I recently acquired this 2nd pair of Model 1903 Suspenders, produced by
There were two variants of the Model 1903: Those produced by Mills, and
those produced by Russell. They differ in their method of manufacture,
as well as hardware.
The casual collector will observe that the Model 1903/07 cartridge belts,
whether produced by Mills or Russell, exist in large enough numbers so as
to be called common; however, the Model 1903 suspenders are very much
uncommon. Unlike the cartridge belts, which were replaced by the Model
1910, the Model 1903 suspenders were only made for a few years before
being replaced by the Model 1907.
The model 1903 suspenders are collectable due to their short production
cycle, as well as their consumptive attrition. As uncommon as the Model
1903 suspenders are, the Russell manufactured type are the least common
to observe. In the last ten years, I have only seen three on Ebay. This pair
was sold paired with a cartridge belt, and the seller did not identify them
in the listing. Prospective buyers would likely have missed them without
looking closely at the photos.