By 1953 the population of the USA was shifting west. California doubled in population from 1940 to 1953. Scouting officials recognized the touring possibilities of the west and sunny California. The Irving family were strong supporters of Scouting and their ranch would be an ideal location. It was nearly self contained, security wouldn’t be a problem and scouts could swim in the Pacific Ocean. It was in Orange County in the Newport Beach Area, Southeast of Los Angeles. Plans were made for 50,000 Scouts and Leaders to attend.

Scouts received two embroidered pocket badges and neckerchiefs. Again I D cards identified registered participants. Each Scout received a commemorative token from the Irvine family. Individuals have sometimes made this token into a medal, but it was never issued that way.

basic 1953 boy scout jamboree collection
This is the basic 1953 collection. You may also want items available at the trading post.
 
1953 boy scout jamboree badge1953 boy scout jamboree patch


Badges were made in huge quantities by two different manufacturers. There are differences in the embroidery, but the easiest clue is the position of 1953 to the wagon wheels. Another clue is the Blue versus Black backstitch.
 
1953 Jamboree Back Patches
 
1953 Boy Scout Jamboree Back Patches 
  
The 1953 Jamboree 6” backpatch is one of the more scarce 1953 items. The backpatch (Type A) was only available on the Jamboree jacket, it was expensive, $5.95. The backpatch was not originally sold separately. The Type A badge shown is in excellent condition, but has been sewn on. Type B is known to be authentic but was not available after the Jamboree. Note the design details, like the pocket patch, position of 1953 to the wheels and Blue versus Black backstitch. It is believed that the manufacturer who made Type A made the run that was sewn on the jacket. Manufacturer B made the run sold after the Jamboree. Collectors have searched for years for an order form to confirm this. 
fake 1953 boy scout national jamboree back patch




Made in the 1980’s, 5 1/2” “Bates Fake”. Authentic 1953 backpatches are 6” round. The fake is 5 1/2” round. The grass is wrong. The lettering is too thin. Not all fake badges have the FAKE stamp.
 
1953 Jamboree 1973 & 1977 Reproductions 
 
1953 Boy Scout National Jamboree reproduction patches 
 
Red outline of wagon wheel is wrong Reproduction has plastic back. Black lines in the white top go from top to bottom. Compare reproduction to Type A, space beneath wagon wheel and 1953.
 
1953 Jamboree Private Issues
 
For over forty five years collectors have debated the source of the 1953 “California” badges and others that are sometimes labeled protypes.
 
1953 boy scout national jamboree private issues 
The red and blue segment has never been documented. It’s my belief it is a council issue, probably to be used in conjunction with a council event. It is not scarce. The orange badge might have been a manufacturers sample, encouraging contingents to have their name embroidered in the bottom, but none are known to exist with other embroidery and the orange badge is not scarce.

It has become my belief that the California issue Jamboree badges are private issues. The fact that there is a pocket patch and a backpatch and both exist with cut edge and rolled edge borders, (4 varieties) seem to indicate that they were issued by a collector. Back patches were not sold “loose” at the Jamboree. Official 1953 badges have an embroidered rolled edge border. People who have spend thousands of dollars for badges that may be unofficial may disagree. But, the badges were traded freely at the Jamboree, and they are more widely distributed than prototypes.


There are many differences in the 1953 California badges. Blue detailing in the wagon cover. The positioning of the lettering, brown wheels versus black wheels, etc.
 
National Issue 1953 Boy Scout Jantional Jamboree PatchNational Issue 1953 Boy Scout Jantional Jamboree Patch




It’s interesting to note that the 1950, ‘57 and ’60 Jamboree badges did not have the state name.
 
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Paul Myers Goshen, Indiana
gimogash@comcast.net