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Q & A
Special Fish Warden Badges
Question
A friend of mine recently found and gave me what appears to be an old badge or coin from the then Fish Commission, now PFBC. It is round and about 1.5 inches in diameter and apparently brass or bronze. The front of it has "SPECIAL FISH WARDEN" and "BOARD OF FISH COMMISSIONERS" stamped around the edges with what appears to be the state seal in the center. The back of the badge has the number "1188" and PENNA stamped into the metal. At the edges of the metal are two tiny holes that may have been used to attach the badge or coin to something.

Can you give me some background on the badge? I'd be interested to know when it would have been used. Thanks for your help.

Answer
The round brass or bronze badge was issued to officers of the Fish Commission who served as Special Fish Wardens (currently known as Deputy Waterways Conservation Officers). These round brass/bronze badges are not that uncommon, as the Fish Commission once had much less stringent requirements for persons who wished to serve as Special Fish Wardens, and I have heard stories of some counties in the state having literally dozens of persons serving as Special Fish Wardens back in the 1940's and 50's.

The number on the back is the badge number, just as a modern police officer's badge, and current Fish and Boat Commission badges, display a badge number, usually on the front.

The badge you have was actually used much more recently than most people would believe. These badges were in use until the 1960's, when a transition to a modern, shield style silver badge took place. Based on the number of these badges in circulation, I believe that officers where allowed to keep their old badge when they were issued the new shield style badge.

You will also find some of these round brass badges that are stamped "Pennsylvania Fish Commission" instead of "Board of Fish Commissioners," and you will sometimes find them with a chrome or nickel plated finish. You will also find some round metal badges from the 1930's and early 40's that have a removable paper center. The paper center will display the specific year it was valid for, along with a badge number.

Collectors will usually pay about $50 to $60 for one of the round brass badges.

-- Ray Bednarchik, Manager, Southeast Region

Special Fish Warden Badge
Special Fish Warden 1936 Badge Special Fish Warden 1943 Badge
Special Fish Warden 1944 Badge Special Fish Warden 1946 Badge
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