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KurtA

M1903 Style Campaign Hat

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I bought this at auction a couple of days ago (museum was liquidating). I would say it is a private purchase version of the M1903 US Army Campaign Hat. The star vents are different from the issue version and it has the type of maker's logo not found in an issue hat. It was made by G.W. Alexander of Reading, Pa. They were in business for a long time (i.e., decades either side of 1900). The cord appears to be dark OD green with gilt flecking. I'm wondering if this is an officer's cord where the black faded to a dark shade of green (I've seen this with the lining of older coats). The 17th Inf Badge, is not something typically associated with officers, but I don't know if officers wore them on these hats. It's unusual in that it is hallmarked with "Patent Applied For." (don't usually see that on these M1895 hat badges - so perhaps it's a very early one.)

So, any thoughts you guys who really know this stuff can provide me on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Kurt

 

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Great looking Campaign hat.


In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
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This is a pattern 1885 campaign hat.

 

I'm not sure if the hat-cords are correct for the period, or are a decade

later and have been added.


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This is a pattern 1885 campaign hat.

 

I'm not sure if the hat-cords are correct for the period, or are a decade

later and have been added.

 

That's interesting. Based on the star vents, I was only thinking M1903. As this came out of a military museum in Gettysburg, Pa (as opposed to somebody's attic), it's quite possible it had a cord and insignia added for display purposes. I guess there's no way to tell.

Thanks for your input!

Kurt


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These photos were originally posted by forum member RayG.

They are a great method of identifying the vent patterns and

subtle differences.

 

The images are as follows:

 

P1885 Campaign Hat

post-1529-0-31083200-1416768258.jpg

 

P1899 Campaign Hat

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P1904 Campaign Hat

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All the hats in my collection (x4) are currently the same pattern as the one

you have (P1885).

 

Yours is an excellent find, BTW.

 

Msn


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Thanks again for that excellent info. The auction had this listed as a reproduction WW1 officer's hat. (Which really helped with my bidding!)


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Yes Kurt, this is the earlier (actually 1889) pattern "snowflake" vent pattern hat, not the 1902 "star vent". It does have the two rows of stitching which is good, as many private purchased hats had no stitching. Some private purchase hats did however have two rows of stitching, and often printed U.S. Army Regulation Hat on the sweatband. Original contract pieces as I have read came in 6 sizes, No. 1 through 6. If yours is sized by actual size (ie: size 7) I would say likely a private purchase piece. I am sorry, of the many references I have, I cannot find a list of contractors for this hat, but maybe another forum member can help. Since I have been collecting Marine Corps here for a while, I will opine that I believe it is this hat that our Span Am Marines were first issued. Huntington's battalion was said to receive campaign hats of mouse grey color, and initially, Marines placed an ega on the side of the hat. A pretty well known photo of Marines in China in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 shows this. I have seen several 1902 star vent campaign hats recently with the ega placed on the side, however several references indicate that months after the Boxer Rebellion, the ega was now placed on the front of the hat, suggesting the star vent hat always had an ega on the front if Marine. Sorry......didn't mean to get carried away. Back to your hat, a very nice one of the style worn by Roosevelt and his Rough Riders and most others during SAW. Congrats on a nice acquisition, these are getting tough to find especially in that condition. Oh yeah, I agree, probably a typical black and gold officers cord and the black had faded to greenish, have seen this many times before. Unlikely made green and black, which was introduced much later for the air corps I believe. Kevin


I am eagerly collecting Pre-WWII USMC material. Any Marine Corps Span Am era, WWI, Banana Wars, or China Marine related material is especially sought after.

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We just need to dress up the patterns. 1889 was the snowflake vent, actually from an earlier 1883 pattern hat (of which there are no surviving examples). 1899 had the larger screen vent, 1902 the star pattern holes. I just located reference where the contract 1889 hats had three rows of stitching, so your with exact size and two rows I would say is definitely private purchase. Not un-common especially for officers and wouldn't bother me a bit. If you cant live with it, please let me know (ha!). Kevin


I am eagerly collecting Pre-WWII USMC material. Any Marine Corps Span Am era, WWI, Banana Wars, or China Marine related material is especially sought after.

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Learning a lot here! Didn't realize I knew so little about pre WW1 campaign hats. At least I knew just enough to know it was something I needed to come away with at the auction. I was shocked when all the Civil War collectors bailed when it reached $120. I figured one of them would have known something.


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Yeah do did great sounds like. The contract ones will fetch the premium, especially attributed to an active unit, but yours in that condition, would be priced pretty high on moist dealer sites.


I am eagerly collecting Pre-WWII USMC material. Any Marine Corps Span Am era, WWI, Banana Wars, or China Marine related material is especially sought after.

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Yeah do did great sounds like. The contract ones will fetch the premium, especially attributed to an active unit, but yours in that condition, would be priced pretty high on moist dealer sites.

 

I'm just happy to have it. It's a nice addition to my collection of "stuff."


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