The Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas
A Short Course on Fantasy, Replica and Toy
Texas Ranger Badges

Texas Ranger Fake Badge"You would not believe the number of people who buy fake badges -- especially fake Ranger Company "A" badges -- thinking they have bought the real thing. When our [Frontier Battalion reenactors] travel around the state, people bring us their "old" Ranger badges that supposedly were made in the 1880s — out of a 1947 or 1948 five Peso Mexican coin!!! As of yet no one has shown us a "real" Ranger badge. I would say that 95% of them are the fake Company "A." The only real badges we see are on the Rangers who come by to visit our group."— Jim Ryan, Texas Rangers reenactor

Welcome

Each year the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum receives many emails and letters about badges. Understandably, folks would like to have a badge from the legendary law enforcement agency. The letters usually contain many of the same explanations:

I bought this badge from this old guy at a gun show, didn't get his name. He said I could bring it back next time he was here if I didn't like it . . . Is it real? There is no name and address on this receipt. How do I find him again?

I don't know anything about it, but the price was real good . . .

The seller had an "Expert" at the table who said . . .

He had a Xerox of an affidavit . . .

I just saw it on EBAY and the auction ends tomorrow! Is it real and how much should I bid?!?

The man at the show said he got it from a museum that was closing . . .

The dealer said that, after I bought it, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame could give me all the information on this badge and authenticate it for me . . .

Sadly, all of these buyers paid high prices for fantasy badges, replicas or toys. Many were sold with fanciful stories and/or fake "affidavits of authenticity" — but no written guarantees.  The fact is that there are very few genuine Texas Ranger badges.

Texas Rangers first began wearing badges unofficially during the late 1870s. Official badges were first issued to Rangers after the Texas Department of Public Safety was created in 1935.

 
A Few Helpful Terms
Fake Replica
Replica - an accurate or inaccurate copy of a real badge.

The Company "A" type badges, by far the most commonly seen today, are inaccurate replicas. The design is often found in jewelry.
Fantasy Badge Fantasy - a badge bearing no resemblance to any genuine Texas Ranger badge.

It may incorporate design elements from real badges or other fantasy badges.

Toy Badge
Toy - a badge made for children, usually of plastic or cheap metal.

What is or is not allowed?

Texas law focuses on the perception of whether a "reasonable person" would confuse a toy, replica or fantasy badge with a currently valid Texas Ranger badge. Common sense dictates that many fantasy or replica badges could be assumed to be real by a reasonable person who is unfamiliar with genuine current badges. Manufacturing, possessing or selling such items would therefore constitute a violation of the law.

Texas Government Code Sec. 411.017
UNAUTHORIZED ACTS INVOLVING
DEPARTMENT NAME, INSIGNIA, or DIVISION NAME

(a) A person commits an offense if, without the director's authorization, the person:

      1. Manufactures, sells, or possesses a badge, identification card, or other item bearing a department insignia or an insignia deceptively similar to the department's;

      2. Makes a copy or likeness of a badge, identification card, or department insignia, with intent to use or allow another to use the copy or likeness to produce an item bearing the department insignia or an insignia deceptively similar to the department's; or

      3. Uses the term "Texas Department of Public Safety," "Department of Public Safety," "Texas Ranger," or "Texas Highway Patrol" in connection with an object, with the intent to create the appearance that the object belongs to or is being used by the department.

        (b) In this section, "department insignia" means an insignia or design prescribed by the director for use by officers and employees of the department in connection with their official activities.

        An insignia is deceptively similar to the department's if it is not prescribed by the department but a reasonable person would presume that it was prescribed by the department.

        (c) A district or county court, on application of the attorney general or of the district attorney or prosecuting attorney performing the duties of district attorney for the district in which the court is located, may enjoin a violation or threatened violation of this section on a showing that a violation has occurred or is likely to occur.

        (d) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that the object is used exclusively:

        (1) for decorative purposes, maintained or preserved in a decorative state, and not offered for sale; or

        (2) in an artistic or dramatic presentation, and before the use of the object the producer of the presentation notifies the director in writing of the intended use, the location where the use will occur, and the period during which the use will occur.

        (e) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the object is shipped by United States mail or by any type of commercial carrier from a point outside the State of Texas to a point inside the state if the shipper or his agent has been sent notification by registered United States mail of this section prior to the shipment, in which event the offense is a felony of the third degree.

      Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 147, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 496, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Chuck Norris as Walker: Texas Ranger

The Texas Department of Public Safety can authorize exceptions for theatrical productions. The few that have been granted are usually badges made for movies & TV shows such as Walker: Texas Ranger.


Chuck Norris as Walker: Texas Ranger
©2006 Sony Corp.

 

Fraud and Badges?

"Fraud - deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit."

There is a brisk trade in fraudulent Texas Ranger badges and those that violate the "badge law." Most of what is advertised on Internet auction sites, at gun shows, and at antique shows/malls are either inaccurate replicas or fantasy badges of the sort seen below. There are very few genune badges because there have never been many Texas Rangers.

Fraud occurs when replica, fantasy or toy Texas Ranger badges are sold as genuine or as accurate copies of real badges.

Most ads and sales pitches are carefully worded to avoid prosecution. They are filled with "I think" and "I believe" instead of verifiable facts. The badges almost always came from unnamed and/or unverifiable "small town museums", "estate sales", "old Rangers" or a "well-known recently deceased collector."

Here is a typical pitch from the Yahoo! auction site. The badge (seen among those below) is a fantasy badge, probably a Langenbacker badge or a knock-off, distressed to look old. The ad is pure flimflam carefully worded to avoid prosecution. Instead of "it is," the seller relies on the unsupported "I believe." Sales are usually always final in these ads although any credible antiques dealer will allow returns.

 Old Texas Ranger Badge, Late 1890's                  Old Texas Ranger Badge, Late 1890's

"I noticed there are a lot of fakes out there, but I will tell you this one is not. ... It is hard to find one like this that was actually used and in this good of shape. I can't find anything wrong with it but it does need to be cleaned. This and some other things ... came from an old small town Museum in the heart of Texas. The funding dried up for the Museum, I was able to get a hold of a few of the items, this is a great chance for you to get a piece of history. I have described my item as best as possible! I'm not an expert at every thing I sell, I am going by what Museum personnel has (sic) told me. Please ask all questions before you place your bid." - from the Yahoo site

Can you spot the suspicious statements? What should you ask?

  • If the seller is not an expert as he admits, how can he tell whether it is a fake?
  • If it was actually used, what is its history? Wear doesn't equal use.
  • How can the seller not "find anything wrong with it" if he doesn't know badges?
  • What old small town museum, where? Why not name it?
  • What museum personnel is he referring to?

The sad fact is that E-Bay, Yahoo! and other auction services disavow responsibility for badges sold on their services even though their policies prohibit the sales of law enforcement badges and misleading replicas.
E-mails advising them of misrepresentation and violation of the law often go unanswered.

Sellers perpetrating fraud depend upon five facts —

  1. Most buyers fail to research their purchases before buying.
  2. Buyers are embarrassed at being "taken" and choose to drop the matter.
  3. Sellers always incorporate the "all sales final" and "sold as is" dodges. Reputable sellers accept prompt returns for reasons of authenticity.
  4. On-line auction sites, gun and antique shows do little monitoring of sellers.
  5. Buyers cannot find sellers who hide behind PO Boxes, e-mail aliases, anonymous accounts and false phone numbers.

Replica Badges


19th century fake CoA fake CoA fake CoB fake
CoF fake CoA fake CoA fake

The most commonly seen frauds perpetrated with replica badges bear Texas Ranger Company designations Co. A, B, C, D, E, F, HQ, and the old Frontier Battalion. It should be noted that legitimate jewelry makers (cuff links, earrings, buckles, etc.) do incorporate fake or fantasy company badge design motifs.

Another Fake Many replica badges have impressions of Mexican or U.S. coins cast into their reverse. A few older examples were forged from real Mexican coins.

Unscrupulous dealers have stated "you can tell its real because it was made from a Mexican coin."

Real Mexican coins used for badges were minted with dies, not cast. A practiced eye can often see casting lines.
Fake Frontier Battalion badge No genuine Texas Ranger badges are known to exist with "Frontier Battalion" engraved on them.The Frontier Battalion was in service from 1874-1901. Some Frontier Battalion fakes have cast replicas of 1940s Mexican coins on their reverse.
Another fake badge

This badge is a close copy of an unpopular enameled style worn by the Rangers briefly in the 1950s. Despite the fact that Texas Rangers hated it, it is now appearing on the market in fairly large numbers. It was derisively called the "Blue Bottle Cap badge."

Some variations of this badge have been made for use by security agencies and park rangers.

Kid Rogers replica badge

This is a replica of the historic "Kid Rogers" badge licensed by the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. It was produced to give collectors a close replica of an early Ranger badge and to provide reenactors with an accurate prop.

