Here is a fantastic vintage French Marine kepi hat likely dating from the Second World War. With only some minor areas of wear, it remains in remarkable condition.
The kepi was designed out of necessity as a more wearable, comfortable military cap than its predecessor, the top heavy shako. It was first adopted by the Métropolitain Infanterie (the French mainland militia) around 1852, but became the standard headdress of most French army units by 1900.
It is typical for the crown to be round with a flat top. The stiff leather bill is referred to by military milliners as the bec de canard or "duck bill".
The different branches are distinguished by the colors of the kepi itself, the band, braid and insignia. As you can see, this hat is covered in black wool and has a golden band.
Red cords adorn the top and sides while a golden embroidered anchor can be seen at the front. This hat belonged to Troupe de Marine Sergeant or Sergeant Chief.
The gold band is slightly faded. It is held in place on each side by brass buttons embossed with anchor insignia. Stiff red satin lines the interior of the cap while the crown is doubly-lined with a piece of clear vinyl.
You can see that there is very little wear to this kepi hat; the majority of the wear is to the golden band, and there are a couple very small scuffs on the bill. Overall, the cap remains in fantastic vintage condition.
This is truly the ultimate in militaria collecting.
Measurements: Interior band circumference: 20 ½" Vertical height: 4 1/8" Crown circumference: 22 ¾" Bill extends 2" from cap and is 6 ½" wide Weight: 174.9 grams (6.17 oz)