WONDERFUL, ORIGINAL CONDITION NEW YORK MAKER MARKED CIRCA 1820-1830'S ARTILLERY OR RIFLE OFFICER'S CHAPEAU DE BRAS

$3,950.00

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Item Code: 413-01

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This remarkable article of United States Army headgear is an early period, black felt hat that was referred to as a 'bicorn' or 'chapeau de bras'. Like most American uniforms of that period, this hat followed the French / Napoleonic influence in design. Worn by all line and staff officers of the army, this type chapeau was worn at a slight angle or 'sideways' atop the head.

The chapeau was produced in the early 1820's to the late 1830's by the firm of Charles St. John, hatter in New York City. Constructed of stiff black felt, the officer's chapeau has a 5½" high, 8½" wide, rounded crown that is hidden by a front facing, 8¼" high, steeply curved upright brim. Brim is 15" wide at the base and tapers up to a 6" wide, top edge. Likewise, the back of crown has a higher 9½" steeply curved, upright brim that has the same dimensions as the front. Hat has no visor. Front upright brim is decorated with a circular patch of fine, black, silk material approximately 7" wide diameter sewn to the felt. Attached to the black silk at the top edge of the hat is a thin, brass, spread-winged eagle insignia facing to his right, with a set of five arrows in his right talon and an olive branch in his left talon. Directly below the eagle is a hand-sewn decoration of black shiny beads that form an intricate, unknown design. Bottom portion of the design stitching has frayed and appears to be missing a number of the black beads. A 2½" wide band of high quality, black ribbon is glued to the front center of the brim and forms a large 'V' pattern. Inside edge of the hat crown has the original 2¼" wide buff colored leather sweatband that exhibits a few rips and tears. A beige-colored cloth of silk or polished cotton material is used as a liner inside the crown. Clearly visible on the original liner is the maker's stamp in black ink that reads, "C. St. JOHN, / 118 / BROADWAY, / New York". Liner is torn and exhibits rips and large areas of fraying.

Black felt surface of the hat is stiff but faded with areas of moderate soiling and grime. Top right side of the back brim has two, 1½" long tears along the edge. To set this chapeau off as an artillery or rifle officer's hat is a 4" long tassel made of spun gold and dead bullion that is attached via a small brass button pinned to the body.

This surviving article of U.S. military headdress worn by American officers in the early part of the 1800's is a fine original specimen that would make a fitting addition to any collection of U.S. Army headgear.

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