting & Fishing pins. Click Here to e-mail me.

(click on any picture to enlarge)

Below are a few badges from my collection, as well as information on fake licenses and more.

North Carolina  1937 Fishing License badge.

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Perhaps my favorite license badge. Shaped like a Bluegill. Very hard to find 1 3/4 inch:

1936 Mississippi State Hunting License

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1 3/4 inch, pocket for paper license in back. Rare.


1938-39 Mississippi Resident Family Fishing

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1 3/4 inches, with the paper in back. First one I have seen.


1938 South Carolina Fishing

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All South Carolina Badges are hard to find. 1 3/4 inch.

1935 South Carolina Richland County Hunting

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All South Carolina Badges are hard to find. 1 3/4 inch.

1929 Michigan Small Game, 1930 Michigan Deer

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Hard to find in good shape.1 3/4 inch.

1935 NY Alien Fishing License

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Conclusive proof of extraterrestrial life? Actually it was for non-US citizens. Only 692 of these were issued. 1 3/4 inch. 

Rhode Island Commercial Lobster License

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Not in the best of shape, but a rare license. 1 3/4 inches.

Rhode Island Inland Fisheries License

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License No. 241. Nickel plated brass. Made by Henry A. Evers Co. Providence, RI. 2 inches tall. No idea of the year, but early. Not sure if commercial or sport. 

New Jersey Clamming Licenses

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1962 and 1963, 1 3/4 inches, celluloid on metal. 


Connecticut 1935 Fishing License

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Connecticut badges are harder to find than some easier northern state badges. 1 3/4 inches. 

Territory of Hawaii Night Angling 1946-47

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All Hawaii badges are hard to find. 1 3/4 inch.


Early North Carolina Game Warden's Badge

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I also collect Fish & Game Warden Badges. 


New York Special Game Protector Badge

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Sterling silver, 2 3/8 inches. Badge #3


Early Pennsylvania Board of Fish Commissioners

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Not sure if this was an employee or a commissioner.


Maine Warden Badge

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Maine Forest Service. Made of bronze, and copper plated. Early. 1 3/8 x 1 1/2 inches. 

Ohio Launch Permit

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1946, Ohio Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Probably so you could launch a boat in certain lakes. 2 inches, brass. 


1945 Illinois Dip Net License

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 Aluminum 1 3/8 x 1 7/8 inches.


1945-46 Nation Wide Wolf Tag

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I had thought these were issued to hunt or trap wolf  for military cold weather clothes during WW II. I have since been told they were a joke during WW II for service men who were known skirt chasers, or wolves. a license to wolf whistle? Composition 1 1/2 inch.


Ohio Protector Badge

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Copper? 2 1/2 inches. Fish and Game, Protector, State of Ohio badge #50.  Early badge. Date? If you know, please contact me. 



The hobby of collecting Hunting and Fishing licenses has become more and more popular. There are still very few dedicated collectors, but many hunting and fishing tackle collectors will add a few to add color to their collections. Many states issued license badges. This began in the teens with New York, but was adopted by other states in the 1920s. Badges from New York and Pennsylvania are relatively common and inexpensive. Badges from other states vary in scarcity, but southern badges are among the most popular. Most states stopped using badges in the 1930s-1940s. Pennsylvania continued using them till 1975. Many collectors also collect paper licenses, but the badges tend to have more value. Some hunting and fishing clubs also produced badges for their members, and these are collectible also, though they are usually inexpensive. If you have any badges you would like to sell, or would just like some more information on badges, please contact me below.

Fake Badges

Well some sad news for license collectors. I had heard there were fake license badges out there, and have been able to confirm it, and purchase some of the fake badges to show. 

Fake Florida 1927-1928 Fishing Badge

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Florida F.A.T.C Repro Badge

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1927-1928 Florida State Resident Fishing License Badge. I have seen at least 6 of these on eBay, and have also seen a few being offered by dealers. So far every one of them has had the same number on it, 3357. As you can see someone has artificially aged it, even added a few stains to the front.  This particular badge was being offered on eBay. The seller did not know it was a fake, and once I provided her pictures of other badges with the same number,  she cancelled the auction. I have the badge in my possession now, and taking a look at it, it is printed off-center, and there is a yellow and purple stain on the right that looks like it is reproduced in the photo that was used to make the badge. The printing is very fuzzy.  You can see a distinct dot pattern from the printing. What they have done is take an old back off some other badge, and used that to make the repro look old. I am not sure if the rust staining on the front and edges was reproduced from the photo, or was done by exposing the badge to water. I can see this badge fooling a new collector, or even an experienced collector if they bought it without having it in their hand, or if they did not look at it carefully 1 3/4 inches. Recently some 2 1/4 inch fakes have shown up. The second badge is a repro commemorative badge made, and marked, for the Florida Antique Tackle Club. I have seen the FATC badges being sold as old, also. 

