TUNIC – PRUSSIA – IDENTIFIED – GENERALLEUTNANT VON WISSENDORF
This is a consignment item from the collection of a very experienced, longtime collector who has an appreciation for unusual, seldom-seen items that are in excellent condition. Today we are offering, on his behalf, a parade tunic that belonged to a Prussian Generalleutnant named von Wissendorf. The tunic’s consignor informs us that he was assigned to the Prussian VII. Armeekorps, which was based in Münster.
The pre WWI dunkel-blau (dark-blue) tunic dates from approximately 1887 and is made of the finest wool that was available at the time. It obviously came from a skilled tailor’s workshop, since it is quite a masterpiece. A total of twelve unadorned gold-toned buttons runs down the tunic’s center. Its collar design is quite striking, and displays the tremendous gold bullion used in the pattern by the period’s General officers (BEFORE bullion kragenspiegel (collar patches) came into use post-1909 – this design dates from 1856 up to 1909). [I personally think the earlier form was a much more elegant way to display a General officer’s rank]. The gold bullion’s design features oak leaves interspersed with gilt-toned, bullet-shaped acorns against a red background. The acorns’ gilt coating has worn away over the years, so that they now appear to be silver-toned.
The tunic exhibits an amazing combination shoulder board/aiguillette on its right shoulder. It is fashioned from rich, gold bullion and features a single Generalleutnant’s silver pip. [The silver pip usually indicated that its owner was an à la Suite officer (an honorary rank), since gold pips were for use by Generals who were tactical commanders rather than à la Suites]. The aiguillette’s color also confirms its wearer was a line-officer, NOT an à la Suite. The aiguillette consists of two one-inch wide, gold bullion braids attached to four one-quarter-inch wide gold-toned bullion ropes. All of these sections are intricately looped together and attached to two more short, one-quarter-inch, gold-toned bullion ropes whose ends are covered by elaborate, sliding, cylindrical, tapered, metal, three-inch-long extensions. Each extension is topped by a Prussian Hohenzollern Crown, which fits into, but is not attached, to the rest of the elegant, tapered cylinder. It is all extremely attractive.
The tunic’s other shoulder sports a far different type of decoration. It is a five-inch-long intertwined coil of approximately one-quarter-inch, originally silver-toned, metal disks that have tarnished to a dark, gold-toned color. The tunic’s regulations refer to it as “made of two rolled silver wire bullion cords twisted together.” [Quite frankly, the device reminds me of something that one might have find on a Christmas tree]! It is attached to the inner point of the shoulder by a gold-toned brass button.
The tunic’s cuffs display the same design featured on its collar. They are quite large, measuring 3.5″ wide. The heavy gold bullion oak leaves are repeated, as are their “acorns.” Each cuff also sports two large gold-toned buttons. The tunic’s reverse once again repeats the same bullion oak leaf design on each of the vent’s two halves, along with three large gold-toned buttons. The tunic’s front displays NO loops for sewn-in medal bars, breast stars, or the like. The exterior’s overall condition is very fine, with very little mothing (just the hint of a small moth nip or two). No tears or other major issues are present beyond the expected signs of age.
The tunic’s interior features a very heavy, padded, red silk lining. Some small scattered areas of mothing are present, as well as some of the shredding commonly seen on aging silk. When one considers that it is MORE than one-hundred-twenty years-old, the damage is quite limited. A small pocket appears on the interior’s left side. No indication is given of the original owner’s name, nor of the tailor who designed it.
This tunic is an amazing piece of history that speaks to the elegance of its time. It would make an excellent addition to any uniform collection.