Original USMC M1892 Officer's Helmet Insignia
Posted 04 August 2008 - 10:30 AM
From the seller (turnlin's) listing:
Original, scarce variant pattern of the USMC officer’s M1892 dress helmet frontplate. While conforming in concept and size (3 ¼ in. [8 cm.] tall; 3 1/8 in. [7.8 cm. wide]) to regulation insignia, this version differs from the standard in several respects. Compared to the issue varieties, the sheet stock from which this piece was stamped is relatively light, and is copper rather than brass. As can be seen from the photos, the eagle’s configuration is distinctly different, while the designs of the globe and anchor vary slightly from the norm. Initially die-stamped, this frontplate was further defined with jeweler’s hand-chasing on the details of the eagle’s talons, andwing and breast feathers; the anchor’s hawser; the outlines of the continents; and the longitude and latitude lines. Highly-polished, the insignia was then gilded and silvered in the regulation locations for an officer’s frontplate, resulting in a truly handsome piece. Most of the plating is now gone, and high points have been polished down to the copper base metal. The affixing hardware on the frontplate’s reverse is unusual too, consisting of two beefy brass machine screws soldered in place and fitted with square-cut nuts. I have shown this example to several collectors and dealers, and while nobody can state with certainty its exact provenenance, nor cite a reference for its unusual configuration, none has ever seen anything like it, and most believe that it was crafted by a highly skilled Chinese jeweler, ca. 1905-1910. (I know there are some extraordinarily knowledgeable collectors of Marine EGAs out there, so if anybody has anything more difinitive, please share.)
Rest of the description here: http://cgi.ebay.com/...I...A:IT&ih=013
Posted 04 August 2008 - 11:25 AM
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Posted 14 October 2008 - 06:57 PM
At least the seller says it is such a good repro it may take on a "life of its own" later as an original. Sounds kind of shady to me though.
Original USMC M1892 enlisted fulldress spiked helmet, complete, totally regulation, and in near-mint condition. It is also all-original, with the exception of the frontplate. However, the latter—which started life as an excellent reproduction—has been improved by conversion to “open-beaked,” “Type II” (wire-fastened) configuration, with a real gilded surface. It is now indistinguishable from an original—and may take on the proverbial “life of its own” as a result, some time in the future.
The helmet body is of pressed felt, per Marine Uniform Regulations, and was manufactured in 1902. Three ink stampings on the sweatband’s reverse give plenty of manufacture and inspection information (see photo): “Wm. Horstmann Co. / Philadelphia / Contract of Feb. 10, 1902;” “Chas. F. Sackett / Inspector;” “QMD Phila / [illegible].” This shell is in near-new condition, with no cracks, dents, mothing, fading, soiling, or other damage. Its leather components—the “helmet band,” sweatband, visor and cape linings, and edge trimming are all in excellent shape. The sweatband shows very minor wear (like one or two times out), and still exhibits its original paper size tag—a “7”. The enameled leathers do exhibit the minor crazing typical of vintage finishes, but show no chipping or other deterioration.
Trimmings are similarly superb. The original sidebuttons are a fine unissued matched pair, screwed to the helmet body via the correct (and rare) brass “T-nuts” (see photo). Spike and spike base have never seen service, and--like the sidebuttons and chinchain-- exhibit 99% original fire gilding. The chain chinstrap has been recently, professional rebacked with fine leather.
These helmets were introduced for fulldress wear by Marines in 1892, and saw service on land and sea through the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and the Boxer Rebellion, until replaced in 1904 by the equally iconic “bell crowned” dress cap. Never common, these Leatherneck Spikes have gotten exceedingly difficult to find in recent years. The frontplates do, however, surface with some regularity (four in the last month on eBay), so the reproduction frontplate on this helmet could be replaced with little trouble, rendering this piece 100% original. Either way, this piece of USMC history would be a credit to any collection, and would be near-impossible to find a finer example.
Posted 24 February 2009 - 09:40 AM
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