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MODEL 1881 CAVALRY ENLISTED MAN’S DRESS HELMET – VERY NICE SPECIMEN IN EXCELLENT CONDITION:  There are few pieces of Indian War uniforming that are as attractive, and that continue to hold collectors’ interest, as does the Model 1881 Cavalry Enlisted Man’s Dress Helmet, and this helmet is an excellent example with an interesting feature.   

   

This helmet is complete with all of the original trimmings and insignia, to include an original set of helmet cords, the plume, plume holder, side buttons, rings, eagle plate, the very scarce original leather chin strap, and of course the particularly nice helmet body. The helmet body is full form with no crushing, breakage, loss of finish or other damage.  The Horstmann Brother’s 1886 contract maker’s stamp and the “QMD” acceptance ink stamp are still present and very legible inside the sweat band, and the size sticker is still present.   

The cords on this helmet are very interesting.  Rather than the more commonly seen golden yellow cavalry cords normally seen on these helmets, this set of cords is the earlier Pattern 1872 “Lemon” Yellow Cords that were used on the Model 1872 Cavalry Dress Helmets.  The lighter lemon yellow dye lot used to produce the cords and horse hair plume on the Model 1872 Helmets did not fare well in the intense sunlight of the Western Frontier and the color rapidly faded to the light yellow hue seen in this set.  As a result of this problematic fading, the army introduced a darker, more vibrant yellow in 1887 for the cavalry helmet cords and plumes.  While this change was needed, as with all of the other army equipment of the Indian War period, there was no bright line of issue and use, and financial restraints of the period demanded that older patterns continue in use until the stocks were exhausted, and the new patterns would be produced and supplied to the soldiers.  As a result, the Model 1872 Helmets were trimmed to the shape of the Model 1881 Helmets and much of the old furniture continued in use on the newer helmet bodies, including the Pattern 1872 Cords. 

Original sets of cavalry cords of either pattern are very scarce, so you might imagine how rare these earlier Pattern 1872 Cords are today, and finding this set in use on this helmet is noteworthy.  It is also worth mentioning that the leather chin straps for these helmets are virtually non-existent on the market as they did not survive well in storage, so that this one is present is a definite added value.   

Complete with all of the components, this Cavalry Dress Helmet is a particularly striking specimen, one as nice as you are likely to encounter, and one that will certainly be a pleasure to own and display as a center piece in your collection.  SOLD

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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