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Uniform Identification Assistance

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Hello,  I am new to this Forum and am writing from the USA.  I own a 150 year old theatrical costumer and we have a large stock of vintage clothing and uniforms ... we recently discovered these coats and a pair of pants and hat ... and have no real means of identification.  I'm posting images here, with the hope that someone will recognize them and help me to catagorize them !!  

Thanks in advance,
























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Posted (edited)

I didn't want to chime in thinking some top French uniform experts in this forum would tackle this I.D. but I guess they've been furloughed.   

Both tunics are French 3rd Republic from around the turn of the century.  These light blue color tunics were worn by both the Chausseurs a Cheval and the Hussards.  The particular style of your tunic along with the red stand-up collar and the unique cuff-detail indicate that they were officers tunics for the Chausseurs a Cheval.  The tunic with 3 stripes belonged to a captain.  The one with 2 stripes... a 1st lieutenant.  The red officer's trousers were worn when the Chausseurs a Cheval weren't wearing their red riding breeches and boots.  These pants are in great shape and a collector would pay premium bucks to have this in his collection.  The red kepi was worn when the Chausseurs were not wearing their light blue shakos with the dark blue plumes, although this was also a standard kepi for several branches of service in France.  The replacement buttons with the Texas style lone-stars look ridiculous, unless you plan to wear this tunic to a rodeo in Dallas.  Hope this helps you.  Simi.  

p.s. I forgot to mention the embroidered flaming grenades on the collar.  I have to check my reference books on whether or not this is correct for this tunic.  Does it look like the flaming grenades were sewn on recently?

Edited by Simius Rex
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 Thanks again! Even I was worried about those buttons!

I posted some pictures of two not very exciting uniforms in the Canadian section. Would you mind taking a look at the first one with the breast pockets and giving me your opinion. I have a lot of them and the buttons on them seem to be general service buttons post war. The uniforms seem to be much earlier 1880's ,1890's. I would value you opinion.





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Posted (edited)


as Simius as pointed out, the buttons on the captain's tunic are a bit of an issue. However, with regards to the grenade on the collar; that is the insignia of a non staff qualified (non breveté) officer attached to the general staff. Qualified staff officers (breveté) wore "Lightening rods" or foudre on their regimental uniforms.

They are  model 1898 officers' tunics for the Chasseurs à cheval. Prior to this, a braided hussar style jacket (dolman) was worn.



Edited by Glenn J
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A shame that the 'star' buttons have been added.  The fact that they are permanently attached by rivets is both unfortunate and a clear sign that they are later additions. :(


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Thanks so much for your posts. I think I may be able to remove the buttons with little or no damage to the tunic .As regards to the grenades on the collar, it is hard to tell when they were added. I know they have been there for over 50 years and believe them  to be original to the coat. I am beginning to think that these uniforms are part of a production of  the Massenet opera      " La Navaraise" produced at the Met in the 1890's. I have found other uniforms from that period identifying them as such.: and the tenor is a captain. This explains why I have the uniforms, but unfortunately not the buttons.

Thanks again,


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