GREAT LOOKING GAR VETERAN’S HAT WITH (A POSSIBLY WARTIME) FIRST DIVISION THIRD CORPS EMBROIDERED BULLION CORPS BADGE

$795.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 480-324

This is a great example of the regulation hat for members of the Grand Army of the Republic, the largest of the Union veterans’ organizations. It is in excellent condition, with solid fabric and strong color, showing just a little fading to the knot of the grosgrain ribbon around the base of the crown, with the sweatband in place inside, the metallic G.A.R. hat badge on the front, the regulation black and gold G.A.R. hat cord around the base showing some scattered wear, and a corps badge on the left. It is creased fore and aft as regulation for the G.A.R. hat, though sometimes termed a slouch hat by collectors.

The sweatband has a maker or retailer ink stamp inside: “SPRINGFIELD HAT & CAP CO. / Springfield, Mass.,” hinting perhaps the owner was a Massachusetts veteran. His name, or what we take to be his name, appears to its left, in ink script. We have not been able to decipher it, but there appear to be two initials and a short last name that might yield to a good black light.

Just as interesting as the name is the very high-quality red third corps badge sewn on the left side of the hat. This is in the lozenge shape that supplanted the squarish diamond of the 3rd Corps mid-summer or fall 1863 and consists of a red wool center, for the first division, and an embroidered bullion border with narrow, jaceron wire edging, as on a shoulder strap, along its outer and inner edge. It is in very good condition, with just one small moth nip near the center of the field and wear to a couple strands of the bullion border at right, exposing some of the cording beneath.

While we can’t guarantee it as war-time production, it does have the quality and construction of a high-grade commercially produced badge that we’d like to see in a wartime officer’s badge, though the jaceron wire edging is even a cut above that. In any case, the corps and division association might provide and identification when cross-referenced against the hand-written name in the sweatband.

The Grand Army of the Republic was the largest of the U.S. Civil War veterans’ associations. Founded in 1866, it had great social and political influence in the late 1800s, reaching a peak membership of more than 400,000 in 1890. They adopted a uniform evoking their wartime garb with both a kepi and the broad brim hat as part of their regulation uniform. [sr] [ph:L]

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