This week we are offering one of the most amazing and beautiful royalty gifts we have ever been able to offer. It is a one-of-a-kind gift of incredibly superior quality. The presentation’s basis is a pair of oberst’s epaulettes from Füsilier-Regiment Königin (Schleswig-Holsteinisches) Nr 86. The regiment was founded in1866. Bataillon Nr’s 1 and 2 were garrisoned at Flensburg, while Bataillon Nr 3 was based at Sonderburg. The regiment was attached to the IX. ArmeeKorps. In 1890 the regiment was renamed to Füsilier-Regiment Königin (Schleswig-Holsteinsches) Nr 86 from what it had been formerly known as at the time of its inception. Also, it received a very royal Regimental Chef as its patron. The royal personage was none other than Auguste Viktoria, Kaiserin of Germany and Königin of Prussia. (She was a princess from Schleswig-Holstein when she married Kronprinz Wilhelm (later Kaiser Wilhelm II) in 1881).
The reorganized regiment’s first commander was Oberst Berger. In a special ceremony at Potsdam’s Neuen Palais, the Kaiserin presented Oberst Berger with his epaulettes as the “new” regiment’s commander. The ceremony took place on 22 October 1890. It is one thing to say that the Kaiserin presented him with the epaulettes. As the Kaiserin’s royal gift, it was more a matter of the presentation’s intricate embellishment. The epaulettes were presented to Oberst Berger in a massive, handsome, black, velvet-covered box. The box measures 15 3/4″ x 10″ x 5 1/2.” With the epaulettes in place, it weighs a hefty 8 lbs. Its top lid features the Kaiserin’s crowned royal cypher. The cypher itself measures 2″ x 1 3/4,” while the crown above it measures 1 1/4″ x 1 1/2.” Below them is a brass plaque that measures 6 1/4″ x 1 1/2.” Four small corner screws secure it to the case’s top. The plaque’s engraved message reads:
“Von Ihren Majestät der Kaiserin und Königin Auguste Victoria
dem Oberst Berger, Kommandeur des Füsilier-Regiments Königin,
am 22. Oktober 1890 im Neuen Palais bei Potsdam
This translates as “From your Majesty the Kaiserin and Queen Auguste Viktoria to Colonel Berger, Commander of the Queen’s Füsilier Regiments on 22 October 1890 in the New Palace at Potsdam/Most favorably conferred.”
As we lift the box’s lid, we see a massive pair of oberst’s epaulettes. The epaulettes’ top is either white wool or felt. Mounted to each one are an oberst’s twin pips with the Kaiserin’s large, crowned, royal cypher between them. Each epaulette is held in place by a pedestal, which allows their tasteful display. The epaulettes “moons” are gold, as are the ringlets that hang down from it. These epaulettes are MINT. I seriously doubt that they ever were worn. In my opinion, the epaulettes were such a special gift that Oberst Berger did not want the originals damaged, and probably ordered another pair for his dress uniform.
As fantastic as are the epaulettes, the box which houses them is even more entrancing. Once the upper lid is in the “open” position, another set of hinges allows the front flap to be folded down for the epaulettes’ easy removal. The box’s whole interior is lined with first-quality, light-blue silk. Information about the manufacturer appears in the upper lid’s right corner. The four lines of information are:
Sr. Majestät d Kaisers u. Königs
Berlin, Friedrichstr. 95”
M. Neumann was the Imperial Family’s Godet & Sohn for uniform-related items. Although I have described the epaulettes’ and presentation case’s superiority, I must emphasize it once more. Naturally, as a royal purveyor the Neumann firm took extreme care in turning out the best possible gift when the Empress requested it. Yes, I have offered royalty’s shoulder boards and epaulettes before, but never a gift set like this. I would not be surprised if more than one-hundred-nineteen years ago, Oberst Berger displayed these beauties on his desk or an office table to showcase this token of the Kaiserin’s favor.
A little research by our resident Rangliste expert, Paul Chepurko, reveals that our man was Otto Adolf Berger. He was promoted to Generalmajor a year after his appointment to head Füsilier-Regiment Königin (Schleswig-Holsteinsches) Nr 86. This took place in 1891. His final command was 58. Infanterie-Brigade. Following this he retired with the rank of Generalleutnant a. D. in 1895 He died in 1910. [Paul supplies the wonderful CD’s and books on our Rangliste Merchandise Page (click here to see). In less than five minutes he gave me information on the balance of Berger’s career, including all of the decorations that he ever received]! It is a beautiful presentation, truly one-of-a-kind. We have some other research material that will come with this set to assist you in your enjoyment of this historic royal gift.