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PATTERN 1872 OFFICER’S UNDRESS UNIFORM COAT – EXCELLENT CONDITION w/ ORIGINAL LIEUTENANT COLONEL SHOULDER STRAPS – BEAUTIFUL SPECIMEN:  Introduced during a time when most army officers did not wear, much less own, a suit of civilian clothing, these Pattern 1872 Officer’s Undress Uniform Coats were intended to be worn, as stated in the regulations:  “…for fatigues, marches, squad and company drills, and other drills when a authorized by the commanding officer, and for ordinary wear….”.   A simple design similar in cut to the enlisted blouses of the era, these Undress Coats were trimmed with a mohair braid highlighted with trefoils which terminated each end of the braid surrounding the buttons, creating a distinctive appearance for the officer as he made his way through his daily routine. 

This 1872 Undress Coat (also referred to as a blouse) shows obvious signs of having been part of an officer’s wardrobe, evidenced by the presence of the shoulder straps, but it was gently worn, properly stored, and has survived in excellent condition as a very respectable specimen of genuine Indian War era uniforming worn on the frontier.   

The coat presents in as close to “like new” condition as is possible, having been worn.  There is no mothing, wear spots, or damage of any kind.  The wool is very solid with no weak points, and no open seams.  There is no wear to the collar, cuffs, or bottom edge of the blouse - unusual to find on these original uniforms.    

The coat is adorned with a very desirable, and quite rare, matched pair of the Officer's Pattern 1851 Shoulder Straps.  Introduced before the Civil War, this same pattern was worn by officers on their garrison and field uniforms through the end of the 19th Century, in the halls of the War Department and the parade fields of the frontier forts alike.  Normally found today separated from the officers’ uniforms, and more often than not as single pieces, finding a uniform coat with both straps in place is unusual in itself.  This pair is particularly nice, matched in every way, and no doubt on the coat since the officer wore it.  Measuring 4” long and 1 ˝” wide, these straps are full form and have survived in excellent condition.  Each strap bears the two fully intact silver oak leaves signifying the rank of lieutenant colonel, on a dark blue wool field indicating the officer served on a general staff or in one of the staff corps.  While a staff officer’s shoulder straps might not create the exciting mental images as those worn by a cavalry or infantry officer, these staff officers performed critically important functions such as Ordnance and Engineers. 

Surrounding the dark blue field is a very pronounced border of 3/8” wide embroidered high quality gold bullion.  These borders have some tarnish, but still retain much of the original glitter, with no tears or wear points, and the embroidery is still firmly attached to the base.  Along the inside and outside edges of the embroidered bullion is a fine border of jaceron, the thin bullion bead characteristic to well made shoulder straps.  The jaceron is fully intact, with one separation at one corner, but no missing sections.   The dark blue wool field on both straps is fully intact, showing no wear and retaining an even clear color.  The straps are full form and lay flat against the coat with none of the curling often found in these old straps.      

The collar, front and bottom edges, the front and cuffs are all trimmed with the regulation black mohair braid.  The most notable decoration to the coat are the trefoils on the front of the coat, applied in pairs to the right and left of each of the four lower buttons.  (The trefoils were referred to in the regulations as “herring-bone loops”.)  As dictated in the regulations, each sleeve is decorated with “a knot of black braid…..on the upper part of the cuff”.  All of the mohair braid is fully intact, securely sewn with no loose spots, and in overall excellent condition with no fading or wear. 

The five original Indian War era Staff Officer buttons with their distinctive standing rim are intact down the front of the blouse.  Buttons at the cuff of the sleeves were not called for in the regulations, and while some officers chose to add them, cuff buttons were never intended as part of the design of this coat.      

The body of the coat is lined with black/dark green polished satin and the sleeves are lined with a brown and tan striped satin.  These linings are all in excellent condition with no wear or damage.   

Due to the day to day wear the coats were subjected to, and that they were worn into field, and then coupled with the limited number of officers in the army during the Indian War, these coats are not particularly common.  This is a very respectable example of the desirable Indian War Officer’s Pattern 1872 Undress Coat, one which would be an attractive addition to your collection, and would be almost impossible to upgrade.  (0503) $2175

 

NOTE:  To say that photographing dark blue wool is a challenge is an understatement.  Its closer to a nightmare.  In normal lighting, it appears black and none of the finer features or condition details can be seen clearly.  In order to highlight the features and provide you with an accurate view of the material, I have to lighten the contrast of the photograph which in turn causes the even colored dark blue wool to appear faded or discolored when such is not the case.  This coat is an even dark blue color as is seen in background wool surrounding the close up photograph of the button.  Trust that you will not be disappointed in this coat. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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