Recollections From Alte Helme Zimmmer


Staff member
A few weeks back we had a new member join the forum with a little help from yours truly, named Randolpho/Alte Helme Z. This man began collecting early in life..."back in the day" when things were scandalously cheap to our more recent collector eyes. With his permission, I am posting one of his collector stories which occurred when he was 17 years of age, a long time ago:

My 1st true remembrance - for you - when in my 17th year while visiting a friend, i observed his neighbor raking the leaves while wearing a flat brim brown military hat.. An intro produced a remarkable fact that he was moving to Florida and had some military relics .Would I like them ?????? if not-- he was going to burn them with the leaves...!!!!!!!!!!!!!--- I was known to have some Civil War relics already.. Naturally yes was the reply . He was a ww1. veteran I discovered. USASSC-United States Air service Signal Corp. Not a pilot, an engineer- graduate of MIT . Much of this was discovered after going through the objects he gave to me...AS WE ONLY MET TWICE....
The list of gifts::::: his ww1 uniform-tunic with wings on collar-love letter in pocket--,riding breeches and boots --Sam Brown Belt & sling- . He kept the hat...
a French flare pistol (of american pattern 1917)
two German Iron Crosses
a large piece of canvas irregularly cut- of a red devil holding monocular on a greenish background---- about 2 by 2.5 ft.
many pieces of money -French & German
many post cards - German language of Metz France
his map showing the route of his travels
an officer book with his name lt. joel manson 1917
and a German helmet---- my first ------ to be continued -------- regards RANDOLPHO
The second email which contains the real "kicker" :)

Several YEARS later my mother was reading a Holiday magazine article regarding the von Furstenberg family and noticed in a photo. a portrait of the Kaiser on the palace wall. Up to that point- I did not Know what my helmet was at all, Suddenly, I thought "it must belong to the Kaiser" !!!!!!!..--. Wrong --. but that started me on a sixty year trek to learn about German helmets , and to acquire them- the more unusual the mitres, busbies, ulans. jaegers, kurassiers then colonial headgear.. naval, war time .usw
Going to antique shops I would turn down the high priced helmets at $7.00 or $12.00.. I was making $0.65 per hour. - working at a gas station..!!!!
The original gifted helmet was a-- mann. GduC model 1889/1894 to parade with eagle top -marked "A.Klucke -GDuC 2"- I still have it... ( my friend's mother wanted to use it for a planter --!!!!!!!)
The greatest difficulty was gaining information on them.---- more so than finding them--- as nobody was collecting German helmets of WW1.. The first source was the Hans Jurgen paperbacks from 1954 & 1956.. infantry and cavalry respectively.. Then the fabulous Pietsch volumes. in 1962/1966... With no school training I had to try to learn to read and understand German. Later . along came Didier Laine and the need to learn some French.. Thankfully, today there is MIlitaria verlag in your choice of languages!!!!! with fabulous photos!!!!- you guys have it so easy - just not so inexpensive.... The dealers of today possibly have what you desire - if affordable -- but there are still problems. Is it original?? There were various repros even in the 1960s along with carnival helmets and those which were made about 1900 for regimental centennials..
Braunschweig helmets were always an enigma..!!!
This is a wonderful site for learning by sharing info- one has to back up their opinions from original sources and with illustrations if possible ., while remembering regulations were not always followed - at least immediately and one hundred years has elapsed ...with many owners hands involved .

This is a great story with some very wise words for today's collectors from one who has been a "treasure hunter" for many decades. I wish to thank Randolpho for granting permission to make this post. I have told him that I will gladly post pictures from his collection if he chooses to send them to me. Regards, Brian


Well-known member
Good story
This fellow must go back to the old days .
I started to collect in 1970
Sounds like he was ahead of me .

Has Randolpho/Alte Helme Z made a post of his own yet ?
Would be interesting to hear more .


Staff member
Alte Helme sent me some pictures of the GdK helmet that was given to him at 17yrs for free. He still has it in his collection:


Next, a picture from a militaria sales catalogue showing what these helmets were selling for in the 1960's. This was the first time AH realized how much the helmet was worth.

The magazine picture which initially convinced AH that he had been given the Kaiser's helme. More to come....


Well-known member
I remember that catalog .
it was Col. Stoddard in La Jolla , Calif.
That was the first time that I read of
Walter Eric Hartmann was going to do
a book on spiked helmets .
Which never happened
I remember G d C e m helmets
with eagle tops for $ 125



Staff member
Some additional pictures from AHZ:

A gala vest to match the original GdK helme.

Some examples of 1950 prices, (the black numbers), picture is dated on the back, 1950):



Well-known member
I have that same photo of the helmets for sale .
But I do not remember who the seller was
Perhaps he could tell us .

