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 Post subject: The Haube World in 1978
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 7:23 pm 
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The following excerpts are taken from a collector publication (I presume) titled The Dufflebag and an article, by Richard K Riehn/Pickelhauben,Collectors and Care of the Elderly. I originally thought I could scan this 1,1/2 pg article and post it but the print comes out too small to read. Here are some of Mr Riehn's thoughts from 1978:
"If one were to plot a graph reflecting the price changes in the collector's market of a given standard helmet over the past fifty years, one would observe a fluctuating wave which begins a steady ascent only during the late 1960's. This curve, again, could be flattened considerably if one took account of the inflation rate and the corresponding buying power of specie.
On this basis, many would be surprised to notice that in Germany at least, certain rarities brought nearly as much during the Thirties as they do today. Prices always climb when there is a lot of new money and very little confidence in it.
When it comes to the international market, however, the rise of prices paid for Pickelhauben has been nothing short of spectacular. Just look at an old Bannerman catalog,with its World War 1 surplus. Eight dollars for (!) for a Gardes du Corps enlisted model complete with parade eagle. It's enough to start a current collector talking to himself. But things could get worse before they get better.
The American collectors market, singlehandedly, has seen to it that there are no more bargains to be had even in Germany. We probably have three times as many collectors per square inch for German militaria as the the Germans themselves. Yet, in a way, we American collectors are responsible for the fact that so much has become unearthed over the past twenty years and funneled into the trade. The prices being paid were just too good to resist even by the last holdouts.
This didn't happen all at once, There are some distinct milestones to be observed here in the United States."
The author goes on to identify 4 waves of German helmets coming to the US......."The first wave came during the final decades of the 19th century hidden away in the baggage of German immigrants, former officers and noncoms, who were loath to part with these mementos of their younger years.
The second wave, mostly of inferior quality came in the wake of the First World War. With the so-called fieldgrey fittings and leather chin straps, these general-issue pieces came in by the wagon load, mostly liberated from depots where they had collected when the steel helmet was introduced in 1915. Almost every one of these had an Aunt Mary story attached, of how grandpa had taken it off'n a dead Hun on the battlefield. The truth was that by 1918 when the Americans appeared in France, you couldn't find more than half a dozen of these per mile of front line and then only if some rear area soldat had wandered too far up to the front.
In recent years, previously untouched caches of these wartime models found their way into the United States. Most of these come with replacement chin straps and cockades.
After WWII, yet another wave of helmets came to our shores, on the whole of far better quality than what came before. Some had been commandeered by GI's from their civilian billets, others had been converted into dire necessities of life (such as cigarettes) by their former owners.
Lastly, during the Fifties, came the best of all, those fine pieces which were introduced almost entirely through the international trade. By that time, the market was ready for them and good money started to roll. Some major changes had taken place in Germany. The original owners, who had resisted giving them up, were passing on in greater numbers and their heirs found the money offered for them too attractive to pass up. Even general's helmets began to show up in some quantity.
The final price break, which just about knocked the beginner out of the ball game, occurred at the bottom of the price line and included all of the relatively ordinary but still good quality material. In one year, during the late Sixties, one could pick up a respectable Prussian or Bavarian line infantry enlisted man's helmet from anywhere from ten to twenty dollars, depending upon condition, with Wurttembergers and Badeners just a few dollars more. And then- nothing was available for less than at least twice that. And I'm speaking of German prices (double or better for US).
I couldn't find a reasonable answer for what had happened until I attended the official opening ceremonies of the Bavarian Army Museum in Ingolstadt. Parading down the street came one militia unit after another, in uniforms ranging from 18th century styles to pre World War 1. Among the latter were the missing pickelhauben, by the platoon!"
To be continued....... B

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 Post subject: Re: The Haube World in 1978
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 11:11 pm 
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Great article, thanks for sharing Brian!

James

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 Post subject: Re: The Haube World in 1978
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 12:37 am 
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Thanks for sharing!

Regards,

Edwin


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 Post subject: Re: The Haube World in 1978
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 11:03 am 
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The article continues: "In 1968 the German militia association went back into business and we hadn't even noticed over here. Until then, the dealer's bonanza had been regular weekend trips into the countryside where every other farm house had yielded one or more fine old pieces. No more. Now Uncle Fritz keeps his father's or grandfather's helmet and wears it for drill on Sundays. There are literally hundreds of these outfits all over Germany and at least 20% of these use our beloved helmets. No more cheap buys.
With the bottom of the market thus wiped off the map, the beginner must now be prepared to make a substantial investment if he wants to start off with a descent helmet, even an ordinary one. He may have to lay down one, two, three hundred dollars and still have no idea if what he gets is indeed as advertised.
Once prices began to climb, there was a mad scramble by collectors and dealers alike to "upgrade" their wares beflore they traded or sold them. When this is done with a knowledgeable hand, it is difficult, sometimes impossible, to tell the difference. But as is so often the case, a lot of nonsense was fabricated and serious collectors have been busy over the last ten years gradually setting things straight again. Even so, let no one say I promised you a garden of roses!"

The author next covers some do's and don'ts of cleaning fittings........do not varnish brass as within a couple of years it will blister and oxidize. Beware of Kneats Foot Oil. It can burn very old leather and disintegrates stitching. "For dry leather, Lexol available in most drug stores, is an excellent general preservative. Like all restoratives, it must be used on the bare leather inside."
"The late Fritz Kredel, renowned artist and connoisseur, swore by plain, ordinary lard, yes pork fat- to keep his helmets and some 300 year old fine book bindings in shape."
"More adept collectors have also cut circular discs from sheet metal and shaped them to the underside of the helmet.......Some helmets I have seen were apparently fitted with such plates when still being worn."
Mr. Riehn also provides advice on....blocking helmets back into shape, smoothing out crackled finish, cleaning parade plumes with lanolin shampoo. "If stitching is in need of repair, try to tack it by hand. Your shoemaker has the machine to do a proper restitching job but by the time he is done, his new holes in addition to the old ones may, result in a clean cut! You might as well use a knife and be done with it."
FINIS......

This article was published 37 years ago, I believe, in a British collector magazine/news letter. It is interesting to note that even in 1978 collectors were trying to restore helmets and dealing with the same issues we face today. I have no knowledge of the author Richard Riehn but if any of our members can provide some additional information on him or the Dufflebag, please do so.
I have a second Rienh article to post soon, from another publication, The Soldier Shop Quarterly (1972) entitled A Helmet Of The Saxon Gardereiter. I am a 2 finger typist so bare with me my fellow collectors. B

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 Post subject: Re: The Haube World in 1978
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 7:23 pm 
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Thanks Brian, that's great! :bravo:

Best Regards,

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: The Haube World in 1978
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 10:57 am 
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Thanks Alan et al.

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 Post subject: Re: The Haube World in 1978
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 7:34 am 
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Brilliant to see what issues have been the same over tine. Thanks Brian :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Haube World in 1978
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 8:15 pm 
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I thought I would add a scan of the first page of the original article:
Image
I should also like to add the article's introduction:
"Few people know that the ubiquitous Pickelhaube was originally submitted to the Prussian army on the private initiative of a German industrialist, who offered a metal version with a hinged visor to the cavalry. But before the cavalry made up its mind by issuing its 1843 Model, the infantry jumped the gun with the M 1842 Infanterie Helm which was made of jacked leather. These helmets were considerably lighter and easier on the head than their appearance would indicate and far better at taking a saber stroke than the shakos they replaced.
Since its first appearance, this infantry helmet underwent six further modifications, the most visible of these being the lowering of its silhouette which, by some three successive stages, arrived at the familiar form of the pre World War 1 model, the M1891. Looking back across those fifty years, the seven distinct patterns, together with their numerous modifications from one German state to the next, would make for better than two hundred pieces, if a collector were fortunate enough to have one of each and every type, not counting some of the more subtle varieties wrought by the fashions of its final decades, manifesting themselves primarily in extra - purchase pieces of officers and noncoms."

So my fellow collectors, yet another explanation as to the origins of our helmets. In addition, we see that even in 1978 Richard Riehn was aware of the different models of helmets (7)....the reduction of height and the presence of private purchase helmets that had "Extras" associated with them. I am still hoping to hear from some member who can provide information on the Dufflebag. Mr Riehn did publish one book on Napoleon's 1812 campaign against Russia in 1991.

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 Post subject: Re: The Haube World in 1978
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:44 pm 
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Very interesting, thanks for posting that! I remember $20 helmets when I was younger, but with an allowance of 25 cents a week, that represented a very substantial sum for me! As a kid, saving my allowance for even one week without spending it was a chore.

This also makes me think of the flood of Eastern Block militaria when the 'wall came down'. An East German 'Vopo' helmet went from $500 to $17... very nice indeed!

Like most of us, I wish I had money to start collecting earlier than I did, but being older when I started (rather than 10 years old) also meant that I wouldn't play with the helmet. Fortunately, there were plenty of 50 cent to $1 or $2 steel helmets around to keep me busy! I bought a nice painted WWI US helmet at a second hand store for $2, which was probably $1.75 more than the shop owner had paid!

:D Ron

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 Post subject: Re: The Haube World in 1978
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:17 pm 
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As you know Ron it is all relative....my first job as a grocery packer in 1968 paid $1.65/hr and I don't think anyone cared about WW 1 back then.....WW 2 was more recent and in peoples minds. My father was a WW 2 vet and that became the priority for me, interest in my grand fathers' war came later.

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