This jacket was, according to the son of the original owner, bought in the middle 1940s. The very odd use of an Air Ministry zipper in this civilian jacket fits well with that date. These zippers were made by Dot, and were marked with AMC and the Crown to identify them as zippers made for Air Ministry contracts so that use for civilian purposes could be tracked and stopped. Lightning made similar “AM Crown” zips but they were very different in style. It’s made of very heavy sheepskin, typical of British jackets of the era, and atypically the leather is not destroyed. This is in great wearable condition, still with nice stretch in the waistband elastic. The underarm ventilation grommets are a nice touch. It’s lined in heavy cotton flannel and is perfect for Autumn and Spring!
One of the great things about the German leather industry back in the day was their continued use of very old styles well into the post-WWII era, meaning that there are plentiful examples of old style jackets in many sizes. The kombis are rarer, and usually sell for very high prices.
This leather motorcycle suit (lederkombi) was purchased in either 1948 or 1949. I bought it from the original owner and he couldn’t quite remember the exact date. It’s made of wonderful dark brown goatskin and is in awesome condition. It even fits me! The jacket is perhaps the most iconic of all German leather jacket styles – very Rocketeer – with a twinned row of leather “football” buttons. The waist features cinch belts. The rear of the jacket is cut very much like a Victorian/Edwardian era jacket, or military tunic. The trousers are cut like jodhpurs, very full indeed through the thighs and tight to the calves, which fasten with 2 WWII-era ZIPP zippers (countermarked DRP Nürnberg). The leather is double layered at inner knees and seat.
What an amazing jacket. The style has come to be known as “A-1”, after the American Air Corps jacket with that designation. But really, this is just a very practical workwear jacket with two large waist-level patch pockets. The leather is a heavy-ish lambskin (commonly referred to as capeskin) and surprisingly for a British jacket of this era is in fantastic condition, with just one scuff to one of the front pockets. It is aged nicely with a wonderful patina caused by rubbing and stretching at the “high” parts. The buttons are made of corozo in a lovely caramel-y orange colour that highlights the classic corozo ripple effect. The zipper is a work of art. A very old (30s) brass Lightning with folded metal slider and stopper box and U-shaped top stop teeth. It’s made by Ledux, a brand I haven’t heard of before. The only other thing I’ve seen from them was a very long motoring leather jacket of similar age to this one.
This is quite an interesting jacket dating probably to the middle 1950s. It bears an Aero zipper, with U-stops but a late type stopper box, probably dating the zipper to the middle 1950s. I’ve been hunting around for information on United Services Supply Co (Excellent label, no?) but can’t find much. It seems to have been some kind of Army/Navy surplus store that was incorporated in 1955, though may very well have been around before the incorporation date. I’m getting ready to sell this jacket; it’s about a size 40.
It’s cut is very much like an A2, though the pockets are obviously not the A2-type patch pockets, but slash handwarmer pockets. It’s made of either a heavy sheep hide, or light calf, in a wonderful russet brown. The collar is A2-ish, though it’s backed with a heavy flannel woollen material. The hem of the jacket features typical British knit elastic of the period, probably nylon, and the arm cuffs are snapped. The armpit ventilation grommets are attached in a strange pattern, with all 3 in a line behind the side seam on the rear panel. I wish it were smaller, as this would be my go-to jacket! The patina, especially on the arms, is to die for. I also particularly like the checked/tantan-ish cotton arm lining, which is also used for the pocketbags.
I never thought I’d see something this awesome. A jacket that was a tie-in to the brief moment when Ronald “Ronnie” Reagan was a Warner Bros First National movie star. His first 15 minutes of fame was in the late 1930s, before his descent into B-movie oblivion and his later rambling and incoherent “Star Wars” Presidency. The zipper (Talon with sunburst stopper box) pretty solidly dates this jacket to the late 30s, along with the Gipper’s brief and dubious film fame of that era. For all the awful tweeness of the “designer” (like most movie stars of the era, Reagan was a whore who would put his name to anything someone gave him money to do so – cigarettes, booze, leather jackets etc.), the jacket is awesome. Very Western in feel, it was made by Californian Leather of “Washable Goatskin” whatever that might be. The leather’s in great condition, though the rayon liner’s pretty much shot. I have seen 2 other jackets with these labels, and they’re all very different in style, though clearly from around the same time. Ronnie “designed” a whole line of jackets!
The Type A2 is the lightweight leather jacket issued to pilots of the United States Army Air Force for most of World War II. This example was made by J. A. Dubow and going by the contract numbers would have been made in 1944. It was issued at some point to a pilot attached to the 368th Fighter Squadron as evidenced by the patch on the left chest. The 368th were in Europe in WWII, and this jacket came from France. The jacket has had a different patch on it before this one, though, shown by stitch holes in the same region but of a different shape fro the 368th patch. The jacket is in great wearable condition with good knit cuffs and hem, and the zipper and all snaps work well.
368th FS patch:
Good functional snaps and throat latch:
Talon zipper with mysterious “3” stopper box:
The remains of a size/lot label:
The leather used in vintage German leather jackets, the legendary heavy bullhide is amazing stuff. So much heavier than the leather being used elsewhere during the same period, it lends a special feel to German leather of the era, making it very desirable. This Cafe Racer-style jacket is probably from soon after WWII. It is cut along very elegant lines, as Cafe Racers tend to be, and has several nice features like the reinforced shoulders and elbows (you can see the lines of stitching), and built in kidney belt with 3 Gutos brand quick-release buckles at the front. Many German leathers are lined in heavy plaid wool. This one has a faux-fur lining. The zips all appear to be original, the main zip by ZIPP, and the rest – chest pockets and arm cuffs) by Harro, both venerable German brands. The snaps to secure the throat latch are the classic German PRYM brand snaps.