Boy Scout Position Patches, Pins, and Insignia are a direct descendant of the pseudo-military organizational structure of the Scouts and its focus on leadership. These insignia are an easy way to recognize the organizational rank of a Scout or Leader. Position Insignia are typically divided into two types: Adult Position Insignia and Youth Scout Position Insignia. Adult Positions are also classified into Volunteer and Professional Insignia, respectively. Click on the links to skip to that section.
Youth Position Insignia:
Typical Youth Insignia include positions such as Senior Patrol Leader (& Assistant), Patrol Leader, Bugler, Scribe, Historian and similar positions that are part of a Troop’s hierarchy for Scouts. Most of these items will not be especially valuable, topping out around $20-30 in most cases. The most collectible patches date to the teens and twenties when there were combination rank / position patches for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks that used silver embroidery to denote Patrol Leader status, and could also be paired with a Bugler or Scribe Insignia Below.
Other Youth Insignia you might run across include some leadership position patches and insignia for Order of the Arrow officers, position patches for Air, Sea, Explorer, Venture or Varsity Scouting Programs. There are also rank Pins for the lapels and hat that exist are are collectible as well.
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Adult Scout Position Insignia:
Adult Position Insignia are further categorized into two other categories: Volunteer and Professional Positions.
Volunteer Adult Scout Position Insignia:
Volunteer Insignia are for adults who participate in Scouting for free, they are typically parents of Scouts and serve as Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters in most cases at the Troop level. There are typically also Adult positions at the District and Council levels that are performed by Adults. The most collectible items to keep a look out for are early Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Position Patches and Pins, as well as the Scoutmaster’s Key Award. These are shown below, click any image for a larger picture.
Professional Adult Scout Insignia:
Professional Insignia are worn by Adult Scouters who work full time and are compensated by the Boy Scouts of America organizations. These include District, Council, Regional, and National level Scouting Executives and there are many positions and insignia you may run into at any given organizational level. In general, the higher the organizational level and the older, the more valuable the items will be. Below are examples of some early Scout Executive patch and pin types. Generally items with a Scout Emblem surrounded by a wreath will be an insignia related to a Professional Scouter. There are many varying color combinations that will denote the exact position of the individual, but there are too many to discuss here. A good rule to know is that silver is considered a higher rank than gold in Scouting so the more silver coloring on an insignia, the higher position it relates to. On older patches you will see this type of breakdown:
|1||Council / Scout Commissioner||Silver||Silver||Silver|
|2||Asst. Council / Scout Commissioner||Silver||Gold||Silver|
|3||District / Deputy Scout Commissioner||Gold||Silver||Silver|
|4||Asst. Districk / Deputy Commissioner||Gold||Gold||Silver|
|5||Unit / Neighborhood Commissioner||Gold||Gold||Gold|