There are a lot of people who collect soldiers’ uniforms, equipment and helmets. And there are many collectors who look for the accoutrements that go with them; items such as gorgets and epaulettes, or perhaps a regimentally-marked sabretache or belt buckle. We’ll look at such Georgian / Victorian accoutrements for sale today.
Original Georgian items are 200-300 years old now, and even Victorian ones are well over 100 years old. Nearly all of these items increase in value every year. They are a good investment, especially when compared with bank interest rates! But more importantly, they are also attractive to look at and can give the collector some great research opportunities. There is one thing to remember with all older accoutrements and that is condition; the better the condition and quality of an item, the more it will be of interest to other collectors.
As with any collectibles, you must ensure that you buy from reputable dealers. A lot of good-quality modern reproductions have been created for the film industry and re-enactment market, but a good dealer will be able to guide you through that.
The sabretache (a flat pouch or bag) was first introduced into the British Army at the end of the 18th Century. Although they were eventually phased out for practical reasons, some units retained them for ceremonial duties. This example represents the Royal Artillery and it comes with its original leather outer cover, which was designed to protect it from bad weather. It shows the Royal Artillery cannon with a Victorian Crown above it.
On the front it is decorated using very intricate hand-embroidered gilt and silver bullion thread on a velvet background. Although it has some age wear to the leather cover, it is a beautiful display piece. Once framed, these look very impressive and enough of them exist for a collector to be able to build a good collection of them over time.
Available from Military Antiques in England £650.
This attractive Victorian officer’s shoulder-belt plate belonged to a member the Craven Legion. They were part of the West Riding Yeomanry Cavalry, and the legion was raised by Thomas Lister, Baron of Ribblesdale, as a volunteer force. This cavalry officer’s belt plate comes with its original leather backing and is in very nice condition.
For sale by Michael D. Long Military Antiques in England. £985.
Dress Uniform Epaulettes
Another Victorian-era collectible is this lovely matching pair of full dress uniform epaulettes. They would have belonged to an officer of the Northumberland and Newcastle Volunteer Cavalry. This very decorative pair date from between 1830 and 1855.
Epaulettes of this type were designed to be worn whilst on parade or during ceremonial duties. This pair are now well over 150 years old and they do have some usage and age wear, but that is to be expected. Epaulettes often come in a tin to protect them and they can be found representing many different units of the British Army and Navy.
They are for sale from Cultman Collectables in the UK. £250.
British Army Georgian-period Officer’s Gorget
Derived originally from the French word for ‘throat’, the gorget started out as a piece of armour to protect the neck. As armour became obsolete in warfare, some small gorgets were retained to be worn purely as ornamental decorations rather than functional military items. As their usage declined, their numbers decreased as well. Therefore their collectability has naturally increased.
This particular example has George IV’s cypher and crown on the front, which is surrounded by olive branches. Everything is engraved by hand so it is a truly unique piece. The engraving and the back has a bit of patina to it due to age.
Gorgets fit nicely alongside badges and other small regimental items in a display case. They have seen a steady climb in value over recent years and they are popular with many dealers. Enough variations exist for a collector to build a good collection over time.
This example is available from The Militaria Shop in the UK. £379.99
Victorian Yeomanry Cavalry Pouch
Another example of beautiful Victorian workmanship is this Staffordshire Yeomanry (Queen’s Own Royal Regiment) cavalry pouch. It depicts an embroidered Staffordshire knot with a large, padded Victorian crown above, which is on a navy blue velvet background. It has a stunning silver lace border running across the edge, as well as a white metal carrying ring on each end at the top.
The Staffordshire Yeomanry was formed in 1794 to provide a defence for Great Britain against any foreign invaders. First it started as a Cavalry Regiment made up of volunteers, but it even saw service in South Africa during the Boer War.
This pouch is currently for sale by Regimentals in the UK. £425.
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