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An example of a French lancer’s cap (czapka) from the Napoleonic era sold for £4000 at Buckinghamshire saleroom Amersham Auction Rooms (17.5% buyer’s premium) on February 7 against an estimate of £70-100.

British response

The 17th (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) Lancers’ roots go back to 1759. Colonel Hale of the 47th Foot was sent back to Britain with the news of General James Wolfe’s death at the Battle of Quebec. He was then commissioned to raise the 18th Light Dragoons.

In memory of Wolfe’s demise, the regimental badge was a skull and crossbones and its motto Death or Glory. In 1763, it was re-numbered 17th and in 1823 converted to a lancer regiment.

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17th Lancers cap badge detail – £7000 at C&T.

An officer’s cap featuring that classic badge with Or Glory scroll was offered at Kent saleroom C&T (20% buyer’s premium) on February 12 in Tunbridge Wells. In ‘near mint condition’, it was housed in its original japanned storage tin with name plaque engraved RA Movitt 17th Lancers.

It sold for double top estimate at £7000. C&T specialist Matthew Tredwen said: “This helmet was part of a private collection of British and Imperial German military headdress. It may well be a record auction price for a lance helmet of this type.”

It was bought by a private European collector via thesaleroom.com underbid by a phone from the US.