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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Cap Authenticity


HelloDoug

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Hi there,

 

I recently acquired this cap, however I’m unsure of how to identify if it is genuinely from the First World War or not, there’s no markings on the inside and it’s in generally very good condition, although smells pretty musty!

 

Is someone with some knowledge able to have a look at these photos and let me know what you think?

 

Many thanks!

image.jpg

image.jpg

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It's in very good condition (virtually pristine) for a piece of headwear that would ostensibly be around a hundred years old and, given wear and tear and natural deterioration over the decades that one would ordinarily expect to see, it seems to me unlikely to be original.  The leather chin strap likewise.  However, whoever manufactured it it's been well made and looks correct for the 1916 soft cap, that it is supposed to be.  Someone has gone to a lot of trouble sourcing the right type of cloth, etc. but the white lining to the top and absence of the usual markings inside suggest something made for the reenactor market and their dressing up boxes.  Nonetheless, I'm not an expert on identifying such items just from a photograph and you really need a proper period clothing specialist to examine it physically to get an accurate assessment.  I am only able to give an assessment based upon your photos, and nothing beats a thorough, physical examination.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Condition isn't an issue as near mint items do turn up. 

 

There was a batch of immaculate soft caps about 20 years ago, that were still wrapped in tissue. They have been round the block now, and some resurface in tissue today. Main problem was that they had been stored folded flat forever, and it took ages to reshape them. The chinstraps were in similar condition and the one in question could pass.

 

The bigger problem with this is that the lining is incorrect and the crown should be in 'American Cloth' (a black, plasticky oilcloth type material). The sweatbands started as flannel, but were switched to American Cloth in time too.

 

That said, very well made regardless.

 

There is one dealer in particular out there at the moment who is selling tons of repro headgear as mint original, although his tend to come with spurious markings/ labels and the details are wrong. Quality is good though, and would fool the untutored.

 

Cheers,

 

GT.

 

Edited by Grovetown
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It's really nicely made (probably made to deceive) but to my eye definitely a reproduction. 

  • The bill looks a bit too large.
  • There should be 5 rows of stitching around the band.
  • As Grovetown noted, the lining should be black oil cloth.
  • It's difficult to explain, but the serge isn't quite right - it looks like WW2 BD serge.

I have never, in more than 40 years of collecting, seen a genuine example of the OR's cap in drab serge with anything other than an American cloth liner and sweat band.  (Although it is not uncommon to find genuine gabardine examples (what collectors refer to as "denim"), with a tan cotton lining in the crown and with an off-white cotton sweat band).

 

HTH

Tom K

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The grommets don't look right to me. They should be much larger. These are the type of grommets that appear on  SD Caps. 

Trench Cap Denim 5.JPG

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7 hours ago, Tom K said:

It's really nicely made (probably made to deceive) but to my eye definitely a reproduction. 

  • The bill looks a bit too large.
  • There should be 5 rows of stitching around the band.
  • As Grovetown noted, the lining should be black oil cloth.
  • It's difficult to explain, but the serge isn't quite right - it looks like WW2 BD serge.

I have never, in more than 40 years of collecting, seen a genuine example of the OR's cap in drab serge with anything other than an American cloth liner and sweat band.  (Although it is not uncommon to find genuine gabardine examples (what collectors refer to as "denim"), with a tan cotton lining in the crown and with an off-white cotton sweat band).

 

HTH

Tom K

Tom, this is a genuine soft cap in drab serge with blue grey wool (shirt type)  liner and oil cloth crown.

 

regards 

 

Mark

BEEC030E-DA84-4CA2-A729-828EFF7C22CC.jpeg

FA7E125B-AA67-4A75-83D9-04E5518D1293.jpeg

2790B2CB-AB6C-4BA2-8C6C-15E53FD9F2C6.jpeg

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The cap in Post 1 is a modern repro. As mentioned above, the serge is wrong, so is the lining and so are the grommets.

 

Unfortunately these things have reached the price point where such things are inevitable.

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Thanks for that Mark - very nice cap - I've never seen one with the flannel sweat band before. It probably was a lot more comfortable than the oil cloth. I wonder why they went away from it?

 

Tom K

 

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44 minutes ago, Tom K said:

Thanks for that Mark - very nice cap - I've never seen one with the flannel sweat band before. It probably was a lot more comfortable than the oil cloth. I wonder why they went away from it?

 

It was the pattern for the first 18 month's of the cap's existence, changing to oilcloth in November 1917. I expect the change was simply simplification of the process - sourcing a single type of cloth, and handling a single type during manufacture.

 

Here's an old one of mine, sold last year, well illustrating the sweatband, the five stitching lines and the grommets.

 

Cheers,

 

GT.

 

8Cap9.JPG.f8a517ccd6153fd6bf89f8f9f1188dac.JPG

9Cap11.JPG

6Cap7.JPG

Edited by Grovetown
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Greetings from Sherwood Forest. 

Here is one of my caps, I purchased it back in 1962.

Hope it is of interest.

 

                                  Old Robin HoodDSC02178.JPG.69fe5d940063c1bb33730aa59874d4ae.JPGDSC02179.JPG.c49127571bebd68c155a319b58edb0c0.JPG

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Super Cap ORH thanks for sharing your pics 

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12 minutes ago, OLD ROBIN HOOD said:

Greetings from Sherwood Forest. 

Here is one of my caps, I purchased it back in 1962.

Hope it is of interest.

 

                                  Old Robin Hood

 

Great to have something for so long, and long, long before people started mucking about with these things.

 

I'm sure you know this already, so for the casual observer who may not: that's the penultimate pattern of soft cap introduced on March 19th 1918. What distinguishes it from its predecessors is the gaberdine ('denim') bodyy with a full cotton lining, The immediately preceding gaberdine cap had the olicloth lining like its serge counterpart.

 

There was one final pattern of soft cap in October 1918, yet that seems to be to do with nomneclature and admin, rather than a pattern change.

 

11.2m soft caps of both kinds - serge and gaberdine - were issued with 7.5m going overseas.

 

Cheers,

 

GT.

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Thanks for your posts everyone, and glad to know for sure that the one I bought is a modern repro. Luckily it didn’t cost much.

 

Thanks for all the interesting facts about the different cap types- I can tell you are all very passionate.

 

On a side note, the cap badge looks genuine to my untrained eyes!

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  • 2 years later...
On 02/07/2020 at 17:05, Grovetown said:

Condition isn't an issue as near mint items do turn up. 

 

There was a batch of immaculate soft caps about 20 years ago, that were still wrapped in tissue. They have been round the block now, and some resurface in tissue today. Main problem was that they had been stored folded flat forever, and it took ages to reshape them. The chinstraps were in similar condition and the one in question could pass.

 

The bigger problem with this is that the lining is incorrect and the crown should be in 'American Cloth' (a black, plasticky oilcloth type material). The sweatbands started as flannel, but were switched to American Cloth in time too.

 

That said, very well made regardless.

 

There is one dealer in particular out there at the moment who is selling tons of repro headgear as mint original, although his tend to come with spurious markings/ labels and the details are wrong. Quality is good though, and would fool the untutored.

 

Cheers,

 

GT.

 

@Grovetown
I have a soft cap that’s been folded for a looonnng time. it’s in good condition, with just 1 patch of moth/wear about a finger tip size to the rear and a bit of grime inside. I have never tried but how would you go about reshaping it? I have never tried as I would be hesitant to use water or steam etc. 

is it just a case of stuffing it with tissue into the right shape and putting it in a box so it can ‘relax’?

 

thanks

ed

Edited by MrEd
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