Help me replace the button I lost off my French military trench coat!
July 18, 2008 8:40 PM   Subscribe

Please help me replace a lost button from my French military trench coat - or even just shed some light on the origins and history of the coat. Thanks!

A few months back I purchased this French military trench coat from my local military surplus store. Now I have managed to lose one of the buttons, and am desperate to replace it! Here is a close up of the button (it measures aprox. 23mm across). Apparently the coat is Artillery, and I know the flaming grenade is a standard French military symbol, but I haven't been able to find a replacement.

A few more detail shots of the coat: inside label detailing where the coat was made, lapel design, and insignia from just above the cuffs.

I went back to the store I purchased the coat from and when I asked if they had any spare buttons or knew of a place I could get some, the guy replied "Nah, the coats come with the buttons already on", so that avenue isn't looking too promising. I've looked on ebay a bit but haven't found anything that matches the buttons exactly.

I'm hoping someone here can help me replace my lost button. Maybe you know of somewhere I could get one, like a specialist website, or would be willing to check out your local military store that you know to be helpful, or know of some weird button replication service that'll make me one, or anything at all that can help me replace it - the coat just really isn't complete without it! Even just some information about the coat itself in terms of it's origin or history would be much appreciated.

Thank you hive mind!
posted by atmosphere to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total)
You could try getting some surplus brass buttons from American Science and Surplus and buy a few packs until you find your button (since they're randomly selected buttons in a pack).

At 95 cents for 10 buttons, it's worth a shot.
posted by champthom at 9:26 PM on July 18, 2008

Boutons militaire at (Or 'boutons laiton militaire'.) This completed lot has a very similar button, though that lot has the Foreign Legion lapel emblem, which is similar but not the one on your overcoat, which looks like navy to me.
posted by holgate at 12:10 AM on July 19, 2008

That's a gendarme coat. Is this what you're after?
posted by stereo at 12:30 AM on July 19, 2008

stereo, thank you so much, I think you have nailed it! That site doesn't have any pictures of that lot of buttons, but I found this website that has the same description but with a picture, but those are described as nickel buttons where as the website you linked to has silver ones according to google translate, so those ones look like the way to go.

Now I just have to figure out how to contact them and explain that I would like to buy their buttons and ship them to New Zealand :). That set of buttons is gonna cost me two thirds of what I paid for the actual coat!

stereo, do you have any more information on the coat, or know of somewhere I could get some? Like what year it's from or anything like that? I'm considering taking the coat with me when I go travelling in Europe, but want to make sure I won't offend anyone or anything like that. Thanks again for your help!
posted by atmosphere at 3:10 AM on July 19, 2008

By the looks, I'd say definitely post-war, maybe 1970-1980. It's rare to see people walking around with parts of military uniforms in France, but not offensive. As long as it's absolutely clear you're not impersonating a gendarme, you should be able to get away with it :).

Oh, and the two stripes and the insigna on the sleeve make this an adjutant's coat.
posted by stereo at 1:58 PM on August 2, 2008

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