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Title Sapeurs Pompiers de la Marine helmet plate
Nationality French
Period c 1854-70
Price £300.00

This has to be one of the rarest of the 2nd Empire military fire brigade badges, being the helmet plate for the navy branch. The helmet was a magnificent looking creation in brass with a high comb and fancy chin scales. This would have been worn on the front of the helmet, above the peak and below the crest.

This (12.5 x 9.5cm) would have been in a bright gilt finish originally, I suspect. It has a carefully patinated black finish, which I have left. The reverse shows that it is some sort of die-struck gilding metal. Should anyone wish to clean it further, it could be simply done with ammonia and metal polish. Care, however, should be taken, as this is a very frail plate and there are several stress cracks through which light can be seen. This, in itself, is good proof of the age of the piece.

The screw posts on the reverse are missing, with only the solder points remaining.

Prov: from the J.R. Gaunt & Son Ltd. Pattern Book Archive, sold at auction by order of the National Army Museum, London.

If you want to comment on this item—re quality, age, etc—please email me.

[Militaria : Badges : French : 19th Century]


The bayonet arrived yesterday in good order. Fits my musket perfectly. Quite pleased, and many thanks for a very satisfactory transaction.

L K, USA, 01.06.2016

I should have written sooner, but I did want to let you know that the photos arrived safely and are absolutely fabulous. I could not be happier with them.

Thanks for the excellent service and great photos. I hope we have occasion to do business together again.

J B, USA, 18.08.2005