This is a highly-unusual uniform group for a senior palace official at the Saxe-Altenburg Court. Saxe-Altenburg was a relatively small duchy among the various Saxon Duchies. It fielded a single Infanterie Regiment. Her native sons served in the one Regiment, as well as in other Saxon Jäger, Kavallerie, Artillerie, etc., Regiments.
The group consists of the following four different pieces.
Tunic. This is a fine black cotton “cutaway” tunic. It sports beautiful gold bullion embroidery at the collar, pockets, and sleeves. It has long tails and its front is cut away to the waist. A single row of seven gilt buttons runs down its shortened center. Each button displays Herzog Ernst I’s royal cypher. (He ruled from 1853 to 1908). Two more of these larger-sized buttons are seen on the tunic’s reverse, while two smaller ones appear on the cuffs. The left breast sports two sets of sewn-in loops, measuring 2″ and 3 ½” in width respectively, for medal or ribbon bars. The tunic’s interior is a most handsome black silk. The tunic’s exterior is in very fine condition. The combination of gold bullion on black is quite striking.
Trousers. Two pairs of trousers accompany the tunic. I guess that one pair is for winter use while the other is for summer. The winter trousers are black with a wide gold bullion stripe down the sides. The trousers have a fly front (no zippers here). Inside we see a date that I read as 31 December 1883. The summer trousers are white wool. They also sport the wide gold bullion stripes down the sides. No dating appears in these trousers’ interior. Some very small hints of mothing are scattered across them.
Fore & Aft Cap. The final ensemble piece is the Fore & Aft Cap, which is similar in design to those worn by naval officers. The cap is made of black fur. Some signs of age are present. On one side we see a six-row gold bullion device superimposed over a green and white silk kokarde. The kokarde is quite large and measures 2 5/8″ in diameter. At the bottom of the six-row gold bullion device we see another of the gilt-toned buttons sporting Herzog Ernst I’s crowned cypher. Inside the cap, no markings for ownership or manufacturer are present.
This is a most unusual group from a highly-placed official within Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Altenburg’s 19th Century court.