This is a mantel (overcoat) once owned by the Duchy of Braunschweig’s Herzog Ernst August (1887-1953). Ernst August was Braunschweig’s final Duke, who married Viktoria Luise (1892-1980), Kaiser Wilhelm II and Kaiserin Augusta Viktoria’s only daughter. [Braunschweig was the Kingdom of Hannover’s vassal state, until both were absorbed into Prussia following their defeat in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War. Braunschweig’s ducal succession was rather confused at the time. Otto von Bismarck stepped in to block the purported Hannover/Braunschweig next-in-line from ascending the throne. Instead, Prussia’s Prinz Albrecht (1837-1906) was named as Braunschweig’s regent, a role in which he served from 1885 to 1906. (Albrecht’s father was Wilhelm I and Friedrich Wilhelm IV’s brother). Prinz Albrecht had been a military officer, serving as the Hannover-based X. Armeekorps’ commander prior to his regency. Another Prussian took over the regency after Albrecht’s 1906 death. Following Ernst August’s 1913 marriage to Viktoria Luise (THE year’s social event and the European crowned heads’ last major gathering before WW I), Ernst August was allowed to become Braunschweig’s final Herzog. Braunschweig was then afforded greater independence, but remained a Prussian vassal state.
Young Ernst August was the Regimental Chef for his Duchy’s Husaren-Regiment Nr 17, a well as Infanterie-Regiment Nr 92. The Braunschweigisches Infantry Regiment Nr. 92 was founded in 1809. The regiment was garrisoned in the capital city of Braunschweig, and assigned to the X. Armeekorps. Braunschweigisches Infantry Regiment Nr. 92 possessed a fabled history. Among the battles and campaigns in which it participated were the 1808 Peninsular War (Spain and Portugal) against Napoleon under the Duke of Wellington, the battles of Waterloo and Quatre-Bras in 1815 (again with Wellington), and Mars La Tour during the 1870/71 Franco-Prussian War (attached to the 20th Division under General von Kraatz-Koschlau). During World War I, the 92nd Infantry Regiment fought at the battles of St. Quentin and the Marne on the Western Front and on the Eastern Front in the Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive and the Brusilov Offensive. The regiment, along with Hussar Regiment Nr. 17 and one battery of Feldartillerie Regt. von Scharnhorst (1. Hannoversches) Nr. 10,constituted the Duchy of Braunschweig’s entire military.
Our offering today is that very Duke’s feldgrau overcoat for Infanterie-Regiment Nr 92. We are very excited to offer a general officer’s rank coat that once belonged to a German HEAD-OF-STATE (the Kaiser’s son-in-law, no-less). The tunic is made of ultra-high-grade feldgrau wool. The coat is large and single-breasted, with a six-gilt-crowned button front and barrel cuffs. It features large, beautiful, generalmajor’s sewn-in shoulder boards (with red underlay) attached to the shoulders. They are sewn-in on one side, and attached by a small, crowned, gilt-toned button on the other. Its collar is a beautiful green on the inside and feldgrau on the outside. The overcoat’s reverse displays five small, burnished-gold buttons WITHOUT crowns. They can be fastened to the other side. A flap covers the buttonholes so they cannot be seen when buttoned. The coat’s interior displays a heavy, green, tufted-silk liner, with a small interior pocket on the right breast. The coat comes with the original wood hanger as it originally arrived from the auction (straight from Ernst August’s valet). The wood hanger retains the original sash hook. Its underside has the crowned initials “EA” branded into the hanger.
Both the interior and the exterior are in near-mint condition. It is in astounding condition for being more than one-hundred-years-old, with minor wear and a few minor moth nips. As mentioned with Ernst August’s paletot, listed below, the coat comes from the Royal House of Hanover sale that was conducted by Sotheby’s Auction House at Schloss Marienburg in 2005.