Beware Fake Badges

Beware Fake BadgesBuyer Beware!
Avoid Replicas, Fakes and Fantasy
Texas Ranger Badges

Byron Johnson, Director
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

“When our living history performers travel around the state, people bring us their “old” Ranger badges supposedly made in the 1880s. You would not believe how many people buy fake badges — especially the Ranger Company “A” badges — off the internet or at gun shows. I would say that 95% of them are the fake Company “A” badge. So far no one has shown us an authentic, documented Texas Ranger badge. The only real badges we see are on the Rangers who come by to visit.”

— Jim Ryan, Texas Rangers reenactor

Each year replicas and forgeries of Texas Ranger badges are offered on web sites, at auctions and at gun shows. Some are truthfully advertised as replicas or fantasy badges; others are carefully crafted to mislead collectors and enthusiasts. Watch out for:

  • Meaningless descriptions such as: “vintage,” “obsolete,” and “antique”
  • Hearsay:  "This was carried by a friend of my father way back, don't remember his name."
  • Unsupported opinion: “I think,” “I believe” and “it just feels right”
  • Unverifiable letters of authenticity and meaningless affidavits
  • Opinions from experts” — in collusion with the seller
  • Vague references to “a small-town museum going out of business,” “estate sales,” “old Rangers” or a “well-known recently deceased collector”
  • Unenforceable verbal guarantees
  • "All sales final" statements

The following appeared on the Yahoo! auction site. The badge—a Langenbacker fantasy badge (see below) or a copy—was distressed to look old. The ad is carefully worded to avoid prosecution. Instead of “it is,” the seller relies on the unsupported “I believe.”

Yahoo Fake Badge

Ad for “Old 1890s Texas Ranger Badge”

I noticed there are a lot of fakes out there, but I will tell you this one is not.  … It is hard to find one like this that was actually used and in this good of shape. I can’t find anything wrong with it, 1 but it does need to be cleaned.2  This and some other things … came from an old small town Museum in the heart of Texas. The funding dried up for the Museum, 3 I was able to get a hold of a few of the items, this is a great chance for you to get a piece of history.  I have described my item as best as possible! I’m not an expert at everything I sell, I am going by what Museum personnel has (sic) told me.4 Please ask all questions before you place your bid.5

-Can you spot the suspicious statements?

1 The seller states that he has no expertise; how can he tell whether the badge is a fake? How could he “not find anything wrong with it” if he has no knowledge of badges?

Wear and dirt are easy to fake.

3 What old small-town museum? Where?   This can be easily verified.  Private non-profit and government museums (city, county and state) employ trained staffs and rarely close. For-profit attractions, some calling themselves "museums" or "collections" do occasionally sell their collections.

4 What museum and personnel?  How can buyers verify his statements if the museum and location are unnamed and the museum is conveniently closed?

5 Translation:  All Sales Final.

What makes badge and antiques fraud common today?

  • Failure to thoroughly research purchases and demand guarantees before buying.
  • Disclaimers such as “all sales final,” “sold as is," “ask all questions before buying”
  • Sellers hiding behind PO Boxes, e-mail aliases, anonymous accounts and false/temporary phone numbers
  • Failure to use escrow services to assure delivery
  • Buyers who drop the matter after being defrauded out of embarrassment
  • Internet auction house and sales outlets hiding behind disclaimers instead of monitoring sales and enforce their own policies 

What are My Chances of
Finding an Authentic Early or Modern Texas Ranger Badge?

Early Texas Ranger Badges — c. 1874-1935

Beware Fake Badges

Texas Ranger Badge 1880s

The chance of finding an early Texas Ranger badge on eBay is about the same as winning the lottery.

The first references to Texas Ranger badges appear in the mid-1870s;few Rangers wore badges between 1870s and 1935.

Before 1935, when the new Texas DPS issued the first "official" badges, most Rangers invested in firearms. Quality pistols and rifles that could save your life, badges were sometimes useful and a matter of pride, but offered little personal protection.

Those who wanted badges ordered them from jewelers, gunsmiths and early police supply companies. A few companies and individuals received as gifts from grateful citizens.

The unofficial pre-1935 Texas Ranger badges were of many sizes, shapes, designs and materials. Literally any type a Ranger wanted to buy and wear.  It is impossible to authenticate an early Texas Ranger badge based on composition, manufacture or condition.

