The Robbins Company enjoyed a 58 year string of manufacturing the Eagle Scout Badge and produced at least 5 distinct versions and many sub-types. The Robbins 1’s are the most confusing to the uninitiated. The variations are of acute interest to advanced collectors. Let’s wade into this topic. The different subtypes are as follows:
Identification: Just like the Foley and Dieges & Clust pendants the back of the pendant has a crude engraving with indistinct lines. The knot is a loop appearing like a noose. From the front the badge looks almost identical to the other Robbins except that the ring on the Eagles head clearly goes behind the back of the head. All other Robbins have the ring on the top of the Eagle. The clasp is the largest spinlock Robbins would put on their Eagles. See comparisons below. There is no other special Robbins hallmark.
Availability: Extremely scarce. Highly sought after. There are perhaps 13 known to be in collections making it among the most rare Eagle Badges. No serious collection is complete without this tough to find example.
Identification: BSA on the chest, beak is closed. Where the tail feathers meet the wings in the middle of the back you can find a ‘^’ shaped notch. The back is also much more detailed than any previous medal. ‘STERLING’ is stamped on the back of the scroll in various locations. Compare the ring on top of the eagles head with the Robbins 0.
The spinlock clasp can be either large or small. The pendant has a wingspan of up to 30 millimeters and is 27 mm from top of head to bottom of tail feathers. The earliest Rob1a's have ribbons with rich deep colors and are not lustrous like the 1b-1d's.
Availability: Somewhat scarce. Actively sought after. Versions with the earlier large clasp types are even more difficult to find than the small clasp type.
Identification: The pendant is only 27mm-28mm from wingtip to wingtip and is 25mm from the top of the head to the bottom of the tail feathers. ’BSA’ on the chest, the beak is closed, there is the distinctive ’^’ notch on the back like the Rob 1a. The engraving and workmanship on the pendant is not as well developed compared to the other Rob1’s.
Availability: Rare, tough to find. Actively sought after.
For Sale: Rob1b in very good condtion. SOLD
Identification: The quick identification is that the Eagles beak is clearly open and the back has the notched ’^’ at the tail feathers. BSA on the chest. 28-30mm wingspan. Sometimes the scroll may have small extensions protruding out from either side under the words ’BE PREPARED’.
Availability: Somewhat scarce. Actively sought after.
Identification: The quick identification is the open mouth of the eagle but the ’^’ notch is missing. Instead, the line is straight across where the back meets the tail feathers. The scroll may or may not have the small protrusions. The Robbins 1d would be the end of the 10 year run of the Rob1 types. This would be the badge of General William C. Westmoreland.
Great improvements to the design were about to follow.
Availability: Somewhat scarce. Actively sought after.
For sale: Robbins 1d with bronze palm in a green coffin box in excellent condition is available and for sale. SOLD
Identification: BSA on the chest. The beak is closed. Extra fine detailing of all features. Knuckles on the talons are clearly visible. Besides the fine engraving on the back the Rob2a also has a distinctive ’V’ shaped back. Most examples of the 2a seem to have a special ’jeweler’s ring’ holding the pendant to the ribbon. This ring is spring loaded with a small catch on it that allows the removal of the pendant from the ribbon. Some examples have the usual two-ring system.
Availability: Rare, highly prized and actively sought after.
For sale: We have Rob2a's available for purchase from time to time. Inquire for availability.
Identification: The Rob2b is identical to the Rob2a except the back lost its fine engraving with its distinctive ‘V’ back. There are some examples of the Rob2b with the jewelers ring although most seem to have the traditional two-ring system. There are two types of ribbons associated with the Rob2b. The first is the more lustrous silk type shown. The second type does not have this kind of visual depth.
Availability: Scarce. Actively sought after and prized.
For Sale: We occasionally have examples of a Rob2b available for purchase. Please inquire.