To discourage misrepresentation of these replicas as "real" badges, they have "replica" permanently marked on the reverse. Several minor changes were also made so the museum can confirm them as a replicas.



Common Fantasy Badges & Ranger Artifacts


Fantasy badges bear little resemblance to any known genuine badge. They often incorporate design elements from real Ranger badges, military insignia, and other police badges as well as the designer's imagination.

fantasy badge Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #39
Fantasy Texas Ranger Badge.

This fantasy badge resembles the half-moon New Orleans police badges and presentation badges from the Old West.

It has a brass Lone Star and T-E-X-A-S element similar to that on the 1835 Texas Flag and items used by Confederate Texas troops in the Civil War.

fantasy badge
fantasy badge

Six-Pointed Texas Ranger Toy/Fantasy Badge

Six-pointed star badges abound, but the design was never used by the Texas Rangers.

The badges on the left are among the older fantasy badges and have been used extensively in posters, postcards and art.They have has been sold over the Internet as "1800s" badges despite 1960s design features.

fantasy badge

Special Ranger commissions have been given to sheriffs, private railroad detectives, oil company security officers, cattle detectives and retired DPS personnel. However, they were never issued badges similar to this one. This fantasy badge is commonly found at auctions and at gun shows advertised as a Special Ranger badge.

 

fantasy piece  fantasy badge
fantasy badge
Mills Pattern Cartridge Belt Buckle

Although not a badge, this is a common fantasy piece. Texas Rangers did use some US Army Mills-pattern webbed cartridge belts ("scout belts") in the field. However, none are known to have been stamped or engraved with Texas Ranger badges or insignia. This example was made from a reproduction Mills belt buckle, complete with a fake patent inscription on the back. The "badge" on the front (see below) is loosely based on the post-1961 Texas Ranger badge design — not an 1880s badge.

Toy badge

Texas Rangers Co. "B" Arms & Ammo Key ring

This fake "Arms" and "Ammo" key ring is made of stamped, distressed brass has shown up on many Internet auctions.

We suspect it was made overseas in India or Pakistan because of the use of "Sergeant of Arms" instead of "Sergeant at Arms."

A sergeant at arms is a person appointed to keep order during meetings—not a company quartermaster in charge of supplies and provisions.

There is no such position as a "sergeant of arms."


Toy Badges


Toy shield badgeToy Texas Ranger badges have been made for children since at least the 1930s and many are considered collectibles. However, a few dealers have sold unsuspecting customers toy badges as genuine ones, complete with letters of authenticity and concocted histories.

Perhaps seeking to avoid legal issues, many toy badge makers have adopted six-pointed star designs never used by the Texas Rangers. Toy badges are usually made of metal-colored plastic or "pot metal" and are hard to confuse with real Texas Ranger badges.

toy badge toy badge toy badge toy badge

 

Sources of Replica, Fantasy and Toy Badges

Langenbacker & Sons Badges - Common Examples

The most commonly seen replica and fantasy badges were manufactured by D.R. Langenbacker & Sons Company of Bluffdale, Utah.

They are unmarked and often have details such as simulated Mexican coins on the reverse.

"Langenbacker badges" are common at gun shows, EBay and other auction sites, and at flea markets. Unwary collectors have paid high prices for them.

Old Langenbacker & Sons catalogs are now rare, so we have included these examples of some of the more common badges with their stock numbers.

Please let us know If you have an original Langenbacker catalog. We would like to add missing or better illustrations of their replica and fantasy Texas Ranger badges.

Our thanks to Steve Chorney for assistance with sources and illustrations.

 

Catalog Illustration
Example
Description
--

Langenbacker & Sons Catalog
Special Agent #7
Texas Ranger Fantasy Badge

"Texas Ranger Special Agents" didn't exist.

No authenticated badges with the inscription "Special Agent" are known.

Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #6
Floral Motif Texas Ranger Badge.

This design is similar to an authentic pre-1935 badge favored by a few Rangers. In genuine examples, the Texas Ranger's name frequently appeared at the top of the circle.
Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #39
Fantasy Texas Ranger Badge.

This fantasy badge resembles the half-moon New Orleans police badges and presentation badges from the Old West.

It has a brass Lone Star and T-E-X-A-S element similar to that on the 1835 Texas Flag and items used by Confederate Texas troops in the Civil War.

Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #43
Fake Company "B"
Texas Ranger Fantasy Badge

This is one of the crudest quality replica Texas Ranger badges, well below anything that Texas DPS would have issued.

Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #54
Fake Company" A"
Texas Ranger Fantasy Badge

Various Company "A" designs are the most commonly seen fake badges.
--
Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #221
Floral Motif Texas Ranger Badge.

This is a variation on Catalog #6. A primary difference is that the elements at either end of the word "TEXAS" are triangular rather than curlicues.
Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #240
Fake Texas Ranger Shield Badge.

Similar authentic shield badges are known.
--

Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #273
Frontier Battalion Co "D"
Texas Ranger Fantasy Badge.

The badge contains design elements from the ca.1961 badge.

No authenticated badges are known bearing the inscription "Frontier Battalion
."

--
Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #296
Replica Co "F" Shield
Texas Ranger Badge
--

Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #300
Replica Captain's Shield
Texas Ranger Badge

This general design was used from 1935 until the 1950s.

 

Sold by NIC Law Enforcement Supply

Sold by: NIC Law Enforcement Supply
Texas Rangers Co. "D" Badge
Item #M154
Offered for $19.95

This appears to be a derivative of the
Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #273 above.

The ad states:

"It is a historically correct copy of the 1800's Texas Rangers Co. "D" Badge replicated in great detail. "

No authenticated badges are known bearing the inscription "Frontier Battalion. The design is a derivative if the ca. 1961 badge design.

Sold by: NIC Law Enforcement Supply
Sold as:
Texas Ranger Old West Badge
Item #M164
Offered for $19.95

This appears to be a derivative of the
Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #240 above.

An authentic version of this badge is known.

Sold by: NIC Law Enforcement Supply
Texas Rangers Co. "B" Badge
Item #M131
Offered for $19.95

This appears to be a derivative of the
Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #43 above.

The ad states:

"You are now looking at the modern version of the Texas Rangers Badge. . ."

If it were it would violate state law against selling "deceptively similar" badges.

This badge is pure fantasy. It bears little resemblance to the current badge in design, material or manufacture.

This badge might be considered deceptively similar to Texas DPS indetification and therefore in violation of the law.
Texas Government Code Sec. 411.017 (a)(3) (see below).

Sold by: NIC Law Enforcement Supply
Texas Rangers Co. "A". Badge
Item #M179
Offered for $19.95

The ad states:

"This badge is a replica of an early Texas Rangers Badge..."

Another example of the ubiquitous Company "A" fantasy badges.

 

Sold by Circle KB
These badges are not illegal
unless knowingly sold or presented as authentic.

Sold by: Circle KB
Sold as:
Texas Ranger Company A-Old West Badge
PH-24 Offered for $14.95

The ad states:

" This early Texas Ranger Company A badge was originally pressed out of a genuine Peso from Mexico. You can notice the reproduction looks the same with peso stamping on the reverse side as well."

Actually, authentic "coin back" badges have been made from eight or five peso silver coins and fifty peso gold coins.

This is an example of the many Company "A" fantasy badges with a simulated "coin back."

Sold by: Circle KB
Texas Ranger Antiqued Silver Badge

CKB0239 Offered for $14.95

This appears to be a derivative of the
Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #6 and #221 badges above.

Example of the many Company "A" fantasy badges with a simulated "coin back."

Sold by: Circle KB
Texas Rangers Company "B" Badge

PH-08 Offered for $14.95

The ad states:

"This type of badge was worn by Joe McKidrict who killed one time ranger turned bad man, Bass Outlaw in 1894."

Actually, it was the other way around! Bass Outlaw killed Ranger Joseph W. McKidrict! Sorry, but neither the badge nor the story is correct.

Several variations of this "1890's" flag badge" are known. They are commonly seen on Internet auction sites identified as genuine badges. Sorry, but the wreaths are a design found after 1961.

This badge has been incorporated into artwork, toys and posters.

Sold by: Circle KB
Texas Rangers Company "B" Badge

CA14-117 Offered for $9.95

Another fantasy badge sometimes sold as a child's toy.

This badge has been incorporated into artwork, toys and posters.

Sold by: Circle KB
Special Ranger Cattle Assoc.

PH-47 Offered for $14.95

The ad States:

"This badge came about when the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association decided to take matters into their own hands and track down rustlers in an effort to protect themselves and their herds."

Some cattle detectives, railroad detectives and oil field security men were issued Special Ranger commissions. However, this badge is a fantasy.

 

   Made by Sun Badge Co.   