Dragoner08 Gunnar is looking to
purchase a G d C super vest .



Well-known member
James ;
You might be correct
but what I have is a real photo
glossy a little smaller than 8 X 10
House of Swords mailed out a printed catalog

It's a miracle i'm on again- after I just lost the previous attempts.
Thanks to Brian L for posting the first acquisition entry for me This has led to decades of trying to learn more about helmets including travels to Europe to visit the Kavallerie Museum at Vornholz ,--- Rastatte Museum--the wonderful Belgian Armee museum-- the Imperial War Museum London and more.
My wonderful wife has always? been agreeable to my pursuits and on occasion financed them for future payback,,before we bought our house which really slowed me down.
Meeting collectors in Europe and North America was always necessary and usually a fine experience .... They were mostly very willing to help the young guy learn more ..
One collector in Koln invited us to dinner and proceeded to point out and discuss everyone of his -- six hundred--helmets until 3AM we had arrived in daylight.. Another
man took us to his jeweler and purchased a remembrance for her not to be left out in Muenster Westfalen. He told me that he had obtained - 60-- helmets his first year
1962 and most were gifts ,,He also had several hundred helmets only Prussian.His first collection included all up to 1918. Later he only wanted those prior 1850..
MY Original photo is dated 1950 and was given to me by Robert Abels at his 2nd military store on Lexington Ave- New York City. showing items he had sold.( on two shelves) the prices are in blue below Notice the 1GRzuF spiker next to the 2 kur. (Written descriptions attached to the rear side )
another photo- less interesting -shows a Hessian Ulan!!!
From the Atlantic coast USA-- it is fun to be here finally - except for the typing.. I hope you'll enjoy this and more if I can ever get back again ..More photos are in the works cheers Randolpho
Tom Stubbs wouldn"t allow photos as he was going to write a book --- I didn't know it would take 35 years .... too bad Walt Hartmann didn't his pieces looked great


Well-known member
Well that trip to Germany in detail sounds
a lot like just what a collector that I know
did also . This collector who I shall not name
visited a lot of the same places that you did.
Also he was so kind to send me duplicate sets of the photos
that he took on that trip some many years ago .
Which I still have and refer to from time to time
I remember one collector that he went to visit in Germany
and he had this huge helmet collection with super nice
little black custom made labels with the name of each
regiment written in white .
His collection had about everything .
Also another collector friend in Sweden that I will name
the late Jarl Hartze went to visit this same German collector
and I think from memory that Jarl told me his name was Werner Schmidt .
Not so sure of the correct spelling of his first name
Great photos that I still have .


Staff member
Rondolpho.....most of us older guys here are two finger typists so welcome to the club. In my high school days, I took a typing class and managed a -6 words per minute :) Mind you, my teacher was an alcoholic who would start the class then disappear. Us students did not get a hell of a lot done.....of course the girls did much better. Thus, I had to marry a woman who could first wife who typed all my grad school essays for me! God bless her. BTW, for the young collectors.....I could have bought more helmets if I had not had to pay for 2 divorces! Economically, it is "cheaper to keep her" but emotionally you can go crazy so the money does not matter, life is too short.


Well-known member
Over the years I have known several collectors
who had to sell their helmet collections
to pay off a divorce .
One was a doctor .


Like the fellow said, "Next time, instead of getting married, I'm just going to find a woman who hates me and buy her a house"


Active member
Wow! Just saw this. I am, unfortunately, part of the 1960's kids' generation that heard, "Yeah, we had one, but threw it away." more times than I care to remember. I also remember people asking why I wanted a 'junker' helmet (rather than pronouncing it 'Yoonker' as a German would). In fact, many of them thought of these helmets as that... junk. I have had an M15 (Prussian) given to me as well as a single decal M35 vet. bring-back. So, I'm not all that unfortunate. I just wish I'd have spent more time looking in the 1960's when I was still under 10.

Great stories and a nice helmet to start a collection with! I'd love to hear more.

:D Ron


Active member
Helmets in the trash is what got me interested in helmets. A kid I went to school with one day brought a helmet in for "show and tell" that he found in the trash. I figured that was the right price and wanted one (haven't found one that way yet, but I still look).


Staff member
Steve was nice enough, to email me last week, pictures of the descriptions and prices which were on the backs of the 1950 pictures previously shown in this post. The prices will make your jaw drop but remember, this was 66 years ago when, if you were making $8K US you were considered to have "made the American Dream". We have already had, some quotes about per hour wages. The other thing, is the accuracy of the descriptions back then, compared to what we know now. These lists reveal what dealers in 1950, knew about the pieces that they were selling. Be sure to read them and I leave it to you to match them up with the photos.

Ok, I realised that the French headdress picture had not been posted: