Bib/Shield Front Jersey
Wow - This is a once in a lifetime find that I am excited to add to my collection.
Bib or shield front jerseys were the first baseball uniforms ever designed and originated in the 1860s. These jerseys were the predominant style of the 1870s, and to some degree the 1880s. During the 1880s the lace-up style became predominant rendering the bib/shield front jerseys obsolete.
Jersey and pants are made from a thick wool (almost fleece like) material. The jersey is a nice off-white cream color. The English style "U" that adorns the bib is wool and is a yellowish-golden-greenish color overtop a thin outline of navy/royal blue that matches the cap and pants beautifully. The bib, once removed, reveals a standard 3-button pullover jersey with complete matching ivory/cream colored buttons that attach the bib/shield.
The Uniform set includes matching cap made of blue wool, with black silk/linen interior, and a blue wool band adorned in golden trim (now faded to a darker color). Pants are blue with 3 buttons on the left hip. The pants are nicely lined, and includes elastic (still like new) in both the waist and near the ankle. Given the elastic waist band that pulls-in/cinches, it makes complete sense why there are no belt loops nor a belt that was found with the uniform set. I do not believe a belt was ever part of this uniform ensemble.
The entire set is in remarkable condition with no maker tags (or evidence of tags having been removed). Adult sized set. Jersey measures 21inches across, and 28 inches long
In speaking with experts and in doing my own research there appears to be no more than 10-20 of these style uniforms known to be in existence today. Although the bib/shield style was also used for fire fighting uniforms, the fact that this set is not red (red was often used for fire), and includes an english "U" letter (common to be used among baseball teams), and includes a baseball-style cap, I do believe this is a baseball uniform.
Additional photos included below show examples of this bib-style uniform from different teams not associated with this uniform to gain a sense of this style further.