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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]


Many thanks for sending the Troddels to me. I was very pleased that they were in the fine condition that you described.

J G, UK, 24.05.2010

Just a short note to let you know that I have collected the Police fur cap this morning from the Post Office. I am really happy with it, and for sure I will give a thumbs-up to your service. This was the first item I ever bought from you, and I hope it will not be the last.

I G, Malta, 03.10.2005