Cooper A2 style leather flight jacket, $20.

The 'A-2' is the jacket that comes to mind when we think of those leather jackets that fighter and bomber air crews have been wearing since they were first tested in service way back in 1930. The A-2 was finally adopted as the regulation Army Air Corps flying jacket on May 9, 1931.

The A-2 jacket's no-frills approach to styling continues to be a perfect example of 'form following function.' Besides Cooper, Schott is another company that makes 'official' A-2 jackets, meaning that they actually manufacture the jackets that the military buys from them.

Interestingly, these A-2 jackets come in goat skin, cowhide and horse hide, with the goat skin versions generally costing substantially more than cowhide. These jackets sell new for from $230 to $300 or so, and since this one is like new, it was no surprise when it closed for a cool $192 to a buyer in Japan.

It's important to note here that Cooper ceased production of this style jacket back in the late 1990s, even though the U.S. military still requisitons the A-2 jacket, and contracts are bring awarded to other USA suppliers using the A-2 pattern. Understandably, the Cooper label is now considered collectible and highly sought after by World War II re-enactors and historians, with many vintage examples bringing substantially more than the newer ones.

Don't get crazy, now. If you research what Cooper jackets sell for on eBay, you'll find that many of them aren't really worth bothering with at any price. So until you've amassed lots of knowledge about the various jackets that Cooper makes, it may be wise to stick with the ones that say 'TYPE A-2' on the label.

This Cooper A-2 style leather jacket sold on eBay for $186.

Photo of Cooper leather A-2 style bomber jacket