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Prussian Dragoon Style Private Purchase Pickelhaube

In Military and Wartime > Military Helmets > Show & Tell and Military and Wartime > World War One > Show & Tell.
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    Posted 6 years ago

    (310 items)

    ***Please read Alan's (ww1czechlegion) poste below. He has some corrections that I think are likely accurate!***

    I’m writing this in the awareness there are people on CW that are more knowledgeable about Imperial German Items than me. Bluemax1914 comes to mind. Please leave your comments and corrections!

    There were a number of models of the German spiked helmet, and this is one that first came out in the 1890s. Unless corrected I’m calling it a Model 1891/97. It’s not an issue helmet, and I believe it was officer quality when new. Enlisted men were issued helmets, whereas officers and one year volunteers were required to buy their own. Complicating matters, anyone with the means to do so could have bought their own, especially senor NCOs.

    Although the helmet plate (Wappen) is not from a Dragoon Regiment, I’ve called this “Dragoon Style” because the helmet sports a square cut front visor, cruciform spike base and chinscales altogether associated with dragoons (mounted infantry) as opposed to rounded visors and round spike bases seen on many other helmets, or leather chinstraps issued to most infantry.

    I’m going to discuss the plate itself in the next post, but it has a voided crown and has a gilt finish, which indicates private purchase quality. The spike is taller than the issue spike and has a pearlring and dart decoration around the stem. The retraining studs for the spike base are domed, instead of star shaped, which some sources associate with non-commissioned personnel and officer candidates (Fähnrich).

    Other indicators of officer/private purchase quality are that the chinscales terminate in rosettes instead of regular mounts, and the visor trim is thinner and rounded instead of flat and chunky. The biggest indicator is the interior. It would have had a silk lining when new, and retains its wide calfskin sweatband. The visor undersides have the typical private purchase cloth covering, the front in green and back in red.

    The helmet has German imperial and Prussian cockades (Kokorde) on either side of the chinscales, but they are unlike any I’ve seen. They do not possess the serrated edge I’d expect, and don’t seem to match either officer’s or NCOs. They are made of painted steel, and whoever painted them paid little attention to detail.

    I purchased this in a second-hand store in Bremerhaven Germany in the 1970s that mostly dealt in old furniture and jewelry. Therefore I assume it came from someone’s attic or cellar and not from a collector who I think would have sold it on the militaria market. If the helmet was tinkered with, I believe it was more likely by the owner’s grandkids.

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    1. fortapache fortapache, 6 years ago
      Sadly I have nothing intelligent to say but still yet another great post.
    2. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 6 years ago
      That's quite alright fort, I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

      Thanks for the love Peasejean55, Manikin, 2sklo42, captainslack, battlegear, BB2,
      scott, fort, officialfuel and aghcollect.
    3. ww1czechlegion, 6 years ago
      I'm sorry to say that this is what is known to collectors as a "parts" helmet that has been cobbled together using several incorrect parts to try to complete a helmet. It was probably a Prussian "Beamte" officer helmet in an earlier life. The cloverleaf cross base and the square cut visor are indicative of either a Prussian Beamte or a Dragoon helmet or a General Officer helmet in Prussia. This is a Beamte helmet that was messed with in a former life. The rosettes that hold the chin scales on to the helmet should be curved to match the rounded/curved shape of the chin scales. These rosettes currently on the helmet are for foot soldiers, as I can see they are flat and don't match the curvature of the chin scales.

      The kokardes are Saxon Enlisted Rank Pattern with non-serrated edge, and are incorrect for this helmet. The helmet was not a Fahnrich helmet because of the domed stud retainers for the spike base. Originally this helmet would have had star shape retainers for the spike base. The rounded stud ones are there because someone messed with this helmet years ago, and assembled a bunch of incorrect parts on the helmet. Again, a sad situation. It is a "Parts" helmet. You didn't know it when you bought it so many years ago.

      The Officer front plate has both legs and the orb and scepter broken, which is sad to see.

      You have a good start of a grasp to some ideas about what is an officer helmet and not an officer helmet, but you have several errors in your knowledge at this point of time, unfortunately. Not trying to be rude in saying that. It's difficult to learn about these helmets without experience, other collector friends, and good reference books.

      Thanks for taking the time to post the helmet and write about it, that's very nice of you.

      Best Regards,


    4. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 6 years ago
      Thanks Alan for taking the time to write this, I do appreciate it. I've been collecting militaria for over 40 years now, but I know that I am not an expert on every type of item, and as I said in the first paragraph, I was aware in posting that there were more knowledgeable people on this type of item out there. I just did the best I could.

      "Beamte" as in civil servant? That never crossed my mind.

      I did know that there were flat infantry chin scales, but did not know that was also true of the rosettes. I also thought enlisted chin scales were fitted for M91 posts at this point in history.

      The domed retainers have always bugged me, and there are a couple sources pointing to fähnrich, but I usually don't assume all sources carry authority or are absolute proof. (as you can see by the way I wrote the post). Thanks for addressing this.

      I did know that Saxon kokardes had smooth edges, but I thought their front surface was rippled like a poker chip, and these are smooth. I can easily believe there were repainted and ended up in Prussian colors, as the poor paint job looks amateurish.

      I always figured this helmet was messed with a bit - especially the wappen - but never thought it was messed with to that extent! It is sad that the helmet was messed with in the first place, , but I could probably part out the helmet and get more for what I paid for it, so I don't consider it a personal loss. I'll probably keep it for a couple more decades anyway, since I've had it so long I've grown fond of it.

    5. ww1czechlegion, 6 years ago
      Hi Chris,

      It's a neat helmet, regardless of having some incorrect parts on it. Who would have guessed that so many years ago that people would put wrong parts on them? That process started when helmets were shipped back to the U.S. by our government during WW1 to be given away as Liberty Loan Bond prizes. I'm glad you posted it for everyone to see. And it's nice to be able to meet a fellow collector of these helmets. Thanks also for your service to our country!

      Best Regards,

    6. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 6 years ago
      Apparently people were piecing them together in Germany as well!

      Thanks again,


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