Many, perhaps most collectors who buy Texas Ranger badges do so solely on faith and appearance.  Investigate closely and you will find no verifiable chain-of-ownership leading back to a specific Ranger.  Only apocryphal stories and glib statements like “looks right," "looks old,” “feels right” and “let me tell you the story.”

Patina (the surface appearance of an item) is often put forth as proof of authenticity. For centuries, forgers have spent countless hours artificially distressing and rubbing in dirt to make artifacts and artwork look right.

One hears comments like “the collector had it since the 1960s. How could it not be real?!?” Possession by previous collectors is not a guarantee of authenticity.

Sorry, bogus Texas Ranger badges have been made since at least the 1930s.  Many items in the collections of well-known collectors and museums for decades have frequently been revealed as fakes when standards of evidence are applied.

Composition is not proof of authenticity alone.  The value of authentic Texas Ranger badges makes it profitable for forgers to use the correct materials, engraving styles, designs and fasteners. "It's real silver!" is frequently heard as evidence for authenticity. A few dollars in silver is little investment if a forger can sell a fake badge for hundreds or thousands of dollars.

This article shows many purported 19th and early 20th century badges as well as real modern examples. Some of the badges shown may be real, but no hard evidence is presented proving it.

The author correctly notes how rare early Texas Ranger badges are, but then puzzlingly states that that some of the examples are unquestionably authentic based on (1) their "look-and-feel" and (2) the fact that that they were they were owned by well-known collectors.  There is no documentation of chain of ownership.

The Golden Rule:
A documented chain-of-ownership (not hearsay or opinion) from a specific Ranger to today is the only strong evidence that a pre-1935 Texas Ranger badge may be authentic.

A Case in Point:   The Frontier Battalion and Special Force Badges

Lack of an unquestionable chain-of-possession frustrates collectors and museum professionals alike.  Collectors make leaps of faith, pay their money and gamble on something that may never be provable.

Texas Rangers investigating crimes are held to standards of proof demonstrated by verifiable evidence. Nonprofit educational museums are held to the same standard. If the evidence is inconclusive inconclusive you will see statements like “the evidence suggests," or "attributed to."

Alleged W.L. Rudd Badge (left) Alleged Frontier Battalion Badge (right)
Alleged W.L. Rudd Badge (left) Alleged Frontier Battalion Badge (right)

Over the last few years several alleged Frontier Battalion badges have emerged at auction.  The most interesting was attributed to Private W.L. Rudd. He served as a private, corporal and sergeant in Leander McNelly’s Washington County Volunteers (a.k.a. the Special Force) from 1874 to 1877, and in Capt. J.L. Halls' company in 1877-1878.

Rudd's service was mentioned in Trails and Trials of a Texas Ranger by William W. Sterling and Taming the Nueces Strip by Texas Ranger George Durham as told to Clyde Wantland. In his memoir, Ranger Durham mentions that the Special Force received badges as a gift during their service. However, the most detailed description is completely useless for the purpose of authentication:

"They [local ranchers] sent down some shiny new badges, and Captain had us pin one on our shirts."

In 2014 an alleged McNelly company badge appeared at auction (above, left) bearing Texas Ranger Rudd’s name and a marking attributed to J.D. Walker of Cuero, Texas, a watchmaker & jeweler. Was this one of the gift badges presented to McNelly and his men?

At least two other Frontier Battalion badges have appeared—one was a clear fake bearing the name of Capt. Leander McNelly. The other (photo above right), lacked a chain-of-possession. Let's look at the facts:

George Durham mentioned a gift of badges, but there is no description of them. No one knows what the "McNelly company badges" actually looked like or whether Rudd was one of the Rangers who received a badge.

