by Bernie Woollands.
My own introduction to badge collecting came about through a man called Stan Ranson. Stan was a member of the Ventura county Koi club that is/was twinned with the South East. Stan visited us in 1991 and gave me some Koi badges (which he called pins) as a memento. At the time I used to wear a baseball cap with our own section badge on when visiting other sections and I duly added the badges Stan gave me to it. In addition to our section badge I also had about four BKKS badges on there as well. The MSB and South Hants sections later gave me one of their badges for helping them out at their shows and I later collected a Norwich and East Pennine badge to go with them. Occasionally Stan would send me some more badges when we exchanged letters and I picked up a couple more when I visited them in 1994. Things would probably have stopped there if I hadn’t have been involved with the National Show committee. But at one of the committee meetings prior to Koi 96, George Rooney of the South Hants section, and Show Programme Editor for that year asked me to help publicise the BKKS Show Badge. He asked me to write an article about Koi badges for him. This I did and in the process of doing it I dressed up my accidental acquisitions into a full blown hobby and became the perceived fountain of badge knowledge. Up until then I had no real passion for them, but as a result of the response to the article my piece of fiction became a fact. Since that fateful day I have accrued over 200 badges from 9 different countries and have made friends with several people world-wide in the process. The article in the National Show Magazine caused a pin maniac in the States to make contact with me called Norman B Call. Norm’s collection numbers about 250 at the moment and he has pins from 10 different countries. As well as Norm I trade with another American and a Dutchman usually via the internet. The B.K.K.S also has a badge swapping forum on it’s web-site.
Types of badges.
To date Koi badges fall into three separate categories.
- Societies, Clubs and Sections .
- Koi Shows and Seminars.
- Commercial and miscellaneous.
Societies, Clubs and Sections.
These are probably the easiest to obtain and the UK is by far the most prolific with the BKKS sections providing the biggest selection. Close behind them come the American clubs and after that the independent British Societies like the Yorkshire Koi Society who have a badge in the shape of a Showa, the Heart of England Koi Society, and the Midland Koi Association as well as both chapters (North and South) of the UK ZNA. Countries like Australia, Holland, Belgium and Germany have just single society badge, although the Dutch now have three different versions.
To date there are about 34 B.K.K.S section badges to collect. When collecting these lookout for the unusual ones like the Worthing section who have a gold and a silver version of the same badge. In addition some sections, like us, have more than one badge, usually an older plastic version and a modern enamel one. The East Pennine sections goes one further, it has three. The original shield version without a koi, the oblong white enamel version with a koi and then an anniversary pin celebrating the 12 years existence and their origin with the Hoyland & District Pond Society. There is for those of you interested in the rare an older Hoyland & District Pond Society badge that is very hard to come by.
Koi Shows and Seminars.
This is where the largest quantity of badges are to be found and it is the Americans that provide them. They have several clubs that have been issuing show badges for over 14 years. . Our sister club the Ventura County started the trend in 1985 and set out to have a series of badges depicting a different show classification every year. They complete their first series last year (1997) with a ginrin tancho depicting the class Kinginrin. This year they have started their second series with a Kohaku on a new design. The original Ventura set is quite a modest design but it’s significance to English badges in general and to the South East section in particular is very important. The idea of a series of badges depicting the different classification was the inspiration behind the BKKS series that most of us have.
The AKCA (Associated Koi Clubs of America) the nearest equivalent to the BKKS holds an annual seminar and since 1990 it has been issuing badges to celebrate the event. Starting in 1990 with the seminar in San Diego there have been a run of badges up to this years which was held in Louisville Kentucky. Each badge tries to incorporate the Koi theme with something peculiar to the location of the seminar. This has led to some of the most elaborate badges. A particular favourite of mine is the 1994 seminar in Baltimore. The badge is in the shape of the Pentagon and there is a Baltimore Clipper ship on it surrounded by koi.
The Koi Club of San Diego also has a spectacular series. The first four badges were just different colour variations of the same design but after that the design changed each year. This years was a large black circular badge almost two inches across, only slightly smaller that their 1991 one.
Obviously, obtaining some of these older badges is quite difficult as the availability is now very restricted. But there are newer American clubs just starting up that are much easier, for instance the Atlanta Koi Club which has only just had it’s fourth show.
