Winter Treasure Hunting in Upstate New York, page 15

Discovery of a Vintage Badge - "Saint Christopher Be My Guide"

At a closer look, I could see a dirigible (blimp), a steamship, an airplane and an automobile, with a figure of a saint carrying an infant inside a compass and surrounded with an inscription: "Saint Christopher Be My Guide". That was a silver-plated copper badge - a really nice find! I had not seen anything like that before. Tim was a "happy camper" as all his efforts were rewarded! And he managed to recover this badge without damaging it considering the worst case conditions of the ground!

Authentic 'Saint Christopher Be My Guide' Visor Badge, ca. 1920s, Provides Divine Protection for Travellers
"Saint Christopher Be My Guide" Badge

Later, through my quick research, I found out that this was a car visor badge widely used by travelers for divine protection. It symbolized five most popular means of transportation in the 1920s, and St. Christopher as the patron saint of travelers.

Brief History of St. Christopher

"St Christopher is unlikely to have existed as a historical figure, but neither this nor his demotion by the Roman Catholic Church in 1969 has diminished his enduring popularity. Before the 1969 reform of the Roman calendar, Christopher was listed as a martyr who died under Decius. By the fifth century AD, St Christopher was venerated in part of what is now Turkey, and his cult subsequently spread throughout Europe. According to the principal legend that grew up around him, he served Christ by carrying travelers across a river. On one occasion, he carried a small child who grew heavier (the weight of the whole world) as they progressed through the water and who eventually revealed himself as Christ. The name Christopher means 'Christ-bearer' in Greek.

From the thirteenth century, the saint was generally portrayed as a bearded giant carrying an infant Jesus, often steadying himself with a staff. The belief that looking at his image would sustain travelers led to his being represented both at a large scale on exterior walls and at a small scale on medals and amulets like this piece recovered by Tim. The full inscription should read: "St. Christopher be my guide, protect us on land, sea, and air." Nothing else is known about him. His former feast day is July 25.

Nowadays, the visor badges and medals with a symbol of St. Christopher are still popular, and many reproductions of vintage badges are sold to modern travelers. Here is an exact copy of Tim's find:

A Modern Replica of Saint Christofer Be My Guide Car Visor Badge
A Modern Replica of "Saint Christopher Be My Guide" Car Visor Badge

I congratulated Tim, told him about the good coin signal waiting for my attention, and quickly returned to the 'coin' spot. The weather began to worsen, so I had to hurry up hewing a hole through the "permafrost" to get to a "keeper".