Condition: Near Mint
Manufacturer: Keller & Cie.
Product Description: This is an absolutely pristine example of the first pattern Heer pith helmet. This is the early pattern of pith helmet that was used by the Afrikakorps, and is very desirable. The condition on this is fantastic, and rates near mint, with only extremely slight age, and no actual wear. The only traces of age that are discernible are some extremely tiny areas of finish loss to the leather chinstrap and edging, and some oxidation to the metal chin strap fittings and the vent inside the dome. This first pattern Heer pith helmet retains its original shape, with no dents or sagging. The original tan twill fabric outer covering is absolutely flawless, the green leather chinstrap is completely intact. The original, highly detailed pith helmet shields on both sides are intact and clean, and show very slight age toning. The interior is also perfect. The underside of the mint leather sweat band is clearly size marked “56” and also stamped with a manufacturer stamp. There is no visible indication at all that this was ever issued or worn. This first pattern Heer pith helmet displays great and would likely be impossible to upgrade. These early versions are much harder to find in this condition than the later, felt covered ones.
Historical Description: The pith helmet is one of the most iconic aspects of the tropical uniform worn by German personnel in WWII. Besides being worn by Rommel’s Afrikakorps, pith helmets were also worn in all; areas on the Southern Front where tropical uniforms were issued, including Italy and the Mediterranean, and southern Russia. Pith helmets were part of the uniform issued by the German Army, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, and the Waffen-SS. The chief visible difference among the pith helmets used by these various organizations, were the metal badges affixed to each side. These were made in the style of the branch decals used on the steel helmet. Early pith helmets were made with a twill fabric outer covering. Later, second pattern examples were covered with felt. As German troops withdrew from Afrika, many pith helmets sat unissued in warehouses, where they were recovered by Allied forces at the end of the war; at one time, later pattern examples were relatively common. With the passage of time, complete original examples, especially in nice condition, have become much harder to find.
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