ITEM# 02122011-3
Description  Russian Grenadier Kiver, ca. 1812
Price $ 385.00

02122011_3_2 02122011_3_3

Russian reproduction, crafted ca. 1984, of an Imperial Russian Grenadier enlisted shako, ca. 1812, in excellent condition. I usually am pretty hard on other peopleís workóand invariably for good reason. But in this case I can only heap praise on the unknown artists who crafted this shako. Itís a real piece of combat headgear, well-made and heavy, and looks right both in aggregate and in its details. Body is of oak tanned bridle leather, covered on the exteriorís vertical surfaces with black woolen broadcloth (not felt). The molded leather crown is substantial in its own right, but is also lined with fullerís board. The visor is of molded leather, similar in concept to French peaks of the same era, but simpler. Minor size adjustment is afforded at rear via a brass frame buckle with chape and billet. The sweatband-headnet combination is similarly authentic, with the sweat crafted of suede-finished oak tanned leather, handstitched to the linen, drawstring-cinched net. Size is approximately 7 1/8 (European 57). The shako bodyís natural leather interior is inkstamped with a date (1984), some other incomprehensible stampings in cyrillic, and a series of numerals which look suspiciously like a serial number. The Soviets were maniacs about numbering and inventorying just about everything (except important stuff like nukes), so perhaps this set of markings connotes some government involvement in the manufacture of this piece. Trimmings include a large, stamped brass frontplate of triple flaming bombs; a wooden-cored field badge covered in scarlet facing fabric; Kiver-specific hand-knotted shako cords in off-white cotton with plaited waffles and tassels; and articulated brass chinscales with target roundels securing the ends. Rumor has it that these shakos were painstakingly crafted by a curator in a Moscow museum as a commemoration of the classic headgear worn in the tumultuous days of the French invasion. Looking at the finished product, I believe it. If you remember, Russia was still part of the Evil Empire in 1984, and this example was actually smuggled out of the country by a daring Napoleonic enthusiast. Priced as a bargain.