Fake North Carolina Badge

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Fake North Carolina Badge

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Real North Carolina Badge

The badge, above left, came from the Bob Timberlake Gallery in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Cost was $2.95. It isn't a full reproduction, as you can see it is a repro of the 1938 badge, but they changed the date to 1937 (someone told me Timberlake was born in 1937), and they reversed the colors of the black and silver, the pin on the back is different, the new badge is constructed out of cheaper metal, the old badge is nickel plate on brass, and the old badge is concave. New badge is flat. Even with these differences I will bet some folks will be selling the new badge as old, and probably some will be replacing the new style pin, and dirtying the badge up a bit to make it look old. The new badge is made in China. I have seen eight other fake North Carolina badges have been reproduced,  The first fake badge  was a 1939 County Hunting badge,  a very poor fake done on a modern badge machine, with poor photocopying 1 3/4 inch. The other 7 were 2 1/4 inch fakes on eBay. From the pictures they looked like they might be hard to tell . 

Fake 1927 New York Non-Resident Deer

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Fake 1939 New York Resident Special Deer

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Fake California Junior  Hunting badge

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Fake Hunting, Fishing, Gun and Powder Badges

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The badges above were bought on eBay October 3, 2003, they were sold as reproductions. 1 3/4 inches each. New backs, blurred printing, probably photocopies. A poor reproduction, but rough them up a bit, rust the backs, and etc. and  could fool new collectors, or they  could fool people over the internet with a small or poor picture. With these were also some of the  fake #3357 Florida badges as shown above, but with new backs.  The company making these badges is also making other fake badges, golf, shooting, gun company, and etc. They are also making 2 1/4 inch fakes.. I marked Repro on the back of each with indelible ink. 

Fake 1935 Michigan Resident Trout License

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The dealer had it tagged as a reproduction, and this one is fairly easy to tell. First it is larger than normal at 2 1/16 inches. I think it was done on one of the badge a minute machines. Has a light weight metal back, lightweight pin. there is some crumpling on the edges where the paper from the print is gathered. The printing is quite good, but does have the characteristic dot patterns of modern printing. After posting this, someone e-mailed me and told me that " all fakes of the Michigan 1935 license badge have the same number 112443. In fact, Michigan never issued a 1935 Resident Trout license badge".

The last few months I have been seeing many fake badges for sale on eBay. Some are 1 3/4 inch fakes, some  aged to look old and fool collectors. Some are 2 1/4 inch reproductions. I have seen New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, California, Mississippi, and others. Some sellers are selling them as old, some are selling them as reproductions. One of the problems is that even the sellers that are being honest are selling badges that are not plainly marked as reproductions. Unscrupulous sellers are buying these badges on eBay and then selling them as old, original badges. The quality of these fakes vary from good quality fakes that might fool a collector, to very poor fakes that are unlikely to fool anyone with a personal inspection of the badge. The problem is that all a person has to go by on eBay is a small picture, the description, and the experience and honesty of the seller. Know your seller. If you have any doubts ask questions. Ask if they will stand behind the age and authenticity of the badge, and offer a money back guarantee. . 

 Someone also e-mailed me about Minnesota badges: "Minnesota only issued one license badge or button, which is a 1927 Minnesota Non-Resident Fishing License Button. All repros I have seen have the same number 79580, and have been "aged" to look old. They are done very well."

A couple of thoughts on how to tell fakes from old badges.

Look at the back, then look at the edge of the badge , the fakes I have seen do not reproduce the edge markings many badges have. Sometimes it is the makerís name who produced the original badges, sometimes they have a union seal. But not all old badges had edge markings. Then take a loupe, or strong magnifying glass, look at an original badge, then look at one of the fakes, the print done on original badges is usually pretty sharp. The print on new badges is made up of many dots of color. You can tell the difference with a good magnifier.
With the magnifier look for signs of honest wear, scratches, tiny cracks in the celluloid, cracks in edges, rust on back, honest stains caused by the rust. Even the nicest ,old, badges show some signs of honest age or wear.
Look at any stains on the badge, see if the stains correspond to rust on the back of the badge. Some of the reproductions show printed staining that is not actually present.
Many old badges had pockets in the back for a paper license. If the paper license matches the badge number, and shows honest wear, and you considered what I said above, it probably is an old badge.
When buying badges, especially rare ones, I would recommend you see the badge in person before you pay for it. Be wary of dark, or fuzzy images. I had someone offer me some badges, the pictures were poor (probably on purpose), luckily before I bought them, I did a little research, and found badges with the same badge number on eBay, telling me they were part of the fakes. I think they guy trying to sell the badges to me either knowingly bought the fakes, or got stuck with them and tried to pass them off on me.  