  • There are no jeweler's records either confirming that J.D. Walker, the alleged supplier,  was the source for the badges. How he marked his jewelry and watches, if he did, is unknown.
  • No surviving documents from Ranger Rudd exist referring to a badge, and there are no known photographs of him wearing one. 
  • The alleged "McNelly company badges" are not similar to each other. Jewelers producing multiple badges for companies—such as Ira Aten's Ranger company badges—made close copies to speed and simplify the tedious work. 
  • The use of "FB" for "Frontier Battalion" is questionable. Capt. Leander McNelly's company was most often referred to as the "Special Force" formed under the Act to Provide for the Protection of the Frontier in 1874. While formed under the same legislation, McNelly's company was regarded as wholly separate from the Frontier Battalion, which was under the command of Major John B. Jones. 
  • The auction catalog states that Rudd served as a “private, corporal, lieutenant, and Captain.” The historical record ONLY support ranks of private, corporal and sergeant.
  • There is no documented chain-of-possession from Rudd to the present. 

Conclusive evidence it is required to establish authenticity beyond a reasonable doubt.

Legitimate sellers, dealers and museums document and plainly present available evidence. They limit their opinions to two areas: (1) whether the physical evidence stacks up (design, manufacture, materials and conformity to proven examples) and (2) the quality of the documentary evidence. Feelings, hearsay and hunches don't enter into it.

Current Design Texas Ranger Badges — 1962-Present

Beware Fake Badges

Current Design Badge


The current Texas Ranger badge was designed and developed in 1961-62 and approved in October of 1962. The 1962 Texas DPS press release below described the premier of this badge (although incorrect in details such as Rangers carving them out of coins themselves!)

Press Release – Texas Department of Public Safety

Colonel Homer Garrison, Jr., Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety and Chief of the Texas Rangers, announced in October 1962, that the Texas Rangers are going back to the tradition steeped in history of a Mexican silver badge worn by their predecessors during   frontier days.

Garrison said the new official Ranger badge, issued to each of the 62 members of the Force, is a replica of the historic original badge which old-time Rangers carved out of a Mexican five-peso silver dollar when Texas became a State and their duties changed from military to law enforcement.

The best information available indicates that the five-pointed star on the badge symbolized the “Lone Star” of Texas. The points are supported by an engraved wheel, which is termed the “wagon-wheel” badge.

Each badge is made from a Mexican five-peso silver coin. The oak leaves on the left side represent strength and the olive branch on the right signifies peace. These are taken from the Texas Great Seal. The cut-out center star has engraving on it and the center of the star is reserved for the Company designation or the rank of Sergeant or Captain or Senior Captain. The edges still often have the coin lines and the coin is still highly visible on the reverse of the badge. The five point “Lone Star” with a “wheel” around it is common in Ranger and other Texas badges from the late 1800’s.

The 1987 “Badge Law”

In 1987 the Texas Legislature enacted Texas Government Code Sec. 411.017 (see below) making it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess a real Texas Ranger badge or replica of the current design in the State of Texas.  To do so is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

Replicas are deemed to be in violation if they are “deceptively similar” to the current badge, meaning and a reasonable person would presume that it was prescribed by the department” and has the inscriptionsTexas Department of Public Safety,” “Department of Public Safety,” or “Texas Rangers.”

Beware Fake Badges

Illegal Replica Texas Ranger Badge

 Selling Badges as “Obsolete”: Occasionally an ad or auction house will advertise a badge as legal or “o.k. to sell” as they are “obsolete designs”  or “replicas.”

The badge to the right has the discontinued rank of sergeant, but it is still an illegal replica.  Its design, size and the inscriptions “Dept. of Public Safety” and “Texas Rangers” violate the statute.  Pin it on, or show it to a “reasonable person,” and they would assume it is real.

Badges for Sale at Auctions or Charity Fundraisers: Current-design badges sometimes appear at auctions and charity fund raisers.  They were often donated by descendants of Rangers or retired Rangers.  Prior to 1987 their sale was legal; some older Rangers and their descendants are unaware that their sale is illegal.

Wearing a Badge or Replica: Wearing a current-design Texas Ranger badge can be considered impersonating a police officer, a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Living History Reenactments, Movies & Television: There is no restriction on living history performers (reenactors) wearing replica 19th century badges in their reenactments.  However, if the badge is of the current design, only the Director of the Texas Rangers Division can grant permission, and then generally only to motion picture and television productions.

Out of State: Texas law is generally enforceable only within Texas. However, other states—and foreign countries—have reciprocal laws preventing trade, possession or wearing of law enforcement insignia and credentials.  Manufacturing, buying, selling or wearing a Texas Ranger badge in New York could get you arrested!  Shipping current-design Texas Ranger badges or replicas by United States mail, or by any type of commercial carrier, is a separate Federal offense.

