Monday, February 06, 2012

The Other Side of the Badge

We're helping my Dad clean out his attic, and in the process we're unearthing some long-forgotten artifacts. For the most part, they're items that any normal family would have thrown away long ago. But in a way, I'm kind of glad we didn't.

One of the things we found this time was a giant (3"W x 4"H) toy police badge. It's a pretty odd item.

First off, it's outsized even for an adult. It must have just about covered my chest back in the day (I think I was about five or six).

Second, of course, it's something that could no longer be sold. A single piece of stamped metal with sharp pointy edges a child's toy? What were parents thinking?

Third -- and most interesting to me -- is what's on the reverse side. Clearly this badge was stamped from a can of peaches. How cheap can you get?

But there's a little more to it than that.

Consider: you can't just run an old can through the stamper. It would crush the can flat and you'd have two layers of metal, one with a good impression, the other not -- and they'd be difficult to pull apart. The crumpling would also chip the painted label (and it's not).

So the metal was flat to begin with. But it was also printed with the peaches label. So where did it come from? Was the Japanese metal can company making these badges on the side, using overruns and scraps? Or were said overruns and scraps sold to a third-party manufacturer?

I have no idea. But I think I'll hold onto this oddity, at least for a little while longer.

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