Uniforms Authentic Confederate Shell Jacket?

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copley

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Spokane, WA
I recently came into possession of what appears to be a shell jacket, but as I am definitely not an expert on antique cloth or ACW uniforms, I wanted to throw it out to the members of the site for assessment. As a preface, I know how rare Confederate coats are, with them being taken home and worn by most Southerners until they fell apart. I acquired this one for very little, and so will not be terribly crushed if it is deemed to be a repro/counterfeit.

The jacket came to me from PA, but I have no provenance otherwise. It has six block-font Infantry buttons, as pictured, which all appear to be cast (no back marks). The jacket is dead under a black light, save for some stitching used to repair both armpits (interior). I know that means little, but wanted to mention. There is also some black stitching that was used to repair a few places around the seams, and which looks more modern, like the thread in the armpits. I've included pictures of both cuffs, as you can see the reverse of the exterior fabric, and thought it might help. The jacket has a slightly musty smell, like earthen basement, and the external fabric is dry and fairly coarse, though reasonably pliable in the hands. I would probably judge it to be about a contemporary men's small? Definitely no bigger.

I can provide additional pics if needed, and will certainly answer any questions to the best of my ability. Many thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas CWT!!!

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Last edited:
Joined
Dec 31, 2010
Location
Kingsport, Tennessee
I recently came into possession of what appears to be a shell jacket, but as I am definitely not an expert on antique cloth or ACW uniforms, I wanted to throw it out to the members of the site for assessment. As a preface, I know how rare Confederate coats are, with them being taken home and worn by most Southerners until they fell apart. I acquired this one for very little, and so will not be terribly crushed if it is deemed to be a repro/counterfeit.

The jacket came to me from PA, but I have no provenance otherwise. It has six block-font Infantry buttons, as pictured, which all appear to be cast (no back marks). The jacket is dead under a black light, save for some stitching used to repair both armpits (interior). I know that means little, but wanted to mention. There is also some black stitching that was used to repair a few places around the seams, and which looks more modern, like the thread in the armpits. I've included pictures of both cuffs, as you can see the reverse of the exterior fabric, and thought it might help. The jacket has a slightly musty smell, like earthen basement, and the external fabric is dry and fairly coarse, though reasonably pliable in the hands. I would probably judge it to be about a contemporary men's small?

I can provide additional pics if needed, and will certainly answer any questions to the best of my ability. Many thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas CWT!!!

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copley

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Spokane, WA
Upon examining the buttons a bit closer, I see that all six of them are attached with the same black threading that has been used to repair the seams. A mid-20th C revitalization of grandpa's old jacket?
 
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drjekyll76

Corporal
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
Location
South Jersey
i believe that this is an older reenactor jacket, but the buttons are real and not a reproduction one. they did make cast one piece buttons back then
 

ucvrelics

Major
Forum Host
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
i believe that this is an older reenactor jacket, but the buttons are real and not a reproduction one. they did make cast one piece buttons back then
They did make solid cast I buttons back then and they still make them today. I beg to disagree. The buttons are reproductions as well. I have dug over 100 CS 1 piece cast I buttons and they don't look anything like these.
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Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
The jacket appears to be a reproduction, as are the buttons, glad you did not pay much for it. Confederate shell jackets are one of the most rare pieces of ACW cloth and one of the most reproduced.

Older reenactor pieces are now such that they have the look. One aspect of wool that can not be faked is the stiffness that it acquires over time. The natural oils (lanolin) are depleted.
 

copley

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Spokane, WA
The jacket appears to be a reproduction, as are the buttons, glad you did not pay much for it. Confederate shell jackets are one of the most rare pieces of ACW cloth and one of the most reproduced.

Older reenactor pieces are now such that they have the look. One aspect of wool that can not be faked is the stiffness that it acquires over time. The natural oils (lanolin) are depleted.
Appreciate the replies, @Package4 and gang. Tough to describe the stiffness of the fabric. Like I said, it's coarse, and nothing like new fabric, but still bendable. Any other tell tale signs to look for, far as assessment? Sounds like the verdict is pretty squarely a reenactor piece, as the overwhelming odds would dictate, but hate to discard or mistreat a relic that WAS original. Also, if indeed early reenactor, should this be preserved/valued to any extent? Thanks again!
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Appreciate the replies, @Package4 and gang. Tough to describe the stiffness of the fabric. Like I said, it's coarse, and nothing like new fabric, but still bendable. Any other tell tale signs to look for, far as assessment? Sounds like the verdict is pretty squarely a reenactor piece, as the overwhelming odds would dictate, but hate to discard or mistreat a relic that WAS original. Also, if indeed early reenactor, should this be preserved/valued to any extent? Thanks again!
Just to let you know the main attributes that point me to reproduction are the machine stitched button holes, heavy cotton lining, one piece collar and repro buttons. I do not believe the jacket has value beyond a decent reproduction, which would put it in the $125-150 range. Just my opinion.
 
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copley

Private
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Spokane, WA
Just to let you know the main attributes that point me to reproduction are the machine stitched button holes, heavy cotton lining, one piece collar and repro buttons. I do not believe the jacket has value beyond a decent reproduction, which would put it in the $125-150 range. Just my opinion.
Good deal - I appreciate the details, @Package4 ! Always looking to educate myself, and will tuck away. This site is amazing for its trove of knowledge.
 
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