Here is the current Statute:

Texas Government Code Sec. 411.017

(a) A person commits an offense if, without the director’s authorization, the person:

Manufactures, sells, or possesses a badge, identification card, or other item bearing a department insignia or an insignia deceptively similar to the department’s;

Makes a copy or likeness of a badge, identification card, or department insignia, with intent to use or allow another to use the copy or likeness to produce an item bearing the department insignia or an insignia deceptively similar to the department’s; or

Uses the term “Texas Department of Public Safety,” “Department of Public Safety,” “Texas Ranger,” or “Texas Highway Patrol” in connection with an object, with the intent to create the appearance that the object belongs to or is being used by the department.

(b) In this section, “department insignia” means an insignia or design prescribed by the director for use by officers and employees of the department in connection with their official activities.

An insignia is deceptively similar to the department’s if it is not prescribed by the department but a reasonable person would presume that it was prescribed by the department.

(c) A district or county court, on application of the attorney general or of the district attorney or prosecuting attorney performing the duties of district attorney for the district in which the court is located, may enjoin a violation or threatened violation of this section on a showing that a violation has occurred or is likely to occur.

(d) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that the object is used exclusively:

                    (1) for decorative purposes, maintained or preserved in a decorative state, and not offered for sale;

[Editor- a current design badge may be kept, if used purely as a decoration or historical artifact, but can never be privately manufactured bought, sold, traded or auctioned.]


                    (2) in an artistic or dramatic presentation, and before the use of the object the producer of the presentation notifies the director in writing of the intended use, the location where the use will occur, and the period during which the use will occur.

(e) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the object is shipped by United States mail or by any type of commercial carrier from a point outside the State of Texas to a point inside the state if the shipper or his agent has been sent notification by registered United States mail of this section prior to the shipment, in which event the offense is a felony of the third degree. [A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both jail time and a fine.]

Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 147, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 496, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Replica Badges

Beware Fake Badges

Replica – an accurate or inaccurate copy of a real badge.  A replica may violate the badge statute, but it does not constitute fraud unless it is advertised or sold with the statement or implication it is authentic. All of the badges shown above are based on the current 1962 current badge design.  All of them, especially the one on the second row, left, with “Dept. of Public Safety” might be presumed to be real and thus would be illegal.

Company “A” type badges, by far the most commonly seen today, are inaccurate replicas.  The most commonly seen replica badges bear Texas Ranger Company designations Co. A, B, C, D, E, F, HQ and the old Frontier Battalion.

Legitimate jewelry makers (cuff links, earrings, buckles, etc.) do incorporate fake or fantasy company badge design.  Some latitude has been extended by Texas DPS for decorative use where there has been no intention of fraud and "Texas Dept. of Public Safety" is not used in the design.


“Coin Backs”

Unscrupulous sellers often state “you can tell it's real because it was made from a Mexican coin.”  Many replica badges have impressions of Mexican or U.S. coins cast into their reverse.  A few older forgeries were made from real Mexican coins when silver was cheap.

Real Mexican coins are produced in mechanical coin presses, not cast.  A practiced eye can often see casting lines, errors in detail or distortions in lettering caused in the casting processThere are also examples, alleged to be from the 1880s and ’90s, with the image of a 1947-48 five pesos coin on the reverse.  Evidence of time travel?


Fake Frontier Battalion Badge

As of this date, no conclusively authenticated Texas Ranger badges are known to exist with “Frontier Battalion” or “F.B.” engraved on them. The Frontier Battalion was in service from 1874-1901. Some Frontier Battalion fakes have cast replicas of 1940s Mexican coins on their reverse.


"Blue Bottle Cap" Badge

This badge is a close copy of an unpopular enameled style worn by the Rangers briefly in the 1950s.  It was disparaged as the "Blue Bottle Cap" badge because it looked like a bright top of a 1950s soda bottle.  Despite the fact that Texas Rangers hated it, it is now appearing on the market in fairly large numbers.  Some variations of this badge have been made for use by security agencies and park rangers.


