Original Imperial German WWI Prussian Infantry Officer M1897 Pickelhaube Helmet - Damaged Shell

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice high-end officer pickelhaube from a Prussian Infantry Regiment, which was ;most likely used during World War One. Unfortunately this example did not withstand the rigors of time very well. The fittings are all correct and in great shape, but the leather shell itself is degraded, and looks to possibly have been crushed. The black finish has flaked off in places, and the underlying leather is visible. It also may have a repaired tear, but we are not able to verify this without risking further damage.

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. Very often the underside of the front and rear visors were lined, with green under the front and red under the back.

The overall condition of this officer's pickelhaube is very good, aside from the shell damage. Most of the helmet's furniture is highly-detailed gilt brass alloy, which now has a lovely aged 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 correct officer style square nuts and washers. The chin scales are in great shape, with complete leather backing and front buckle and clasp.

Both kokarden (cockades) are present around the chin strap attachment points. In 1897 the new Reichs-Kokarde in Red-White-Black was introduced for all ranks to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kaiser Wilhelm 1st. The Reichs-Kokarde was to be worn on the right side of the helmet, and the state Kokarde was moved to the left, as on this helmet. The tri-color cockade is of the correct officer two part construction, with more detailed casting, but the state cockade looks to be a replacement, and is black and gold, not black and white. This may have been repainted post war for effect, or could possibly stand for the Prussian Province of Saxony.

The tall officer spike atop the helmet is intricately decorated at the base with "egg & dart" Perlring.  The base cup still has all four 8 pointed stars, with some gilding still intact. The spike itself unscrews in the middle, which would allow the attachment of a fancy officer's plume for parades. The helmet has high end lined front and rear visors, with green in the front and read in the back, and no depot markings, as expected on an officer helmet. We were unable to see any markings on the inside under the liner. The front and rear visor stitching looks to be fully intact, and hasn't rotted out as many do. 

The inside liner is still present, complete with the original silk skull cap, though there is definitely deterioration from age and use. The sweatband is the correct doe skin leather, and is retained very well, though the silk has detached from the age in areas. The silk is split in places, though still looks good, with a nice cream white color.

Overall a very appealing and attractively priced Model 1897 Officer Pickelhaube helmet, ready to display!

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