Original WWI Imperial German Prussian Dragoon Officer M1897 Pickelhaube Helmet with Cover
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a good condition smart-looking, officer pickelhaube from a Prussian Dragoner (Dragoon) Mounted Infantry Regiment, as indicated by the "Squared" front visor and Cruciform Spike support. The helmet was most likely used during World War One, and comes complete with an original Überzug (helmet cover), something that we have not had before.
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. Almost all of the helmet's furniture is highly-detailed "German Silver" nickel alloy, though over the years it has oxidized to an almost black color, and the brass has taken on a nice patina. The Prussian wappen (coat of arms) features a large Prussian Eagle holding a scepter in the right claw, and an orb in the right. Unlike the typical wappen, this does not have the King's motto, and there is in fact a smaller brass Eagle, most likely gilt, just below the F.R. on the wappen. This is quite interesting, and not something we have seen before, but with Officer's private purchase pickelhaubes, regulations did not matter as much. The Wappen is held in place by the correct bolts used on officer's models. The chin scales are also German Silver, and are complete, with the expected leather deterioration of age.
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. The Reichs-Kokarde was to be worn on the right side of the helmet, and the state Kokarde was moved to the left. The paint on both is still almost completely intact, and they look great.
The German Silver officer spike atop the helmet is intricately decorated at the base with the usual "egg and dart" motif. The top of the spike screws off, revealing the fitting for a parade plume. Additionally, this pickelhaube has the old-style cruciform spike base, which after 1860 was still used ONLY by the Prussian Dragoon regiments. All other Prussian groups moved to a round base. This base still retains all 4 of the brass stars.
The helmet's interior reveals no depot marks on the back visor. It is approximately a size 7 1/8 US (57cm). The lacquer finished leather is in great condition having no serious issues, just the usual light cracking in areas. The shape of this pickelhaube is unfortunately a bit squashed, probably due to long term weight on the spike, something that we see quite often. There is also definitely some level of leather shrinkage due to age, which is why the some fittings are somewhat loose.
The inside liner is still present, complete with the original cream colored silk skull cap, which is in nice condition, though it does have some splits and definitely shows wear. The leather portion of the liner is nice and supple, with some staining. The helmet cover apparently was on this helmet for some time, and has accumulated quite a bit of dirt. It is in fair condition, but these are exceedingly rare in any condition.
Thought by some to be a product of the First World war, the Überzug (helmet cover) was first introduced for general issue on 17 May 1892. The brass and German silver fittings on all helmets, although very attractive in garrison, proved to be highly reflective and were determined to be a liability in the field. For this reason, a cloth Überzug (helmet cover) was introduced to be worn by all ranks on all helmets when in the field.
Overall a very appealing Model 1897 Dragoon Pickelhaube helmet, complete with original helmet cover, ready to display!
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