Taking things to the limit as our American cousins often do, the MAKC (Mid Atlantic Koi Club) has just put out a limited edition set of their show badges, which run from 1988 to 1998. Limited to just 200 sets they come in an acrylic presentation box complete with a club pin. If anybody is interested this set costs $79 plus postage and packing which for us Brits is an additional $15. I think this one gesture indicates very strongly that this part of the hobby has come of age.
The Australians are running a series based on the classifications too, but they are much more accommodating, they issue about four different badges a year and they are now only two badges away from completing their first run of 13. However, the interest in their badges has now created a black market. An Australian at this years National had spares of their Kohaku badge which he wanted 50 dollars for.
The Dutch are following the trend and are on their third year. Their badges so far consist of a Sanke for 1996, an Ogon for 1997 and a Tancho for 1998. They also have three different versions of their society badge.
On the UK front, Show badges are rare but we in the South East section have played a big part in their history. Not only are we the first section to have it’s own Show badge, we were influential in getting the National Show badge off the ground. Kevin Jackson the designer was inspired by our ‘Spotlight’ magazine logo, and our sister clubs (Ventura County) idea of a sequence showing all classifications. Amongst the B.K.K.S National show badges are one or two rarities. The 1995 Showa had a rejected sample. The original pattern on the sample pin was considered too messy and had to be re-done. Likewise the 1997 badge was meant to be an Asagi but the manufacturer could not get the subtlety of the scales right so a Shusui was commissioned as a compromise. Both of these rejected badges have found their way in to one aficionados collection.
Commercial and Miscellaneous.
With a title like this you would expect it to be the biggest area of all but surprisingly it isn’t. Amongst these you will find commercial pins like ‘Klassic Koi’, ‘Nishikigoi International’ and ‘Koi Kam’. Under miscellaneous you have the two ‘I LOVE KOI’ badges – a UK one with a fish and an American one without. There is also the pretty ‘Enjoy Koi’ badge that the Nishikigoi centre brought back from Japan, and the trophy centres from the first tri-show, and that’s almost it. But, one weird one to look out for is a large tin badge bearing a Kohaku and the legend “No! we don’t eat them” which originated in the United States.
To recap and expand on the series already mentioned, here is a list of Koi badge sets that are currently out there looking for collectors.
- The AKCA seminar set. Starting with 1990 at San Diego and currently up to 1998 Louisville Kentucky. This is the set to collect if you like different shaped badges.
- The BKKS National set. Kohaku, Sanke, Showa, Utsuri, Shusui and Tancho.
- The Koi Club of San Diego. 1986 to 1998 – lots of variety in shape and size.
- The Ventura County Koi Show. 1985 to 1997 (the first complete classification series)
- The Ventura County Koi Show second series starting this year (1998)
- The Koi Society of Australian, currently Kohaku thru Hikari-Utsuri. (Only Tancho & Ginrin to go).
- The Pacific & Northwest Koi Club Association (PNKCA) which started in 1987. Some enchanting designs and motto’s with this set.
- The Atlanta Koi Club, started 1995. The 1998 pin is due anytime now.
- The Mid Atlantic Koi Club (MKCA), now with a boxed set.
- The Central California club started in 1996.
- The Nishiki Koi Club Young Koi show – started in 1997 and therefore two pins so far.
- The Washington Koi & Water Garden Society starting 1992 – now favouring small delicate badges.
- The Northwest Koi and Goldfish ZNA – started in 1992 depictingge koi and a fancy goldfish on every badge, and what intricate badges they are lately. Their 1998 badge is coffin shaped and has a beautiful doitsu kujaku on it.
Rare and Oddities.
The rare pins in the UK are –
- The original Hoyland and District Pond Society. (The forerunner of the East Pennine section)
- The East Riding section.
- The East Pennine Shield – Koiless.
- The original ‘plastic’ South Hants, Crouch Valley & South East pins.
- The original B.K.K.S pin.
- The Potteries.
- The miss-spelt Leicester pin – i.e. Lecestershire.
- The original tri-show logo.
- The Midland Koi Association pin
The Merseyside pins, they have a large and a small. The Worthing section – they have a gold and a silver one.
On the day this article is published I shall bring down my collection for all to see.