This WWII Naval Officer’s Overcoat was so easy to date! I wish all vintage clothing items were as easy! This coat has the date on an inner pocket, as well as the original owner’s name, too! August 19, 1942, almost a year after the United States entered the Second World War. And, what makes this coat even more interesting is that it was originally purchased at a store that was owned by one of the co-founders of Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream! Yes, Burton (Burt) Baskin was the son of a Russian-Jewish immigrant, Harold Baskin, who came to the United States in 1925 and owned and operated a men’s clothing store in Chicago until he retired in 1942. Burt worked with his Father selling clothing. He married Shirley Robbins in 1942 who was the sister of his future business partner, Irv Robbins. Burt enlisted in the US Navy and served in the South Pacific as a Lt. Commander and was released from the service in 1946. He and Shirley went to California where Irv was operating an ice cream store in Glendale. His business operated under the name of Snowbird Ice Cream at this time. Irv convinced Burt that he would be better off to go into the business of selling ice cream instead of men’s clothing as he had done before the war. Burt decided to do so and opened his own business under the name of Burton Ice Cream. In 1953, the two men merged their two businesses into one under the name of Baskin-Robbins. Interestingly enough, they decided the order of the names with the flip of a coin! Burt died of a heart attack on December 24, 1967. So, you see, not only is this coat a part of history by it’s connection to World War 2, it’s also got another connection to an entirely different part of history….that of ice cream!!!
Now to further describe this wonderful coat, as said previously, this military overcoat is made from an exceptionally fine quality of lightweight wool gabardine. You can tell that the material was meant to not only keep the wearer warm, but be extremely durable, too. The coat is double breasted with four rows of buttons. The collar is notched and the sleeves are long with an adjustable flap on the bottom of each sleeve. There are two rows consisting of two buttons which allow for some adjustability to the bottom of the sleeve. At the bottom of the back of the coat is a vent pleat which has two buttons that can open or close this pleat. There is a black wool lining that zips out by way of a metal zipper. There is some padding in the shoulders. All inner seams are finely finished with seam tape and all button holes are “Keyhole” buttonholes. There are slit pockets on each side of the front of the coat and one inner breast slit pocket. Even though this coat is almost 72 years old, it would look to be right in style for today’s owner. This classic military style never looks dated, just stylish and handsome! And, what a great find for someone who is participating in WWII Naval Reenactment!
Even though this coat does have a few minor issues to note, it’s in such great condition for it’s age that I’ve got to say that the condition is still “Excellent”. Upon close inspection, I can see where the loops that held the belt were once sewn…..someone has removed them, perhaps to make the coat more stylish or they just didn’t want to wear it with a belt. I can definitely see two imprints where the loops once were just above the slit pockets on each side of the front of the coat. These most likely would not be noticed unless you are really looking for this. Having said this, of course, there is no belt. And, one of the front buttons on the bottom of the coat is missing half of the button. It can still be buttoned. Finally, one of the small buttons on the left sleeve is broken in half. It’s still sewn on and can be fastened. The material in the coat is in excellent condition and the coat, overall, shows very little wear.
Label: Burton Baskin, Abbott Hall Shop, 700 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
On the inside of the inner breast pocket
Mr. K. C. Robinson
Date: 8-19-42, B 39 ½
Size: None Present
Possibly a 44 Regular, but please refer to Measurements.
Inner Sleeve: 17”
Outer Sleeve Measured from Shoulder Seam to Cuff: 25”
Circumference of Cuff Opening: 14”
Length of Coat From Shoulder Seam to Bottom Hemline: 45 ½”
This seller is a proud member of The Costume Society of America (CSA) and The Vintage Fashion Guild (VFG).
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