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shako


jim lemon
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Jim

Been away and just saw your post. I'm nothing like an expert on Portuguese Napoleonic shakos, but I have worn a shako on many many weekends over the last 20 years as a re-enactor of that period [War of 1812, British vs. Americans]. So, I suspect that the liner may be a replacement.

Black shakos do a very nice impression of a gas oven on 'Roast' in the summer months and this liner looks far too white and lacking in sweat stains and fraying to have been worn very much. The rest of the piece looks suitably worn and faded, however, so perhaps that one piece is new or perhaps my aging eyes are deceiving me as to the colour and condition. Close-ups of the construction details - plume holder, buttons, stitching on the leather top might help too.

Does the piece come with any provenance and, I should ask, is the price such that it would make fakery worthwhile? I wouldn't want to put you off a purchase on that slim evidence alone. Many times, an artifact 'in the hand' produces a gut feeling that photos simply can't produce and, I must say, the rest of the piece looks good to me but sadly, neither life nor collecting never come with a guarantee and in the end one goes with a best guess.

I know all that is not nearly as helpful an answer as you likely want, but I felt the question deserved answering. Hope its of some small help.

Sincerely,

Peter

Edited by peter monahan
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Hi Peter, thanks for the link what an awesome museum! And, yes my shako seems to be similar to those. I'm still not sure on the originality of the shako. It is either an excellently made repro, (better than any other I've seen) or an original that was never issued. I think you have a good idea in that the liner could of been replaced. On the shako's you've seen, is it typical that the entire inside is lined in linen? I folded back the leather sweat band to get a look at the drawstring liner and the inside of the shako is also lined and handstitched in a whipstitch to the sides of the cap. Also the drawstring liner is handstiched and the cord appears to be a very fragile silk, which has become frayed. Fortunately I paid @ what a good repro costs, although I've never thought about portraying a Portuguese soldier in the Peninsular campaign : )

Thanks,

Jim

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Oh and I had to wear a shako for 4 years in military school, so I know exactly what you mean about how they can roast the sweat right out of the skull. The liner on this shako is far to clean. What an unpractical item of military dress, whoever invented the shako sure was sadistic.

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Jim

I can't take any credit for the link. That was Peron. But I'm glad my guesses make sense to someone else with experience in shakos. Hand stitching would suggest an original to me, or a forger who's a lousy businessman, as neither the price you suggest nor the potential market would make such forgeries worth while, IMHO. So, on balance, it sounds like an original unissued or refurbished. Lovely piece though! [thumbs up]

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