“Kid Rogers” Badge

This is a replica of the historic “Kid Rogers” badge licensed by the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. It was produced to give collectors a close replica of an early Ranger badge and to provide living history performers with an accurate prop. To discourage misrepresentation of these replicas as “real” badges, they have “replica” permanently marked on the reverse. Several minor changes were also made so the museum can confirm them as a replicas.

Common Fantasy Badges & Ranger Artifacts

Fantasy badges bear little resemblance to any authentic badge. They may incorporate design elements from real Ranger badges, military insignia, and other police badges as well as the designer’s flights of fancy. There are also fake artifacts made to look like Texas Ranger equipment.


Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #39

This fantasy badge resembles the half-moon New Orleans police badges and presentation badges from the Old West. It has a brass Lone Star and T-E-X-A-S element similar to that on the 1835 Texas Flag and items used by Confederate Texas troops in the Civil War.

Toy & Fantasy badgess

Six-Pointed Texas Ranger Toy

Six-pointed star badges abound, but the design was never used by the Texas Rangers. The badges on the left are among the older fantasy badges and have been used extensively in posters, postcards and art. They have been sold over the Internet as “1800s” badges despite 1960s design features.

Special_Ranger_Cattle Assoc

 Texas & Southwest Cattle Raisers Association

Special Ranger commissions have been given to sheriffs, private railroad detectives, oil company security officers, cattle detectives and retired DPS personnel. However, they were never issued badges similar to this one. This fantasy badge is commonly found at auctions and at gun shows and advertised over the internet as a Special Ranger badge.


Special Ranger Jimmie Belt displaying and wearing the real Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raiser’s Association badge. - Courtesy The Baytown Sun

Mills Belt Texas Ranger

“Texas Ranger” Mills Cartridge Belt Buckles

Texas Rangers did use US Army Mills-pattern webbed cartridge belts (“scout belts”) in the field. However, they had plain buckles and none are known to have been stamped or engraved with Texas Ranger badges or insignia. This example was made from a reproduction Mills belt buckle, complete with a fake patent inscription on the back. The “badge” on the front (see below) is loosely based on the 1962 design badge design — not an 1880s badge.


 Texas Rangers Co. “B” Arms & Ammo Key ring

This fantasy “Arms” and “Ammo” key ring made of stamped, distressed brass has shown up on Internet sales sites and at auctions. We suspect it was made overseas in India or Pakistan because of the misuse of “Sergeant of Arms” instead of “Sergeant at Arms.” There was no such rank or duty assignment.

A sergeant at arms is a person appointed to keep order during meetings — not a company quartermaster in charge of supplies, weapons and provisions.

Toy Badges

Beware Fake Badges

Toy Texas Ranger badges have been made for children since at least the 1930s and many are considered collectibles. However, a few unsuspecting customers have been sold toy badges as genuine ones, complete with letters of authenticity and concocted histories. Many toy badge makers have adopted six-pointed star designs—never used by the Texas Rangers. Toy badges are usually made of metal-colored plastic or “pot metal” and are hard to confuse with real Texas Ranger badges.

Sources of Replica, Fantasy and Toy Badges


Langenbacker & Sons Badges

The most commonly seen replica and fantasy badges were manufactured by D.R. Langenbacker & Sons Company of Bluffdale, Utah.

They are unmarked and often have details such as simulated Mexican coins on the reverse.

“Langenbacker badges” are common at gun shows, eBay and other auction sites, and at flea markets. Unwary collectors have paid high prices for them.

Old Langenbacker & Sons catalogs are now rare, so we have included these examples of some of the more common badges with their stock numbers.

Please let us know If you have an original Langenbacker catalog. We would like to add missing or better illustrations of their replica and fantasy Texas Ranger badges.

Our thanks to Steve Chorney for assistance with sources and illustrations.

Beware Fake Badges

Langenbacker & Sons Catalog
Special Agent #7

Texas Ranger Special Agents never existed.


Beware Fake Badges

Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #6
Floral Motif Texas Ranger Badge

This design is similar to a pre-1935 badge style (before official badges were sanctioned) worn by a few Rangers. In allegedly genuine examples, the Texas Ranger’s name frequently appeared at the top of the circle.


Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #39
Fantasy Texas Ranger Badge.

