US 1884/85 INFANTRY DRESS COAT

$395.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1235-56

This is a very good example of the US infantry dress coat of the Indian Wars. This pattern is usually designated the 1885, but was actually adopted for infantry in late October 1884, with the other branches of service following the next year. The salient differences from M1872 infantry dress coat were the adoption of white as the branch of service color, a shorter collar completely faced with white, lack of belt loops (which had officially been dropped earlier,) longer tail facings, and the use of the 1883 pattern buttons. This has all nine 1883 pattern eagle buttons in place on the front, six on the facings of the tail opening, a smaller on each shoulder tab, and three smaller ones on the cuff plackets. The lapels are piped with white cord. One hook is present at the collar throat. We see no eye in place on the other side. There is virtually no moth damage.

The body is fully lined in white in the sleeves and upper body, padded in the chest, and with a black lining now oxidized slightly toward green in the skirts. The body lining shows sweat stains on the back of the neck and upper chest, and has separated from the collar at the top of the neck in the back, now held by some safety pins. There is one small spot of fraying from this on the bottom of the collar lining at left rear, and there is small hole in the body lining about 1 ¼ inch in diameter in lower right back. We see just on small ¼ inch hole in the skirt lining in the left front. We see no interior breast pocket and no quartermaster or maker stamps, and we notice that the chest, while padded does not show lines of quilting, so the body lining may have been replaced or added over the original, and the small hole on the wearer’s lower left back seems to show quilting behind it. We see a stamp at the upper rear reading “Charles Chrisdie & Co.” which was a New York City theatrical costume rental company in the early twentieth century. They are well known among Civil War collectors as the source for many mint condition uniforms, and some equipment, they had bought as surplus as a cost-effective means of supplying Civil War or just military themed theatrical productions. As theatrical demand dropped off, collector interest picked up and in the 1960s and costume companies became a treasure trove for collectors and dealers: Norm Flayderman cleaned out much of Chrisdie’s inventory. In any case, we see some names and size stamps on the lining as well, so it is possible the body lining, and maybe the collar lining, too, were added by Chrisdie’s seamstresses to improve it for rental for stage use. We are certainly not about to remove the lining to check, but it is a good guess. In any case, the coat is a military issue coat bought as surplus for use in rentals, not a costume made up by the company. It displays well and would make a great addition to an Indian Wars US infantry display.    [sr][ph:L]

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