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Overcoat, Wool, Melton, OD, Roll Collar, M1939


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I have a heavy wool winter overcoat my dad had. It is in pristine condition with no signs of dirt/wear anywhere. It has been kept rolled up tightly in a metal can with mothballs and sealed with tape. He has the 82nd ABN patch on the left shoulder and the Allied Airborne on the right. I was once told these coats are of little value and might bring $20.00. Any ideas why these don't command a higher value?

 

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My collection is strictly what my dad brought back from the ETO.

Sgt. Mahlon E. Sebring, 82nd Airborne, 319th Glider Field Artillery, A Battery - Normandy, Holland, The Bulge, and Germany... finishing with occupation duty in Berlin

http://ww2-airborne....ts/319/319.html

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I've seen several overcoats with unit patches on them. I have one with a 3ID patch on it. I haven't located any definitive reference to the patches being authorized or not authorized for wear with the overcoat.

 

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The biggest problem with overcoats is displaying them. Like all collectibles its value is based on demand. Maybe not as many collectors have room or interest in the coats. I think your coat is worth much more than $20 though.

Collecting early US Army headgear and uniforms.



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Both patches and rank were worn on the WWII Overcoats (Horse Blanket), the one that followed it, not sure of the model number, OD with removable liner also had both. The Army Green overcoat had no insignia and if I am not mistaken the new black ones have only pin on rank.

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The one shown with the ABN patches would command a premium, if it were sold and had the history it does with it. Ordinarily though, unless its a coat with something unisual about it, or belonged to a high ranking officer, these can be had at bargain prices. I have several overcoats with insignia which may sell for a bit more than norma l- AAF 1LT's, Flying Tiger/CBI overcoat, and an early one with a multi-piece felt AAF GHQ pinwheel patch on it.

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I agree with the others that overcoats simply do not have the collector demand that other uniform equipment has. Of course, since this was you dad's coat it has no real monetary value anyway as money can't buy sentiment.

 

I find the overcoat interesting. The standard WWII overcoat was adopted 24 November 1939 and was not much changed from the 1927 or the 1918 style overcoats. There was one wartime change when the brass buttons were replaced with plastic buttons (to conserve brass as a strategic metal) during the war. The overcoat was often discarded by troops in the field as being too clumsy for use in combat. It was to be replaced with the Winter Combat uniform and was not sent to the ETO in any great numbers. These overcoats were sent to the ETO in the Winter of 1944-45 as an emergency measure because ETO HQ had underestimated the need for proper numbers of complete Winter Combat uniforms.

 

Here is an example of a fully patched overcoat for a Corporal of the US Forces Austria. Notice that this overcoat has the late war plastic buttons.

 

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"You can't please everyone so you have got to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

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The main reason these just don't command the premium they should is their sheer size and bulkiness. I love the old wool overcoats, but they pose a storage problem to anyone who wants to keep them as a part of their collection. Truly they are the WWII bargain of the day and can be had for $5-10; but if they are being shipped a long distance, expect to pay $12-20 due to weight. I guess a lot of collectors scoff at paying 2x-3x the article's value in postage alone. They are a great item though. I just wish they didn't take up so much room.

 

BTW, Greg, your overcoat would be one of the "Cadillacs" of the type. The patches alone put this item into a good amount of money. But the connection to your dad makes this one priceless.

I am actively seeking USMC Named Good Conduct Medals and items pertaining to the USS Indianapolis CA35.



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I have found as always, that the big ones sell the little ones don't. Of course Greg's fathers would bring big $$ just on the basis of the Airborne association. But Greg, please get it out of the moth balls, they will cause the plastic buttons to crystallize over time!! I would even get it dry-cleaned and hang it on a plastic hanger in a cloth garment bag

Paul Conrad
Still looking for quality wings!

www.conradwings.com
 

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I am bored prefixing everything I say with "I think" or "in my opinion".
Everything I say is my opinion; the only thing of which I am certain is that there is very little of which one can be certain.

 

 

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I'll remove the moth balls as it is tightly rolled up and sealed in a can with good old duct tape. So, today's modern day dry cleaning chemicals won't do it any harm? The thoughts of it tumbling around in some chemical filled drum causes me to shudder. I like the idea of hanging it in a garment bag on a wide hanger to avoid a shoulder crease.

My collection is strictly what my dad brought back from the ETO.

Sgt. Mahlon E. Sebring, 82nd Airborne, 319th Glider Field Artillery, A Battery - Normandy, Holland, The Bulge, and Germany... finishing with occupation duty in Berlin

http://ww2-airborne....ts/319/319.html

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I think one reason overcoats were never all that popular with collectors, is that even if they have patches on the sleeves, they don't have the "eye candy" appeal of say a badged-up Ike jacket. When my Dad returned from the war, he went back to farming and used his old GI overcoat as a work coat. He did shorten it to about the length of a Navy Peacoat so he could drive a tractor with it on cold days. I think that a lot of the old overcoats may have ended up as work garmets.

I still have my USAF overcoat from 1966 which was just about the same as the old Army "horse blanket", of WWII days, (except the color and buttons). I've even thought of replacing my chevrons that I cut off years ago and putting the coat in the "collection". But like some of you guys said, the bulk of those things discourage including them in many collections.

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