This fantasy badge resembles the half-moon New Orleans police badges and presentation badges from the Old West.  It has a brass Lone Star and T-E-X-A-S element similar to that on the 1835 Texas Flag and items used by Confederate Texas troops in the Civil War.


Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #43
Company “B”
Texas Ranger Fantasy Badge

This quality of this badge is well below anything that Texas DPS would have issued. The design borrows elements from the ca 1961 badge.

Ranger_Co _A

Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #54
Company” A”
Texas Ranger Fantasy Badge

Various Company “A” designs are the most commonly seen fake badges. Note the simulated coin back on this badge.


Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #221
Floral Motif Texas Ranger Badge.

This is a variation on Catalog #6. A primary difference is that the elements at either end of the word “TEXAS” are triangular rather than curlicues.


Beware Fake Badges

Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #240
Replica Texas Ranger Shield Badge.

Similar authentic shield badges are known.


Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #273
Frontier Battalion Co “D”
Texas Ranger Fantasy Badge.

The badge contains design elements from the 1962 badge.
No authenticated badges are known bearing the inscription “Frontier Battalion.”


Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #296
Replica Co “F” Shield Texas Ranger Badge


Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #300
Replica Captain’s Shield
Texas Ranger Badge

This general design was used from 1935 until the 1950s.

Sold by NIC Law Enforcement Supply


Sold by: NIC Law Enforcement Supply
Texas Rangers Co. “D” Badge
Item #M154; 
Offered for $19.95

This appears to be a derivative of the
Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #273 above.

The ad states: “It is a historically correct copy of the 1800’s Texas Rangers Co. “D” Badge replicated in great detail.” No authenticated badges are known bearing the inscription “Frontier Battalion.” The design is a derivative of the ca. 1961 badge design.


Sold by: NIC Law Enforcement Supply
Sold as:  Texas Ranger Old West Badge
Item #M164;
Offered for $19.95

This appears to be a derivative of the
Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #240 above.

An authentic version of this badge is known.


Sold by: NIC Law Enforcement Supply
Texas Rangers Co. “B” Badge
Item #M131
Offered for $19.95

This appears to be a derivative of the
Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #43 above.

The ad states: “You are now looking at the modern version of the Texas Rangers Badge. . .”


This badge, although crude, might be considered deceptively similar to Texas DPS badge, is marketed as such, and therefore in violation of the law. Texas Government Code Sec. 411.017 (a)(3).


Sold by: NIC Law Enforcement Supply
Texas Rangers Co. “A” Badge
Item #M179
Offered for $19.95

The ad states: “This badge is a replica of an early Texas Rangers Badge…”

No. Another example of the ubiquitous Company “A” fantasy badges.

Sold by Circle KB


Sold by: Circle KB
Sold as: Texas Ranger Company A-Old West Badge
PH-24; Offered for $14.95

The ad states: “This early Texas Ranger Company A badge was originally pressed out of a genuine Peso from Mexico. You can notice the reproduction looks the same with peso stamping on the reverse side as well.”

Actually, authentic “coin back” badges have been made from eight- and five-peso silver coins, fifty-peso gold coins and gold-plated silver after the price of gold escalated. This is an example of the many Company “A” fantasy badges with a simulated “coin back” cast into it.


Sold by: Circle KB
Texas Ranger Antiqued Silver Badge
CKB0239; Offered for $14.95

This appears to be a derivative of the Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #6 and #221 badges above.

Another example of the many Company “A” fantasy badges with a simulated “coin back.”


Sold by: Circle KB
Texas Rangers Company “B” Badge
PH-08; Offered for $14.95

The ad states: This type of badge was worn by Joe McKidrict who killed one time ranger turned bad man, Bass Outlaw in 1894.”

No; neither the badge nor the story is correct. Actually,  Bass Outlaw killed Ranger Joseph W. McKidrict. Several variations of this “1890’s flag badge” are known. They are commonly seen on Internet auction sites identified as genuine badges. Sorry, but the wreaths are a design feature found after 1962. This badge has been incorporated into artwork, toys and posters.


Sold by: Circle KB
Texas Rangers Company “B” Badge
CA14-117;  Offered for $9.95

Another fantasy badge sometimes sold as a child’s toy. This badge has been incorporated into artwork, toys and posters.

