Original WWI Imperial German Prussian Infantry Officer Model 1897 Pickelhaube Leather Helmet with Case
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a great condition, smart-looking high-end officer pickelhaube from a Prussian Infantry Regiment, which was most likely used during World War One. The Pickelhaube of commissioned officers holding a rank from Lieutenant to Colonel are all identical in features, but not quality. The quality of helmets within these ranks depended entirely on how much the individual wished to spend. A lowly Lieutenant's helmet may be of much higher quality than one worn by a Colonel. As expected, officer helmets were of a much higher quality than the issued version and utilized the "squared finger" liners until 1880, when the internal leather sweatband and silk skull-cap came into use.
Regardless of the unit, officer Pickelhaube share common features such as: the undersides of visors are lined, Officer Kokarden are carried, and the "egg & dart" Perlring was matched with star-pattern spike base brads, and chinscales were worn. The officer's Pickelhaube was basically unchanged from 1871 to 1899 when it had a more domed shape, and from 1899 to the end it had more of a skull shape. Otherwise, with the exception of the addition of the Reich's Kokarde in 1897, the officer's Haube was mostly the same from 1871 to 1918. As with most pickelhauben, they are made from boiled leather, which is then lacquered black.
The overall condition of this officer's pickelhaube is very good. It is somewhat interesting however, in that looks to be a Mannschaften (Other Ranks) Pickelhaube, converted to an officer version. The chin strap and lugs were removed, replaced by a permanently attached set of officer's chin scales, and correct multi-piece cockades. The removable top spike was also removed, replaced with an officer's spike, which has the top unscrew for attachment of a plume. It has the M1895/1897 Enlisted rear vent, so this looks to be an M1897 Enlisted helmet converted at arsenal into an officer's version, and contained in a leather case. Either way, it really is a great pickelhaube. The amount of verdigris, dust, and age leaves us no doubt that this was a period conversion, not something a collector did at a later time.
All of the helmet's furniture is highly-detailed gilt brass alloy, which is still very bright, something we rarely see! Usually the gold has worn away, leaving a dull patina. The Prussian wappen (coat of arms) features a large eagle with the King's motto, MIT GOTT FÜR KOENIG UND VATERLAND (With God for King and Country, i.e. Prussia). The Wappen is held in place by the leather wedges. The chin scales are in great shape, complete and quite shiny, with complete leather backing and front buckle and clasp.
Both kokarde (cockades) are present, and are of high-end two piece construction, with detailed casting. In 1897 a new Reichs-Kokarde in Red-White-Black was introduced for all ranks to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kaiser Wilhelm 1st, which this helmet has on both sides, without a separate state kokarde. The paint on both is still almost completely intact, with the usual age related fading and checking.
The officer spike atop the helmet is intricately decorated at the base with "egg & dart" Perlring. It screws off correctly for attachment of a plume.
The helmet's interior reveals a faded depot marking on the back visor. The lacquer finished leather is in great condition having no serious issues, just the usual checking and cracking from age. The shape of this pickelhaube is preserved excellently, though it is just a bit sunken in on the top. The front and rear visor stitching looks to be fully intact, and hasn't rotted out as many do. There seems to have been minimal leather shrinkage on this example, and it displays great.
The inside liner is still present and complete, though the black finish has separated from the leather in places. The top tie strap is still present and looks to be intact.
Overall a very appealing Model 1897 Officer Pickelhaube helmet, complete with carry case and ready to display!
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