I see early Nevada and California hunting licenses stamped into metal tags. I have always questioned the authenticity of these tags because I see different shapes and metals used for the same stamp. But I cannot confirm whether they are reproductions or not. If anyone has information, please let me know. 

There are reproduction Game Warden badges out there, so be careful. 

Fake? Alberta Game Guardian Badge

This could possibly be an actual old badge, and I bought it as such, but the seller had an identical badge for sale the very next week, and I have since seen several others like it at antique malls,  flea markets, and one on eBay. 

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Heavy, well made, nickel plated brass, heavy duty pin. Marked on the back "Jackson Bros. Edmonton". 1 3/4 by 1 7/8 inches. If someone has more information on this badge, it would be appreciated. 

Some books on collecting antique hunting & fishing licenses:

Ohio Hunting & Fishing Licenses A Collector's Guide

by Kenneth R. Rohal , available from the author. 

Kenneth R, Rohal    
2820 E. Steiner Rd.
Creston, OH 44217

Maryland's Conservation Laws, Licenses, and Enforcement Officers

by: Paul M. Hanyok

Streamside Catalog of Fish & Game Stamps - 2006 edition by Jan R. Wooten


Usually available on eBay as the author sells there. 


Colorado Fishing & Hunting Licenses

Joe Edson
316 Stanford St
Brush, Co  80723


California Pictorial Hunting & Fishing Licenses
Handbook & Valuation guide.

Michigan Fish & Game Badges & Club Licenses 
Handbook & Valuation guide.

By: Ira W. Cotton: Available from:

PaperQuest Press
Division of Cottonsoft, Inc.
9939 Broadmoor Road
Omaha, NE 68114

I understand there is a book in the works on Carolina, and maybe other Southern Badges. When I get more information I will post it here. 


The three books below are out of print, but you may locate a copy from a used book dealer or on Ebay. Even if you have to pay well over the cover price the info in them is worth it. 

A Guide To Collecting Hunting & Fishing Licenses of New York State  by David Hunt 1995. 

A Guide To Collecting Hunting & Fishing Licenses Pennsylvania by Robert Miller 1992.

Some History of Michigan Hunting & Fishing and their Licenses by Ed Dunifon 1993.

Michigan Hunting & Fishing License Collector's Club

For folks interested in collecting hunting & fishing licenses, Michigan, and other states. 

To visit one of our other pages, click on one of the links below:

Drexel Grapevine Antiques Sales Pages Information on Antique Fishing tackle
Drexel Grapevine Antiques Home Page Old Fishing and Hunting License and Club Button Sales Page
Antique Fishing Tackle Sales Pages Hunting & Fishing Memorabilia
North Carolina Hunting & Fishing License Badges Field & Stream Award Badge Information
Hunting and Fishing Badges, Pins, Medals, and etc What is it?: Items we are researching.

I collect, sell, and trade fishing & hunting license badges and other hunting and fishing related pins. If you have any badges to sell or trade, please e-mail me at the address below. I am primarily interested in southern licenses, but will consider other badges. 

Southern hunting & fishing license badges

If you have any badges to sell, or just want some information:

 Click Here to e-mail

Telephone: (828)-437-5938 10-4 Closed Weds. and Sun.  EST

North Carolina Hunting & Fishing License Badges

I also collect other hunting and fishing badges, pins, and etc. You can see some examples on the pages below:

Field & Stream Award Badge Information

Hunting and Fishing Badges, Pins, Medals, and etc

Hunting & Fishing Memorabilia

The badges shown on this page are not for sale, but I do have fishing & hunting  badges for sale or trade on the following pages:

Old Fishing and Hunting License and Club Button Sales Page

Every badge I sell is an authentic, old, badge, unless noted otherwise. I guarantee such, and if you have doubts, you are welcome to return the item for a refund. Make sure any dealer will stand behind what he sells.

Text and Images Copyrights 1997-2012 Drexel Grapevine Antiques ©Grapes

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