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Original 19th Century Army of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Model 1838 Cuirassier Helmet

Regular price $3,895.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Now this is something we have not encountered here yet at IMA. We are pleased to have available a complete example of a circa 1830s-1840s Army of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Model 1838 Cuirassier Helmet (also sometime called a Belgian Dragoon helmet) in phenomenal condition.

The helmet itself has no markings that we can find, which is not uncommon for helmets of this period. Based on the materials and means of construction, we believe this helmet to date to the 1830’s- 1850’s. The helmet is in remarkable condition, showing evidence of undergoing a museum-quality conservation at some point, likely within the last forty years, however all the parts completely correct. The helmet presents as a complete example as it would have appeared in service over 150 years ago.

It still retains its original leather mounted chinstrap, complete liner, crest, and Lion's head shield helmet plate. We checked the interior of the helmet, and the helmet plate is definitely original, and there are no extra holes that would indicate that another was ever installed. The bearskin crown and its mounting brackets are high quality reproductions which, unless closely studied, cannot be differentiated from the original articles. The blue feather plume looks period, although to err on the side of caution, we will say this is a newer addition as well.

Nearly all the original mounting screws and nuts are present, with some which have interacted with leather producing a build of of verdigris. A few screws and nuts appear to replacements, and even those are high quality replicas of the originals. The mounting hardware is only visible if the liner is flipped inside out, therefore none of these conservation/restoration efforts affect the outward appearance of the helmet.

We have had some note the similarity of this helmet to a fire helmet, however this is definitively a Belgian Dragoon helmet. Fire helmets of this style would almost always be made entirely of brass, which was far more resilient to the caustic ash and water resulting from fighting fires. It also has the correct heavy gauge metal construction and build quality that would simply not be seen on a fire helmet.

Other aspects that clearly denote this as a Dragoon helmet would be the chinstrap as well as the comb. The chinstrap is secured with leather, instead of the fabric ribbons and rivets that would be used for a fire helmet. The comb does not have an outside flange at the base as a fire helmet comb would, and there is no evidence that a previous comb of that type was installed, as the screw holes would remain. The comb is also the correct shorter type for use with the bearskin, a trademark of units with lineage to the Dutch-Netherland Regiments of the Napoleonic era, such as the 2nd Regiment. Combs of this type were not used on fire helmets.

The condition is excellent and something that is rarely encountered. There is the expected minor pitting present and evident signs of cleaning and polishing, but there is no extensive damage that we can see. There is age and wear present but nothing too significant.

This is an incredible piece of early Belgian history and one that will most likely not be encountered any time soon. Comes more than ready for further research and display.

Belgian Dragoons:
Belgium is a relatively new Country, having been totally overrun by its neighbors for Centuries, mostly the French, the Dutch and even the Spaniards. After the defeat of Emperor Napoleon in 1815, the area we now call Belgium was ceded to the Dutch by International Agreement, but not with the support of the population. In 1830 the inhabitants rebelled and took control as their own State. This was made up of various small States and Counties including Liege and Flanders. The first King was LEOPOLD the 1ST who reigned to 1865, then LEOPOLD the 2ND who reigned until 1909 then ALBERT who saw WW1 and lived until 1934.

In the French tradition, Belgium equipped their own Army and amassed an Empire in Central Africa known as the Belgian Congo, Like every other European Monarchy Belgium maintained a flamboyant Army right up until WW1, then everything stopped.

A dragoon helmet was an ornate style of metal combat helmet featuring a tall crest; they were initially used by dragoons, but later by other types of heavy cavalry and some other military units. Originating in France in the second half of the 18th century, it was widely imitated by other European armies and was last used in combat in 1914. Some military units continue to wear this style of helmet for parades and other ceremonial duties.

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