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Your Opinions Please

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
https://www.ebay.com/itm/USAAF-A-2-Leather-Flight-Jacket-Size-Approx-46-MFG-Aero-Leather-CO-Becon-NY/162632676589?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

After looking at this jacket for the last week, I made the seller an offer below his asking price and he accepted.
I purchased the jacket with mixed feelings and some reservations, which I will share with all of you. The description of the jacket leads one to believe that this is an original Aero 21996. If in fact that description is accurate, then this jacket would be one of the original 25,000 jackets made by Aero in 1941, a rare bird. The jacket has a crown zipper which most of the jackets from that contract were fitted with, however its impossible to tell if its a repro from the pictures. The jacket has been refitted with dark brown knits which are not correct for this contract. The original knits from this contract were Aero rust/berry. The collar looks like it has been re-attached or worked on, as there are extra stitch marks near the point of the collar and an extra snap ring back inside the same collar. Original jackets had the snap rings located under the material. The jacket has light wear for a WWII original and that is my main concern. The seller is known by many on this forum for having original A2 jackets posted on Ebay for long periods of time. I have other reservations, however at this point I hope those with more knowledge will offer their analysis and opinions. An original or a doctored repo.?
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Jacket is genuine
The stitch hole in the collar point is a skipped stitch, this happens with a blunt needle, the needle in the wrong position when the collar point is turned or stitched with a slightly out of sync bobbin. Easy fix with a loop through the empty hole from behind with a hand held needle.
It's been horribly recoated, just about the most over done I can recall. I'd clean it all off and start again, it can only improve the overall appearance, could be a real gem lurling under that thick brown coating
Lining is original
Knit is not
Zipper has some stray stitch holes, could be the usual WW2 Aero sloppy work or a relacement zipper, can't tell from pics, or could be some un-necessary unpicking being restitched during the knit replacement, probably the later.
 
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B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Ken
Thank you for your quick response. Does Aero do restoration work such as replacing knits and some of the leather work you described? For a fee of course.
 

Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
ken is spot on. removing the "painted" top coat will be a task best taken carefully, and with patience. it can be done. look in the pockets or under the wind flap for the original color. that may your guide for what to aim for. acetone, and lotsa rags will be needed, and needless to say , begin removal some where unseen, like the under side of a pocket flap.
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Ken
Thank you for your quick response. Does Aero do restoration work such as replacing knits and some of the leather work you described? For a fee of course.
We can put the correct rust knit on the jacket for you but we don't have anyone doing the stripping work, Silver Surfer explained how to go about it, if you go too far it's easy to add some light cover toyour own taste.
Obviously that's best done before you change the knits so there's no dye gets on the new knits
 

Andrew

Well-Known Member
Shame about that coating. I had a 21996 once which had the most beautiful patina of contrasting highlights versus deep red which was particular to that contract. As they say it might still be under there. Years ago I followed Victors advice on carefully using acetone and it brought a disaster back to life again.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Andrew
That is a beauty!
If I thought that something like that was hiding under that coating, I would consider taking a shot at removing the surface coat.
Never having attempted something like that, I'm concerned that I'll screw up a rare contract A2.
I wonder if this was done as a WWII depot re-dye or was it just a poor attempt at restoration by one of the previous owners.
Any thoughts on this?
 

johnwayne

Well-Known Member
Lovely A2 Andrew but then all of yours are! As mentioned here fairly recently I'm personally a berry/rust knit fan so that jacket is poss my holy grail!!
 

dmar836

Well-Known Member
Acetone is what they used for depot redyes - should be safe enough. Curious to see what it looks like under there.
Dave
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Depending on how it looks minus the top coat I'd be inclined to add the new colour using boot polish, spit and polish, brushes and soft rags and old newspaper to raise even more shine where needed
That's what we always used in The Thrift Shop to restore colour to old horsehide, it's a much earier controlled method of recoating, building up high shine on the high spots and going lighter in some other areas
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
This is great information. Much thanks to everyone. Once the jacket arrives I'll take some better photos and post them.
Thank you all for your advice.
B-man2
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Just to whet your curiosity a bit more here's the one I used to own.
What a great looking jacket. Did this one require restoration work as well? Was it a re-dye? Thanks for posting.
 
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Andrew

Well-Known Member
Yes it was a disaster when I got it. No lining and dodgy knits. It was years ago but I think I assembled all the components and asked JC to restore it.

As far as the leather is concerned I just gave it a drink of Pecards

I would still rate it as my favourite original
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Well .......
I received the 21996 today and I am pleasantly surprised. The jacket is in nice shape as are the lining and the original crown zipper.
Its a size 46 which fits fairly well. The surprising part is that the re-dye dark coating actually looks a lot better in person than the photos depicted.
Because the coating is so well done, I believe this may have been an actual military depot re-dye. There is only the slightest indication of re-dying and that is around the collar lining. I had to look at the collar with a magnifying glass to confirm the re-dye process but once again very professionally done. The tell tail signs of a re-dye don't readily appear. For example the inside of the pockets are completely colored and it almost looks like the pockets may have been removed to complete the process. There is no color difference all the way down to the bottom of the pocket. I see some small differences in the stitching of the pocket to the jacket but that looks to be from small repairs. I'm not sure how the entire interior of the pocket could have been dyed without removing the pocket so this puzzles me. The knits are replacements, with tell tale stitch holes near and around attachment points. The knits are in great shape, but will definitely have to be replaced with period authentic rust/berry knits. The jacket label looks to be authentic and has never been removed.
Since the contract for this jacket indicates that it was made in 1941, I guess it is possible that it could have be a de-pot re-dye later in the war, when the USAAF was trying to make all of the different colors of A2's conform to the seal colored standard A2. This is just my take on this, nothing to confirm this point. Based on seeing the jacket I am now inclined to just leave it alone. I honestly don't think I can do anything positive for this WWII artifact and I further believe that it is a wise man who knows his limitations. I'll take some good photos tomorrow and post them for everyone. Please feel free to jump in here with your comments, ideas, and criticisms. I welcome them all.
Thanks
B-Man2
 
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Roughwear

Well-Known Member
I am delighted for you. Replacing the knits with berry ones would make sense. As far as the re-dye goes it has been done well and is very hard to date when it was done. Often those re-dyed after July 1943 had a shoulder decal applied, which this one does not have.
 
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