Imperial German army headgear, specifically the Pickelhaube, is a real speciality. It is highly collectable but also highly copied. Due to the rarity, it is always advised to do your research and get a second and third opinion before making a purchase; these are not cheap items after all! However, items as such are often the best investment. Items that are over 100 years old – especially in good condition – do not grow on trees. And of course, they are sadly not making any more originals. So have a browse below and see some of the Imperial German helmets, parts and accessories for sale across the web this week.
Other Ranks Prussian Brass-mounted Pickelhaube
The first item is a lovely other ranks Pickelhaube helmet. ‘Other ranks’ simply means the wearer was a non-commissioned officer, or NCO for short. Higher ranks like captains, colonels or majors had much more ornate headgear and they had to purchase their helmets themselves, whereas enlisted men were issued one by the army. These helmets remained Crown property; they did not belong to the soldier.
This example is in nice uncleaned condition. It has its original brass mounts on the leather but the chinstrap had been replaced and the cockades are no longer there. The helmet is regimentally stamped on the under side of the rear peak. Overall, it is in very good condition for its age.
This Pickelhaube is available from Military Antiques for £685.
Imperial German Hussars Busby Badges
The Busby is another type of headgear worn in the Imperial German Army. It was typically worn by hussars, who were in the cavalry. This headdress was very popular amongst other countries’ hussars as well. Hungarian, Russian and even British hussars wore it, too.
This front plate/badge was designed to be worn above the skull on the front of the very decorative busby and they are now a difficult item to find on its own. It would, however, be perfect to complete a busby but it would also be a great addition to any badge collection. The writing on it says ‘Mit Gott Für Künig und Vaterland’ which translates to ‘With God for King and Fatherland’. This was the Prussian army’s motto and was included on soldiers’ caps and helmets.
The plate is gilt washed with lead soldered fixing pins and is available from The Militaria Shop at £160.
Bavarian Other Ranks Pickelhaube
Next comes this completely original and textbook example of an early Bavarian Pickelhaube. It retains all of the early brass fittings along with cockades that are 100% correct for this helmet. The black leather chinstrap has brass buckles and it is in good shape, as are both of the brass side mounts. The Bavarian front plate is nicely patinated with a proportion of the original gilding still intact.
The helmet front plate is held firmly in position with the period leather wedges and the interior black leather liner is in good shape. It is just showing expected general wear. The underside of the rear peak has a faint ink stamp. This is probably a regimental detail, but it is not quite clear enough to read the digits. The exterior has the typical wear one would expect on the outer shellac. Overall the condition is excellent.
Available from CS Militaria £675.
Officer’s Pickelhaube Cover
Helmet covers served a few different purposes. They protected the Pickelhaube from dust and dirt and they also helped camouflage the wearer on the fields and trenches. The shiny fittings on the helmet were quite reflective, which is not what you want when you’re trying to do a covert operation to capture enemy trenches in the middle of the night! Trench equipment as such were a big part of the war effort during WW1.
Enlisted men’s helmet covers had hooks to attach onto their Pickelhaube but officers’ covers had a stiff band on the front and back, to be able to hook it over the visor and the back. Early helmets had a red regimental number sewn onto the front, but this was changed to green after the start of WW1. They stopped using the numbers altogether in 1916 and the helmet covers themselves were also discontinued in 1917. The stiff bands and the lack of numbers tell us that this cover belonged to an officer and was likely made in 1916 or 1917, so it is one of the latest examples.
This cover is approximately a size M and is available from The Collector’s Guild for $279.
M1856 Prussian Infantry Spiked Helmet
Next comes this Prussian Enlisten Man’s Infantry Spiked Helmet from 1856. It is 37cm tall and has a solid body made of leather, as well as brass trims on its front and back peaks. The rather tall and imposing spike on top is mounted on a brass fitting and secured with 4 brass studs, and its flat chin chain scales are bolted on with slot headed bolts.
The Prussian Eagle badge on the front has no damage to it and the helmet is is also complete with its leather sweat band and a cloth liner. Overall, it is in great condition especially for something that is over 150 years old. Excellent collectible item.
Available from MDL Historic Military Antiques £2,450.00.
WW1 Prussian Guard Field Grey Pickelhaube
This field grey example is one of the later models of the Pickelhaube before it was eventually replaced by the German steel helmet we all know well. The Stahlhelm replaced the Pickelhaube in 1916 and went onto have many different variations over the course of two World Wars. It proved to be much more durable than its leather predecessor.
Manufactured in size 56, this example has an all-leather skull. It belonged to a Guard’s Regiment infantryman. The exterior has some crazing, which is common for this helmet. The rear peak is fixed securely to the body but the front stitching on the peak is slightly loose.
It retains the original field grey spike and fittings, as well as a large Prussian Eagle front plate for the Guards with an overlaid star. It comes complete with both the Prussian and the Reich cockades and has a decent leather chinstrap. The 9-tongue leather interior is all in good condition, but is missing the drawstring and instead of two leather sections to hold the front plate onto the helmet, there is only one.
Tha markings on the inside are quite clear and say G.R.B.A.18, E.R.2. The 1915 date was done with a round maker’s stamp. There is some distortion to the shape, which is only really noticeable from the back, not the front or the sides. This still gives you ways to display the Pickelhaube nicely.
Available from Regimentals £1,350.
Another Article From Us: WW1 Imperial Belt Buckles
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