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MODEL 1881 CAVALRY OFFICER’S DRESS HELMET – AN ATTRACTIVE SPECIMEN IN EXCELLENT CONDITION:  This Model 1881 Cavalry Officer’s Dress Helmet is a particularly nice specimen in excellent condition, having survived intact with all of the components.   

This helmet is complete with all of the original correct higher quality trimmings expected to be found on officer’s helmets, to include the plume holder, socket base, side buttons with the proper integral chin chain hooks, rings, the proper two-piece cavalry eagle plate, linked chin chain, and of course a very nice helmet body.   

The eagle plate is the correct two-piece cavalry officer’s pattern – differing from the single piece enlisted man’s plate – consisting of a separate center piece featuring the shield and crossed sabres, which is applied to the eagle resulting in a higher relief.  The German silver numeral 3 indicates the officer who wore this  helmet was assigned to the 3RD Cavalry Regiment.   

The body of the helmet is covered in black cloth and has survived in full form with no crushing, breakage, loss of finish or other damage.  The inside surface of the sweat band retains a legible maker’s embossed label – “BENT & BUSH, BOSTON”, a well known source for military headgear.    

The original yellow buffalo or yak hair plume is in excellent condition and it falls gracefully over the helmet with no tangles.  The full set of helmet and chest cords are complete and in excellent condition, and still retain the majority of their bright gilt color with only minor tarnishing.  The cords are in the two piece configuration commonly found on officers’ helmets, and occasionally seen on enlisted men's’ helmets.  The cords on the helmet body are one component and the chest cords are a separate piece, joined at the left side scroll button with a gilt swivel hook set into the top tassel of the chest cords.  This arrangement was quite practical, allowing the fully dressed officer to remove his helmet when indoors, detach the helmet from his chest cords, and leave the chest cords arranged over his coat front in place.  The color of the bullion of the helmet cords and that from which the chest cords are made are not a perfect match, something that is not particularly uncommon.  Since the officers purchased their own uniforms and were responsible for their upkeep, if one part or another of the helmet - or any other part of his uniform - became worn or damaged, he would be more likely to replace just that one part rather than the entire set.    The chin chain is full length and still retains the original black leather backing sewn to the chain.    

This is a very attractive example of a relatively scarce Model 1881 Cavalry Officer’s Dress Helmet of a quality seldom encountered on today’s market and it is one that would be a true show piece in your collection.  (0611)  $3550





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