I was among the earliest group of collectors who realized that merit badges were unique and collectible. But, with so many other collecting interests, others exceeded my interest and desire for merit badges. Over the years I’ve continued acquiring merit badges but seldom going after them aggressively.

In the fall of 2020 a collector in Alaska started deposing of portions of his collection. I am told he had been a high dollar buyer for many of the best items from the Duersch collection. He started listing merit badges on eBay at minimums that seemed to be extraordinarily high. He is an Order of the Arrow collector and it seemed that he was applying OA values to merit badges. I spoke with knowledgeable merit badge collectors and had interesting discussion of values. If certain OA badges are perceived to be worthy of high dollar evaluation when there are 6-8 in collections, why wouldn’t a square merit badge with only 2-3 known be as valuable? Of course they are oranges and apples, but an interesting topic for conversation. Collectors will encounter a wide gap in valuations of merit badges, but scarcity and rarity can be established.
 
There are quite a few people who currently collect merit badges and probably more that might collect if they realized how interesting and unique they are. With Fred Duersch’s book twenty years out of print I develop this website as a guide to square merit badges. I’m told there is an effort to resurrect a merit badge book. If it gets reprinted I’ll defer to that publication, if not I may expand this.

I hope you enjoy the mages and information it contains.
Paul Myers Goshen, IN March 2021
The History of Merit Badge Collecting
 
Merit badge collecting started in the 1980’s. Previously, merit badges just weren’t thought of as collectable. When a scout earns a merit badge, he receives the badge and most never acquiring another. Collectors started noticing there were differences in merit badges. Not only the styles; square, wide border, crimped, etc but the designs. Rick Hubbard was the first to publish information in a booklet. Seventy five pages of images and variations published in 1986.
The Merit Badge Cronicle

The Merit Badge Chronical was the first publication to identify the various styles and designs of merit badges.
 
 
ASTA publication by Paul Myers

(to the left) In 1987, I published information in my quarterly column in ASTA, on the scarcity of certain square merit badges. Identifying the 1930’s squares and explaining why they were scarce.















(Below) In 1994 Chris Jensen produced a scholarly work on merit badges. With images, charts of how many were earned and values. It’s 140 pages, 8 1/2” x 11”, full of all kinds of great information. Twenty seven years later the pricing might be “dated”, but it’s still a great resource.
The Merit Badge Price Guide
Boy Scout Merit Badge Field BadgeIn 1999 Fred Duersch published the Merit Badge Field Guide. Built on the collective knowledge of previous publications, Fred had a photo page, check lists and totals earned. In 1986 Rick identified about 150 varieties of pre-1920 square badges. Fred added about 15 more early varieties of the pre-1920 squares. Unfortunately all three books are out of publication and with Fred’s being the last one published twenty two years ago.

Dave Eby’s meticulous research into the earliest merit badges and the discovery of the 1912/13 cloth has advanced knowledge. Dave approached the subject as a historian more than a collector, but the information he discovered is invaluable to collectors.



When I started putting this together I was tempted to use Rick and Fred’s book as a guide, but I chose to compare badges available to me. After I developed my varieties, I used their books to finish out the research. I believe I’ve identified a couple previously undocumented early varieties. The badges that I don’t have access to are described but shown blank. After COVID-19, Rick will help me fill in the blanks. There are more varieties than I’m showing, many of which I thought were a bit picky and I’ll leave those for you to discover. The more people looking for early varieties, the more will be discovered.
 
Click on a Section Below to Learn More
 
The Earliest Types
1912 - 1917
1912 - 1918
Design Varieties
1918
Square Badges
1912 to 1917 boy scout merit badges 1912-1918 Boy Scout Merit Badges 1918 square boy scout merit badges
1920 - 1933
Square Badges 
Identifying 1942
Round Merit Badges
Identifying 1964
Round Merit Badges
1920 - 1933 square boyt scout merit badges Identifying 1942 Boy Scout Merit Badges  1964 Bot Scout Merit Badges 
     
  Dating and Identifying
Sashes After 1924
 
  identifying boy scout sashed after 1924  
 
Paul Myers Goshen, Indiana
gimogash@comcast.net