Bancroft vintage military caps
Bancroft vintage military caps are hats made by the Bancroft Caps company.
Background and Description
The Bancroft Caps company was established around 1900 in Massachusetts. They made caps for various divisions of the military, as well as for civilian uniforms like milk delivery services.
They began using a single layer of leather for the visor of their air force caps, known as Flighters, due to economising during wartime in WWII. This gave these caps a distinctive fold and curve. This look became heavily associated with pilots.
Naval caps were white with black patent leather, and an emblem affixed to the front.
Bancroft starting producing ‘Pac-Cap’ officers’ visors in the 1950s, with a collapsible crown that allowed them to be packed into luggage and not crushed, as a neat and tidy appearance was considered very important.
Collecting Bancroft vintage military caps
Collectors of military uniforms sometimes specialise in one area, such as caps. Bancroft were one of the great companies that made these for the U.S. armed forces, and are therefore very collectible.
Bancroft military caps can be found in army surplus stores, on eBay, and in other second hand situations.
Bancrofts should state the maker’s mark of Bancroft Caps. Often, they will also state U. S. Army Approved Cert no. Etc.
You can identify whether a Bancroft Flighter cap is wartime or post WWII, as the leafing or heat stamp on the sweatshield will read ‘pat.pend’ for wartime hats, while post-war had the patent number printed.
Bancroft caps and more valuable when they retain an original badge, such as the emblems affixed to the front of the navel caps. These have, however, sometimes been removed or even replaced by previous owners.
These caps are more valuable if they retain an original Bancroft box, however, this is extremely rare.
They sometimes contain a card stating who they belonged to and their address. These are a nice historical addition to a cap, and can increase interest and value if it proves the cap belonged to a notable military figure.
Examples have sold on eBay for $8 up to $70. Some can sell for $200 at auction. According to some experts, good condition Flighters can sell for up to $500. Value generally depends on the age and condition of the cap, as well as whether it was used by a notable military person.