British Military Badges Buying Guide

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British Military Badges Buying Guide

Military badges are a source of great pride and achievement for many people in the UK and not necessarily just those who have served for the armed forces. The divisions of the British armed forces issue badges to signify certain ratings or accomplishments in various fields but they can also serve as a simple form of identification.

Despite their obvious sentimental value, many British military badges end up for sale and can be bought from a selection of outlets.  

Auction website eBay is perhaps the most efficient place to make a British military badge purchase as advanced search options can be utilised to narrow listings down and potentially find the badge at a reduced price also.

Different Types of British Military Badge

The different factions of the British armed forces issue separate badges for their serving officers. They can also differ for the many regiments within the British service branches, be it the army, navy or air force. When coming to search on eBay then specifying which type of military badge is desired will help narrow down the thousands of listings. This section will look at what options you have when coming to make a search.

Branch of Armed Service

There are three main branches of the armed services that serve the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. These are the British Army, Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Naval Service (including the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.)

Regiment types within each branch will again have their own types of badge to choose between. For example, the British Army has badges designated for the infantry, cavalry and the Special Forces which can interest certain people.

Style of Badge

Badges can be made to fit on certain parts of a uniform. The most recognisable type of military badge is usually associated with being placed on the shirt pocket. Many more can be fastened onto the caps or hats of a serving soldier and also the shoulder area.


Choosing between the particular materials is also a buying consideration for military badges. Many badges come in the way of patches – a cloth emblem that can be sewn onto a uniform in any place desired. There are also metal badges, predominantly made from brass, steel or enamel that can be used for show aswell as on a uniform.

Fake Military Badges

Unfortunately, fake metallic British army badges have the potential to be constructed from the original moulds they were made from. It is important to make sure that a properly evaluated decision is made in conjunction with the seller when coming to make a purchase, especially if buying second-hand or spending a considerable amount.

Cap badges are those which are worn on the headgear to distinguish between different nationalities or organisations. They are often the target for fraudsters who have the ability to ‘restrike’ a particular badge or those who simply don’t know that their item is not 100% genuine. However, just because a certain metallic badge is bent or poorly constructed doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a fake. Try and research the particular individual badge you are interested in.

Also note that a seller offering “rare” military badges, despite having listed dozens and dozens more, will more than likely mean that they aren’t going to be as rare as advertised. eBay makes it very simple to perform such a task; click on the seller’s profile and then select the ‘Items for sale’ link on the left-hand side of the page. If they are selling many more badges of the same kind then be wary with following through with the transaction.

Cost of Military Badges

The cost a standard military badge should not be too much at all; despite their sentimental value or historical importance to some people, there are tens of thousands of various military badges available on the internet and eBay in particular.

This means the average price of one will be relatively low; many cloth badges on eBay listed as a Buy It Now item are listed for under £2, whilst metallic versions are not much more than this.

The Auction facility on eBay offers the chance to win some badges for as little as 1p if no rival bids are made (excluding postage and packaging.)

Where to Buy a British Military Badge From

There are different places to buy military badges from, not just the internet. These include:

  • Antiques stores.
  • Car-boot sales
  • Charity shops
  • Real life auctioneers
  • Friends or family

Shopping in person can provide the benefit of allowing you to review the badge first-hand and also ask questions in person about the history and value of the item. Using the internet however has the benefit of bringing up all the many different badges in the same place and will provide much more choice than would be found on the high street.

How to Search for British Military Badges on eBay

Due to the numerous listings of badges on eBay and the fact that some sellers may use different ways to list similar items, it is advisable to understand how to search efficiently to find as many military badges as is possible.

Keyword Search

The first port of call for making a purchase is to enter a term into the search bar at the top of any eBay website page. Use this to enter a specific phrase such as “British Legion badge,” or a more generic one such as “British military badge” which will make many results appear with these terms in the title listing.

If not enough results have appeared however, it is possible to select the ‘Include description’ box located next to the search bar. This will not only bring up badges with the keyword search in the title, but also those that have it in the item’s description aswell. This should bring up more British military badges to browse through.

Search by Category

Another good way to make a search is to browse the eBay categories that all the different military badges could be listed under. On the eBay home page, find the ‘Badges/Patches’ under the ‘Collectables’ section and then select the ‘Badges/Pins’ section from the preference menu on the left-hand side. Now the ‘Military Badges’ can be brought up also where further options can be selected between from the left-hand side.

Preference Menu

The benefit of using eBay is that it allows the results to be narrowed down where only most relevant one’s for you are shown. Consideration should have been made into what material or type the required badge is already; selecting either cloth, enamel, brass or steel will help in this respect.

To narrow them down into British only makes, dividing up the results into the three main branches of the armed forces – the Army, Navy and Air Force – is a good start. After selecting one of these; then further options will appear, including the way to bring up medals from a certain decade. Also if interested in a certain regiment of one of the forces, then select between these too.

Staying Safe on eBay

As noted before, there is the potential problem of counterfeit British military badges being listed on eBay, be it intentionally or not by the seller. To try and counter this then this section will look at some of the ways possible to try and guarantee a successful transaction.

Firstly, read the description of the badge as closely as possible and review the picture or pictures that the item will have been listed with. If it is a used item, then make sure to inspect it further in case the badge has potential flaws.

Review the seller also to remain as confident when making the purchase as possible. Look at their feedback score and also any comments that have been left by other sellers. If their rating is far below 100 or worrying comments have been left by other eBayers then proceed with caution or find another suitable military badge to buy – there are plenty out there.

Asking a question to the seller by clicking the ‘Contact Member’ link on their profile. If they have missed anything out of the item description that is important for you to know before parting with money, or there is a general query over payment and delivery, then don’t hesitate to ask.

Using PayPal is the most trusted method of making a payment and is accepted as the safest and also quickest way of sending and receiving money on eBay.


Great Britain has had a distinguished military past and one that interests many historians. Buying a British Military badge from an important military period or battle has made some badges highly valuable for collectors.

The birth of the internet has made more modern military badges more accessible for many people and has thus pushed the price down where they are affordable by the majority of UK buyers.

eBay continues to be the leading website and retail location for the purchasing of British Military badges and other types of the armed services products.

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