Original WWI Imperial German Prussian Infantry Officer Model 1897 Pickelhaube Leather Helmet

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a good condition smart-looking, 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. All of the helmet's furniture is highly-detailed gilt brass alloy, though over the years the gilding has mostly evaporated, and the brass has taken on a nice 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 bolts used on officer's models. The chin scales are unfortunately missing about 75% of the left side, and the right side also has a crack in the dried out leather. They are both still attached though, and originally must have been quite upmarket.

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 mostly intact, though the red from the Reichs-Kokarde is partly flaked off, a common occurrence due to the instability of red dye compounds.

The officer spike atop the helmet is intricately decorated at the base with "egg & dart" Perlring. The base cup would normally be attached with 4 stars, however the rear star is unfortunately missing.

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 preserved excellently, though as with many the front visor stitching has disintegrated. There is also definitely some level of leather shrinkage due to age, which is why the some fittings are somewhat loose.  However, it still displays great.

The inside liner is still present, complete with the original silk skull cap, though there is definitely deterioration from age and use. The liner is in fact early "faux leather" type material, and a lot of it has fallen off. The silk is split in places, though still looks great.

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

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