Identification: No BSA on the chest. The back of the pendant is ‘full feathered’ and is identical to the Rob2b. Although there are no subtypes to this award there would be several changes to the ribbon types. There is a ‘tufted’ type ribbon that is very attractive. The Robbins 3 can be somewhat dated as ‘Early, Mid and Late’ versions based on the ribbon type. Note that the fine engraving is gone at this time never to return. The ‘tufted’ ribbon kind is the most attractive with a rose, white and sea blue ribbon. The earlier ribbon version is shown here.
Availability: Fairly common. Readily found.
For Sale: We have a Robbins 3 available for purchase. It is in used good condition.
Identification: The Robbins 4, like the Rob3 has no BSA on the chest. This time the back was made flat for engraving. Some Scouts had their names or award date added but by in large the practice never caught on. The Robbins 4 was made in only this type. It was virtually indistinguishable from the Robbins 3 on the front. The Robbins 4 ribbons were of deep hue colors and bright silver finishes. You will typically find one of a various amount of hallmarks on the backside of the tail feathers. Some people find the different hallmarks collectible.
During this time the national BSA office contracted with the Stange Company to manufacture an Eagle medal simultaneously with the Robbins Company. See the Stange page for more information.
Availability: Among the most common types. Readily found.
For Sale: We usually have a Rob 4 available, generally in the $190 - $210 range. Reply to this site for availability.
Identification: The ‘full feathered back’ and BSA return with the Rob 5. The back is identical to the Robbins 2b and 3. The back also usually carries a Robbins company hallmark with the ‘r’ and ‘STER’ found stamped vertically on the back of the tail feathers. However there have been examples of the Rob5 found that have no hallmark stamped on the tail feathers.
Availability: Among the more common types.
For Sale: We currently have a Robbins 5 in grey domed presentation box available for purchase at $175.00. Please inquire.
Adults could earn the Eagle Badge! This is a rare example of an Eagle Medal (right) with a single drop ribbon. Awards similar to this were given to adults who qualified for the Eagle Badge. It was possible for an adult to earn the badge into the 1960’s when the national office finally changed the requirements.
For Sale: We occasionally come upon an adult award and make available for purchase. Please inquire regarding interest. CLICK HERE to inquire.
Military School Issue: Boys attending military schools were authorized to wear their Eagle Badge (left) with a specially provided ribbon so they would not stand out against their other medals. There is not much information recorded about this practice but there are some rare examples available of this interesting type.
Girlfriends of scouts were often the recipient of the boys’ eagle pendant as a token of affection. Many times an Eagle Badge (ribbon and scroll intact) is found in its presentation box while the sterling silver eagle now rests in the jewelry case of a long ended ’crush’ from years past. The image (right) shows either a very rare Rob 0 or a Rob 1a with missing pendant in a rare grey coffin box.
The ’STERLING’ mark can be found somewhere on the back of the scroll, usually in this location next to the pin. In some rare cases the mark is not present.
Clasp Types: Large clasps (right) are usually found on the Rob 0 and some Rob 1a’s. The small clasp (far right) is by far the most common on all Robbins medals.
Open Beaks: Eagle beaks may be open or closed. Open beaks can be found on the Rob1c & 1d varieties. You can slip a piece of thin paper into the beak.
Notches on the back: The Robbins 1a, b & c medals had a distinctive ’^’ shaped notch (far right) where the back met the tail feathers while the Rob1d’s back had a straight line across the back (near right).
Scroll Protrusions: Small protrusions on the bottom of the scroll (left) appear on some of the edges of the Robbins 1c and 1d. Most Rob 1 types have no protrusions.
Eagle Knot: Sometime in 1947 scouts were issued a small embroidered patch of red-white-blue indicating the award of the Eagle Badge. The medal was intended for special occasions. The new knot system of awards took the place of military style ribbons issued earlier. These knots were mostly worn by adults in place of the pocket patch of the youth.
Other knots were available for the highest adult and scout awards.