RESERVED (df) Extraordinary, Identified Allgemeine-SS Helmet
This is a remarkable, rare type, identified SS helmet worn by a member of the Allgemeine-SS and later in service of the Wehrmacht. The helmet is a classic RZM style, in every detail of construction and finish. It is an unstamped prototype, taking it from rare to one of a kind. The finish is a very high quality hard shell gloss black enamel, adorned with two pre-1935 expertly hand-rendered SS and Party Shield insignia. The interior exhibits the typical RZM helmet liner system, consisting of a leather band (M-16 style) and three pad leather suspension system. The owner, SS-Scharfűhrer Karl Schlagwein, inscribed his name and unit designation on one of the pads in ink. The other pad bears a faint, red ink property stamp. The chinstrap is the classic carbine clip style specifically peculiar to the RZM design. The SS and RZM circular stampings normally found on the left and right inner skirt are not present, suggesting that this helmet was one of the prototypes obtained as a test sample prior to the execution of the main contract for the RZM helmets, which were likely produced, according to a personal interview with Ludwig Baer, in Brunn (Brno) Czechoslovakia, at that time one of the main weapons and stamping works of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire (as we all well know, the SS was considered a political organization by the highly ‘clique-ish’ Prussian-led German Military, and as such not in any way allowed to be a part of the Reichswehr or Wehrmacht supply and recruitment system until well after the Polish campaign, wherein they proved their viability as a fully capable combatant branch). Therefore, due to these regulatory restrictions, were forced to seek and procure much of this equipment by contract; including weapons, field gear, uniforms, Helmets– from outside the Reich. Pre-annexation Czech and Austria were prime locations for this procurement, given the quality and availability of existing stocks of helmets (Austria) and current production helmets (Czech) to choose from and pay for. Hence this helmet.
My first encounter with this exact helmet was 2003, when I received a heads up from Barry Smith that he would have a fresh out of the woodwork SS helmet at the Union NJ show (monthly ASMIC show in the local area) and I should be on hand to see it. He and his father had obtained it from a now-closed rummage shop in Delaware called ‘The Resettlers,’ (the receipt of which is included among other file items, with the helmet). I recall several key individuals present at the unveiling of this helmet, including the Late Mike Beaver, Bill Shea and others. I recall the helmet being in a wooden box that the veteran family had kept it in. We all agreed it was one of the finest examples of an original RZM prototype, with super rare, pre-Pocher, hand-rendered insignia. The helmet went right to the collection of the foremost SS-RZM collector, where it spent almost two decades before changing hands. It is offered here for public sale for the first time. Full COA and CD rom, receipt, full authenticity description from Albert Barrows and other correspondence accompanies.