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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Danish uniform of a Royal Inspector of Greenland

As a collector of rare items I spent a lot of time in reading obscure catalogs of almost unknown auctions. On the 7th of april 2012 there was an auction in Hotel Giraudeau at Tours, France. I made a bid with email and won an uniform I never had seen.

After two weeks I received the uniform. From there on I spend months and months to find out what kind of uniform it was. The uniform itself was and still is in a excellent shape. No moth holes and the gold embroidery in an awsome state.

Although it was beautifull I had no idea what it was. I sheached the intenet for weeks. But notting came out. I emailed The Royal Household of Denmark and send me kindly some pictures. However they dit not match with the uniform. Also the makers label did not helped me.
It turned out that the company closed his doors around 1930. So I kept emailing every museum in denmark but they had no idea. Finaly I wrote to C.L Seifert, uniform makers in Copenhagen. We had a long conversation and they where very willing to help by searching there archieves. Notting came out again. So I was set and done and had to live with a real 'unknown uniform'. After some weeks I bought a couple of old catalogs on a flea market in Amsterdam. One of them (Lauritz, Denmark) had some plates of uniforms. And on one of that plate there was an uniform I knew. It was mine!

It was a plate of C.L. Seifert (!) from 1917. So it was the uniform of a Royal Inspector of Greenland. And now I could search the internet. But that gave almost nothing exept for the 'Det Kongelige Bibliotek'. They send me the following pictures of the Royal Inspector Karl Frederik Harries with Christiaan X visiting Groenland in 1921.

Meanwhile I wrote everybody that helped me to tell them that the problem was solved. The National Museum of denmark told me that this was unique because as far as they knew no museum in Denmark had such an uniform. The only existing uniform was kept at Greenland. By email the director of the former housing of the Royal Inspectors confirmed me they had a similar uniform in the cellar. So it was a rare uniform (not to be worn after 1925) and no longer 'unknown'. But then a saw something that I had given no attention due to the exiting pictures. My uniform had a 'pearl edge' while the inspector uniform had not! So I wrote Seifert again and they told me that the pearl edge was something not uncommon for rich people. If they where alowed to wear a civil uniform they made it more 'rich'. You can see that also in England. Some civil uniforms (dispite the regulations) have more embroidery on the chest than is formely allowed. So the case could be closed but I did not. The pearl edge gave me the feeling that I did not know everything. And yes, there was more. After an intensive search I found a picture of the same uniform and with a pearl edge!
But he was not a Royal Inspector other then a Danish consul in Melbourne. And suddenly I had a new track. And now after months I received the last image that could tell us that the uniform was worn both by consuls and Royal Inspectors.
This is a picture around 1870 of a Danish consul in New Zealand. 
  Front and the back.


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