Special_Ranger_Cattle Assoc

Sold by: Circle KB
Special Ranger Cattle Assoc.
PH-47; Offered for $14.95

The ad States: “This badge came about when the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association decided to take matters into their own hands and track down rustlers in an effort to protect themselves and their herds.”

Some cattle detectives, railroad detectives and oil field security men were issued Special Ranger commissions. However, this badge is a fantasy.

Made by Sun Badge Co.


Sold by: Bob’s Badges (discontinued)Beware Fake Badges
Sold as: Texas Ranger Antiqued Silver Law Badge

Offered for $77
This badge might be considered deceptively similar to Texas DPS identification and therefore in violation of the law.
It is similar to Langenbacker badges #6 and #221.

Sun Badge Company is reputed to have made badges for the 1981 film The Legend of the Lone Ranger. Bob’s Badges of Michigan displayed it in their catalog with the note “Copy of the badge used in the Lone Ranger.”

Made by Walter Kuhn Beware Fake Badges W.Kuhn

TR 1935
TR 1930s rev

Made by: Walter Kuhn
Replica of 1935-era Texas Ranger Shield Badge

Walter Kuhn made high quality replicas of Texas Ranger badges. They have often been accepted as real because of their superior craftsmanship. They are frequently seen on eBay and other auction sites. Unlike other manufacturers, Kuhn marked his badges with the tiny hallmark WK inside an oval or semi-oval — or simply W.Kuhn.

 This badge is a replica of the first “official” badge issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1935. It bears the following impression for the L.A. Stamp & Stationary Company with his hallmark below it.


Beware Fake Badges

Unidentified Manufacturers


Sold As: Texas Ranger Antiqued Silver Law BadgeBeware Fake Badges
Manufacturer Unknown

This badge is similar to Langenbacker badges #6 and #221.

The reverse of the badge shows the blurred casting of a Mexican 5 Peso coin. The star in the center appears to have been crudely welded or soldered to the circular rim.

Our thanks to Steve Chorney for assistance with this information and illustrations.


Texas Ranger “Sheriff” badge
Sold on: eBay
Manufacturer Unknown,
Possibly Japanese

There are at least two variations of this six-pointed toy/fantasy badge. One is made of pressed pot metal and may date back to the 1950s or '60s (left). The second variety is sold as a Japanese toy (right), appears to be plastic, with plastic “jewels” set in the points of the star. There were no “Texas Ranger-Sheriffs” or legitimate six-pointed badges.


“Texas Ranger Special Agent . . .”Beware Fake Badges
Texas Ranger Fantasy Badge
Sold on: eBay
Manufacturer Unknown

“Texas Ranger Special Agents” didn’t exist. This appears to be a derivative of the Langenbacker & Sons Texas Ranger Special Agent #7 fantasy badge shown above.

The seller titled it “Texas Ranger Special Agent Police Sheriff Marshal” badge. That about covers all the bases!


Five-Pointed Star
Texas and Southwestern Cattleraisers Ass’n. Special Ranger

Sold on: eBay and Other Auction Sites
Manufacturer Unknown

This badge has been called genuine or a “commemorative” in various sales ads.

Special Ranger commissions are issued to some cattle detectives by the State of Texas. The real badge resembles current issue Texas Ranger badges. They are not five-pointed stars.

The respected cattle raisers organization spells its name: Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers (two words) Association. On the badge it erroneously spelled “Cattleraisers.”


e“Texas Ranger 1880s Badge Replica”
Sold on: eBay

This is the crudest fantasy badges we have seen. It is roughly-cut and poorly punched.

It vaguely resembles the Langenbacker & Sons Catalog #39 fantasy Badge similar to half-moon New Orleans police badges and presentation badges from the Old West.

The seller claims it to be made of silver-plated brass. It is decorated with a Lone Star and T-E-X-A-S similar to the design found on the 1835 Texas Flag.


Texas Rangers Co. CF Fantasy Badge
Image courtesy of Doug Martin

This circle-star replica badge is very loosely based on the 1962 Texas Ranger badge design. The olive and live oak branches are crude in comparison to authentic badges. The “Co CF” makes no sense. The reverse of the badge (not shown) is a coin back design with a reasonably authentic pin and closure. The manufacturer and date of this badge are unknown.