Nov/Dec 2020 edition
Issue #13 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
John & Henri Boggs
Dedicated to our Medical workers
There was a time in this country when medical profession badges were proudly displayed on automobiles. These badges identified the automobile owner as a member of the medical community. Many factors have led to their demise, including automobile designs and the lack of an appropriate area to display the badges. Medical badges also disappeared due to liability issues. Medical professionals are now protected by the “Good Samaritan” law or act, but that was not always the case. By the time these laws were passed in the 1980s, badges had given way to window stickers if anything at all was displayed.
The badges featured in this article are a small sampling of the medical profession badges that were produced in the past and are by no means all inclusive. Many badges exist for other medical disciplines and offer the collector a wide range of badges in the medical field. We have included price ranges for the badges pictured, but how do you place a value on one’s health and well-being? Invaluable and priceless!
Thank you to all of the first responders and medical professionals that help and protect us during normal times and especially during this Coronavirus pandemic. They are on the front lines every day and deserve our heartfelt thanks and gratitude.
Stay Safe and Keep on Collecting!
John Boggs & Henri Boggs
To read more great columns like this one from car badge experts John & Henri Boggs...
American Motor League:
The first United States automobile organization was the American Motor League (AML). The AML was organized at a meeting in Chicago, Illinois November 1, 1895 at the Chicago School of Electricity on Dearborn Street. The organizations purpose was to promote legislation favorable to the rights of automobile owners, and the promotion of better roads. The club logo was a wheel with a wing attached to the hub and as of this writing, no large badge has been found. Due to the club’s short life, the club may have only issued a pin. While there was a lot of interest and support for the AML, there were other competing organizations being formed in these early years which led to the demise of the AML. In 1904 the AML merged with the newly formed American Automobile Association (AAA).
Automobile Club of America:
Following the formation of the AML, the Automobile Club of America (AC of A) was formed June 8, 1899, in New York City. The AC of A was one of the worlds earliest automobile clubs. The main purpose at the time was social, but expanded to work on legislation more favorable to the early motorists, and to continue the work started by the early bicycle organization, the League of American Wheelman (LAW) to improve roads and promote travel and tours. The club’s early members were also instrumental in forming the American Automobile Association (AAA) in 1902. The earliest AC of A badge was an eagle on top of a wheel and was available in brass or nickel finish. The front side of the badge has the eagle facing forward and the club flag in the center. The reverse side of the badge shows the back side of the eagle and a 46-star American flag, which would date the badge 1907 or later. By the late teens there would likely have been a Boyce Moto Meter mounted on the radiator cap to tell the driver if his engine was overheating, or perhaps a mascot identifying the marque, and another type of AC of A badge would have been fitted to the front of an automobile radiator with wires. These badges were proudly displayed to identify the automobile owner as a member of the organization, and to advertise the club… which no longer exists.
As seen on issue 9 cover...
This AAA brass badge was the first style adopted by the organization and was in use from 1906-1915. Many of these early badges were made by the Imperial Brass Manufacturing Company, Chicago, Illinois and examples exist with the names of cities and state organizations displayed on a banner beneath the interlocked wheels. Badges would have been given to AAA members and as the styles changed over the years new badges were issued. Many of the old badges were discarded leaving few today. Sized at 4.375”x6” and has lugs on the back side to attach to the radiator with wires. This badge would sell for $200 - $350.
The 1923 AC of A badge is 4.5” in diameter and these usually sell for $300 to $500 depending on condition. The earliest known date for this style is 1921 and date plates were issued for each year when membership was renewed. The badges were made from copper or bronze and the color was fired on and is very susceptible to chips and damage. Wires are used to attach to the radiator.