Original 19th Century Bavarian Model 1868 Raupenhelm "Caterpillar" Cavalry Helmet

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The distinctive Bayerische (Bavarian) Raupenhelm (Caterpillar helmet) can be traced back to 1800 when the "Kasket Muster 1800" was introduced. The Raupenhelm had a leather body with a large wool or hair comb on the top and was worn by all ranks from 1800 to 1886 undergoing numerous modifications. After that, Bavaria fell into line with the rest of the German Empire, and adopted its own version of the pickelhaube. This fine example of a Raupenhelm is a cavalry version, and bears the Bavarian Lion on the front of the helmet.

King LUDWIG II of Bavaria, born 1845, was the son of King Maximilian II and Prussian Princess Marie. He was ignored by his parents and left to his own fantasies. In 1865 he became King but within two years Bavaria was taken over by the Prussians and he remained as King in name only. He is considered to have been quite mad and built extraordinary castles throughout his realm, including NEUSCHWANSTEIN, the model for the castle at DISNEY WORLD. He died under strange circumstances in 1886 just two weeks after having been deposed as King for reasons of insanity. He was followed by King Otto, who was himself never in power due to alleged mental illness. His uncle Prince Regent Luitpold ruled in his stead.

Here we have service worn Bavarian Raupenhelm "Caterpillar) Helmet, made from a black lacquered fabric and felt shell. It is adorned with gilt brass fittings, which are still quite bright. The helmet still retains its enlisted style black leather multi-panel liner, complete with a top tie. It still has the lovely black wool "Caterpillar" type wool comb on top, unique to the Raupenhelme, though it does show some wear, and has faded from black to a light brown color, which is very common. It also is now partly secured by string, as the original leather securing strap has separated at the front of the comb.

The leather chin strap is in good condition, though worn, and is still attached to the two lion's head fittings on the sides of the helmet. Unfortunately, the side cockade and socket for the hackle are both missing, so now there is just a hole. The helmet is also overall misshapen, as it looks to have been hanging up for some time, which causes the helmet to stretch. It may be able to be restored to the correct shape with patience and care.

In service for just 20 years, this helmet is in good condition and is ready to display!

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