    

Sold by: Bob's Badges (discontinued)
Sold as:
Texas Ranger Antiqued Silver Law Badge

Offered for $77
This badge might be considered deceptively similar
to Texas DPS indetification and therefore in violation of the law.
Texas Government Code Sec. 411.017 (a)(3)

This badge is similar to Langenbacker badges #6 and #221.

Sun Badge Company is reputed to have made badges for the 1981 film The Legend of the Lone Ranger. Bob's Badges of Michigan displayed it in their catalog with the note "Copy of the badge used in the Lone Ranger."

Our thanks to Steve Chorney for assistance with this information and illustrations.

 

    Made by Walter Kuhn     W.Kuhn

   

Made by: Walter Kuhn
Replica of 1935-era Texas Ranger Shield Badge

Walter Kuhn made high quality replicas of Texas Ranger badges. They have often been accepted as real because of their craftsmanship.

They are frquently seen on EBay and other auction sites.

Unlike other manufacturers, Kuhn marked his badges with the near-microscopic hallmark WK inside an oval or semi-oval or simply W.Kuhn

This badge, a replica of the first "official" issue by the Texas Department of Public Safety, is among his most common. It bears the following impression for the L.A. Stamp & Stationary Company with his hallmark below it.

LASTAMP&
STATY.CO.

Our thanks to Steve Chorney for assistance with this information and illustrations.

 

   Unidentified Manufacturers

   
Sold As: Texas Ranger Antiqued Silver Law Badge
Manufacturer Unknown

This badge is similar to Langenbacker badges #6 and #221.

The reverse of the badge shows the blurred casting of a Mexican 5 Peso coin. The star in the center appears to have been crudely welded or soldered to the circular rim.

Our thanks to Steve Chorney for assistance with this information and illustrations.


Texas Ranger State Outline Badge
Sold on: EBay
Manufacturer Unknown

This badge is is another variation on the circle-star design. There are no known Texas Ranger badges with a state outline. The decoration around the rim of the badge is unlike any engraving on genuine badges.

The reverse of the badge appears to be better "coin" cast than most. Under close magnification it shows raised dots and swirl marks typical of casts.

   
Version #1


Version #2

Texas Ranger "Sheriff" badge
Sold on: EBay
Manufacturer Unknown, Possibly Japanese

There are at least two variations of this six-pointed toy/fantasy badge. One is made of pressed pot metal and may date back some years.

The second variety is sold as a Japanese toy, has plastic or rhinestone "jewels" set in the points o the star, and appears to be plastic.

There were no "Texas Ranger-Sheriffs" or legitimate six-pointed badges.

  

Photo Forthcoming

Five-Pointed Star
Blue Band Bearing the Legend

Texas and Southwestern Cattleraisers Ass'n.
Special Ranger

Sold on: EBay and Other Auction Sites
Manufacturer Unknown

This badge has been called genuine or a "commemorative" in various sales ads.

Special Ranger commissions are issued to some bona fide cattle detectives by the State of Texas NOT the the Cattle Raisers Association. The badges, resemble current issue Texas Ranger badges. They are not five-pointed stars.

The respected cattle raisers organization spells its name

                           Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association

On the badge it is spelled

                                                   Cattleraisers

It is unlikely that the organization would misspell its own name on a real or commemorative badge.

   

"Texas Ranger Special Agent . . ."
Texas Ranger Fantasy Badge
Sold on: EBay
Manufacturer Unknown

"Texas Ranger Special Agents" didn't exist. This appears to be a derivative of the
Langenbacker & Sons Texas Ranger Special Agent #7 fantasy badge shown above.

The seller titled it "Texas Ranger Special Agent Police Badge Sheriff Marshal" badge!

"Texas Ranger 1880s Badge Replica"
Sold on: EBay

This is the crudest fantasy badges we have seen. It is roughly-cut and poorly punched.

It vaguely resembles in outline a copy of the Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #39 fantasy Badge similar to half-moon New Orleans police badges and presentation badges from the Old West.

The seller claims it to be made of silver-plated brass. It is decorated with a Lone Star and T-E-X-A-S similar to the design found on the 1835 Texas Flag .


Texas Ranger Co. CF Fantasy Badge
Image courtesy of Doug Martin

This circle-star replica badge is very loosely based on the post-1961 Texas Ranger badge design. The olive and live oak branches are rough in comparison to authentic badges. The "Co CF" makes no sense. The reverse of the badge (not shown) is a coin back design with a reasonably authentic pin and closure. The manufacturer and date of this badge are unknown.


 

The Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas