Collector Story Steve McFarland

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
Steve sent me an email today containing this story about the helmets that were available and prices back in the 1970's era of collecting:

I had been wanting to dig out a few old
helmet photos from the "glory days "
pre- 1992 before I sold every helmet in my collection
that was not Prussian. I am attaching a picture of
the 3 Hessian officer's helmets that I bought back in the 1970's during the beginning years of my collecting helmets.

1. the Hessian Artillery officer with Ludwig Star order
and parade bush was one of the first helmets that
I bought back circa 1970. I was working but not making
that much money . The helmet was a whopping $250
I didn't have the money , but borrowed it . It came from
one of the early collectors from Chicago who oddly
at the time was selling his non-Prussian helmets
as that was the direction that he was going in.
The "old time " collectors , who had been at it for some years
told me that I was crazy . I was buying at " the top of the market "
and I would never get my money back !
2. Hessian I R 115 officer . I bought it a little bit later and paid more
I can't remember who I got it from , but I remember it was
$ 525 or less . Another "top of the market " purchase.
3. The 23 D R ; I am pretty sure that I bought from Lector Orrick
the collector from Calif . He really liked and collected Hessian helmets. I don't remember what I paid, I am sure it was quite a bit more then.
Well, helmets 1 & 2 that I paid a total of $775 for, I remember I sold them back in 1992 for $ 9,500, so much for the "top of the market " price I paid originally! Of course, they are worth even more today.
I think Barry Sanders got them , as he is the Hessian collector but
maybe not all 3.

That story has always stuck with me
about the prices back in 1970 when the old timers advised me not " to get in " because, the prices were too high.
Those 2 Hessian helmets were my " classic examples " about buying and collecting spiked helmets.
I can't say that I was smart and knew what would happen, I didn't care.
I have always liked helmets more than money
It didn't matter to me what they were worth
I just liked them!
That's my Hessian story
Steve

The helmets in question:
Be sure to check out what is "under those helmets" in the glass case!!
 

poniatowski

Active member
I wouldn't have been able to let those go. The only 'Pick' I ever sold was an M15 to a friend, it was the 4th in my collection and I bought it back a few years ago, so I guess I've every Pickelhaube I've ever owned. NICE Helmets... very nice.

:D Ron
 

KAGGR#1

Well-known member
I can agree with what you say
But
I reached the age where I thought it was time to let
go of some parts of the collection
It was not that I wanted to make a profit
but I made the decsion to collect only
Prussian helmets at that point .
My interest changed and I used the money
to buy other things for the collection .
IF I had unlimited funds
I would have kept every helmet that I had ever owned
but that was not the case
I had over 200 helmets at that time .
Nothing is forever
un-like how I thought when I was younger

Steve
 

ww1czechlegion

Active member
Fantastic finds Steve, thanks for sharing them and the history behind them.

I've only had 60-some helmets that I've found/bought over the years, and have kept a mere 22 of them. I wish that I could have kept them all as Ron has done, but space, moving, money, and other things always seemed to get in the way. It also didn't help that I was robbed in 1992, and I decided to get rid of almost my entire collection at that point of time. It was several years later again, in the late 1990's, before I decided to begin seriously collecting again.

Best Regards,

Alan
 

KAGGR#1

Well-known member
Alan ;
Sorry to hear about your theft .
I know the feeling .
I started out collecting 3rd Reich
back in the late 1950's when I was still in high school.
The cut of the German Army steel helmet was what got me going .
Still like them , really .
Later , in the 1960's someone broke into our
house and stole part of the collection.
Like you , my collecting spirit was broken .
I sold everything and got out of collecting 3rd Reich .
A little later a friend loaned me the book
on The Headdress of the Imperial German Army
by Col. Rankin . Not sure I have the title 100 % correct
but the photos of the spiked helmets
in the collections of Cliff Foster and Walter Eric Hartmann
got me hooked . I said to myself " That is what I want to collect .
That got me started and the "old time " collectors told me
that I was crazy to start collecting spike helmets around
1969 -1970 because they had reached the "top of the market "
That is why I related the Hessian helmet photo and story .
Steve
 

ottodog8

Member
KAGGR#1 said:
Alan ;

A little later a friend loaned me the book
on The Headdress of the Imperial German Army
by Col. Rankin . Not sure I have the title 100 % correct
but the photos of the spiked helmets
in the collections of Cliff Foster and Walter Eric Hartmann
got me hooked . I said to myself " That is what I want to collect .

Steve

"Helmets And Headdress Of The Imperial German Army 1870-1918" by Robert Rankin, published by Flayderman in 1965.

The photographs in that book had the same effect on me. I still peruse it from time to time, and it still gives me a thrill.


Steve
 

poniatowski

Active member
I started collecting seriously, or voraciously, in the late 1970's. Prices were something like an M16 'trench helmet' was between $20 and $50, I bought some WWI 'doughboy' helmets for $2 ea, one of which had a nice camo pattern painted on it. Pickelhaube, M15's were $50 and pre-wars $75 to $150 for EM and around $250 - $300 for 'normal' officers. A Prussian General's helmet was around $1,000 and GdK around $2,500 EM and $3,500 Officer. Pretty pricey back then. I do have an old Globe Militaria catalog somewhere with a Kuerassier helmet for $50. However, my part-time income was around $50 per two weeks and school costs were in there too. Because of that and the lack of Pickelhaube available locally, I bought mostly 'steels' and tanker helmets.

:D Ron
 

poniatowski

Active member
ottodog8 said:
KAGGR#1 said:
Alan ;

A little later a friend loaned me the book
on The Headdress of the Imperial German Army
by Col. Rankin . Not sure I have the title 100 % correct
but the photos of the spiked helmets
in the collections of Cliff Foster and Walter Eric Hartmann
got me hooked . I said to myself " That is what I want to collect .

Steve

"Helmets And Headdress Of The Imperial German Army 1870-1918" by Robert Rankin, published by Flayderman in 1965.

The photographs in that book had the same effect on me. I still peruse it from time to time, and it still gives me a thrill.


Steve

My dad was a history enthusiast and had an "American Heritage" history encyclopedia. On one page were ads from the 1920's. One for Arrow Shirts (?) depicted a man in a silk suit in his (or a friend's) 'armory', holding a Prussian infantry officer's helmet, while striking a dashing pose (perhaps by J.C. Leyendecker?). I didn't care about his shirt, but sure did want one of those helmets! That's when the bug hit me, at around age 7.

:D Ron
 

KAGGR#1

Well-known member
I have never seen or heard of that add , but I sure
would like to see it .
Did you happen to cut it out and save it
after all these years ?
How things we see stick in our minds
The power of advertising
however with you and I
it was the spiked helmet that stuck with us
not the shirt .
That remains me of the old Frenchman telling
the story of an encounter on a train
with a beautiful girl .
They had wine
at an older age , he could not remember much
about her , then he said ;
" Oh , but the wine it was Chambertin "
The story goes that Chambertin was Napoleon 's
favorite wine , and when his troops marched past
that vineyard , they had to salute the vines
Steve
 

b.loree

Administrator
Staff member
I think that men, once they reach a certain age and have had a few occasions with young beautiful women, realize that a good bottle of wine is a more dependable encounter. The bottle of wine is always close at hand. :)
 

poniatowski

Active member
KAGGR#1 said:
I have never seen or heard of that add , but I sure
would like to see it .
Did you happen to cut it out and save it
after all these years ?
How things we see stick in our minds
The power of advertising
however with you and I
it was the spiked helmet that stuck with us
not the shirt .
That remains me of the old Frenchman telling
the story of an encounter on a train
with a beautiful girl .
They had wine
at an older age , he could not remember much
about her , then he said ;
" Oh , but the wine it was Chambertin "
The story goes that Chambertin was Napoleon 's
favorite wine , and when his troops marched past
that vineyard , they had to salute the vines
Steve

On the way! :)

:D Ron
 

KAGGR#1

Well-known member
A dog is also a great friend .
They are always happy to see you
no matter what time you get home
they never ask you where you have been .

Steve
 

feldgrau1418

New member
I was also on hand in the '70s for some of the action related in the above collector tales, and I can vouch for their voracity (excepting for the women and wine part, that's a little fuzzy for me now). I fist met Steve McFarland then at the OVMS shows in Cincinnati. Just reading this thread prompted me to look at the Rankin book again for the first time in many years.
I found it to be everything that was said about it here, and more. A nice concise and quite accurate handbook, wonderfully illustrated for the time. And, it doesn't weigh 12 pounds like some of our modern table books.
Bob Evans
Feldgrau1418
 
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